In 1985, Paolo Barilla won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a privately entered Porsche 956. Fast forward 36 years, the former race driver turned entrepreneur has become the first customer to collaborate with Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur to design a unique Porsche 911 GT3 (992) as part of the new Sonderwunsch programme.
"The unique customer experience is at the heart of the Porsche brand," according to Alexander Fabig, Vice President Individualisation and Classic at Porsche AG. "That's why the significantly expanded Sonderwunsch programme is another milestone in terms of customer enthusiasm worldwide. And this car project is the jewel in the crown of customisation by Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur."
"In the Eighties, I had the chance to drive the wonderful Porsche 956, an iconic car in terms of performance and beauty," says Paolo Barilla, ex-racing driver and Deputy Chairman of the Italian food company. "The interpretation of some elements in a modern GT3 makes that memory exciting and vital – for me and for people who are close to me.”
As Alexander Fabig, Vice President Individualisation and Classic at Porsche AG explains, "the cooperation with Paolo Barilla was a very special project for Porsche too. Because not only is the handcrafted 911 GT3 itself highly individual, but its design process is also unique."
One of the special features of this 911 GT3 is its striking exterior paintwork in Summer Yellow, white and black. It reinterprets the striped design of the historic racing car. The front apron and the trim rings on the headlights are also painted in Summer Yellow. The design of the centre-lock wheels is inspired by the rims of the Porsche 956. When used in racing, these had White aeroblades. The 911 GT3 rims are also white at the front, while the rear axle is painted in a modern gold colour.
The side plates on the rear spoiler are also influenced by the design and geometry of their historic predecessor. Sample components were initially developed using rapid prototyping. Naturally, aerodynamic performance and, in particular, the balance between the front and rear axles needed to be retained, so the aerodynamic engineers from the series-produced 911 GT3 were included in the project at a very early stage. The modified rear wing had to prove its flow characteristics in the wind tunnel. "PB 60" is blazoned across the flanks, representing Paolo Barilla's initials and age. The style of this logo is inspired by the graphic of the then main sponsor of the Le Mans winning car.
Black dominates the interior, as you would expect in a racing car. The door entry guards and the decorative trim in yellow on the passenger side dashboard are decorated with a logo specially designed with the customer in mind. It combines the type code 956, the "Le Mans 1985" logo and the stylised silhouette of the racing car. This logo and the 1985 circuit are embroidered in the headrests. The gear lever is reminiscent of the magnesium ball in the 956 racing car and is an elaborate custom-made product: the top part was milled from an aluminium block and the surface was sanded.
Within the new Sonderwunsch programme, the client assumed the role of project manager. As part of the project team, made up of experts from Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur and the Style Porsche design department, Barilla collaborated directly in the creation of his dream car. The process took a total of three years, from the first design sketch to the technical feasibility check and construction. Development started on the basis of the predecessor GT3 car, as the type 992 was still in series development.
Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur and Porsche Classic enhance and restore unique sports cars with a combination of skilled craftsmanship and attention to detail. As part of its Co-Creation strategy, the sports car manufacturer is now offering a new interpretation of its legendary Sonderwunsch programme from the late 70s, which will make it possible to design individualised, one-off cars in future – co-created by the customer and professionally produced by Porsche.
The expansion of this offering is divided into the areas of Factory Commissioning for individual customer colour and material requests directly in production as well as subsequent Factory Re-Commissioning and Factory One-Off after vehicle delivery to the customer. Whereas Factory Re-Commissioning is also aimed at the implementation of individual colours and materials, the Factory One-Off is a systematic technical new development. Depending on the vehicle age, the technical experts of Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur or Porsche Classic take care of implementation.