If Ruf’s Rt12 is the answer for 911 Turbo enthusiasts who want close to 700 bhp in their ultimate autobahn stormers, then devotees of normally-aspirated 911s will find Ruf’s interpretation of the 997 GT3 and its new RS derivative in the RGT.
The first 911 to wear those three letters on its decklid was based on the 2000 996 and was also the first normally-aspirated Ruf car to wear aggressive body styling. Based on the first-generation factory GT3, with power bumped from 360 bhp to 385 bhp, this car wore the R-GT label. 2004’s Ruf R-GT RS was based on the 996 GT3 RS and was rated at 395 bhp. To differentiate the generations and fit in with Ruf’s current nomenclature, the 997-based car is called RGT and is based on the current GT3 — with some RS in the mix.
Of course, just how much GT3, RS, or even Carrera flavoring is involved will be decided by each customer — because every Ruf car is built to order. In basic trim, the RGT starts off as a better appointed GT3-style car with more aggressive looks that reference the 993 GT2. The interior, however, is a different matter. We’ve seen some pretty wild colors used on the interiors of Ruf test cars in the past, but this 911’s interior is subdued. Ruf’s demonstrator features a lightweight interior trimmed in acres of blue leather. Unlike the GT3 RS, with its cockpit half-filled with a loud erector set of a rear cage, the RGT gets a Ruf Integrated Roll Cage as standard equipment, which mostly hides its bars inside of the pillar trim. You get the benefits in safety and stiffness without having to look at bars or worry about a helmetless head hitting them should the worst happen on the road — and bolt-in cages don’t offer the same benefits to rigidity welded-in ones do.
Subdued isn’t the word that comes to mind with regards to this RGT’s exterior, however. That starts with its shimmering pearlescent finish, which changes from one color to the next depending on how the light falls onto its surfaces. After beating Porsche to the punch on crazy 1970s colors with his R-GT RS in 2004, Alois Ruf has now decided to try two new directions with paint offerings. The first is this multi-color “flip-flop” treatment, the second a re-interpretation of an old idea Alois Ruf made famous. Years ago, a Ruf prototype wore flat-green military drab and was quickly dubbed “the NATO car.” People have been asking about that 911 ever since, says Alois. That’s prompted him to make all current Ruf colors available in a matte finish. The Rt12 in the small showroom when we arrived wore a matte finish and reminded us of the nitro paint on early 356s.
Then there’s the RGT’s styling itself. Subtle it is not. Up until the debut of the CTR2, Alois was conservative in terms of body styling additions for his cars, appealing to like-minded clients. However, the success of Porsche tuners with extrovert styling meant the demand for show as well as go began to affect Ruf cars. From the 993 and 996 generation onward, Ruf cars have taken on distinctive front and rear bumper/spoiler designs. The RGT’s nose has a built-in spoiler for aerodynamic stability and big intakes to provide the intakes for radiator cooling. On an equally practical level, its aggressive face is good for clearing the fast lane of the autobahn.