In conversation with ‘Mr GT3’

In conversation with ‘Mr GT3’
In conversation with ‘Mr GT3’

We meet Andreas Preuninger, Porsche’s high-performance cars boss

It was the poster of a 1973 911 2.7 Carrera RS fixed to Andreas Preuninger’s bedroom wall that inspired his dreams as a child.

Porsche’s manager of high-performance cars recalls that the picture of the iconic Porsche – “white with blue decals” – influenced his future career. “When I was a kid, that was my car,” he says with a smile.

At 20, Andreas visited Weissach on a business trip with his father, who supplied wind-tunnel components to Porsche, and realised “this was the place I needed to work”. A dozen CVs and letters later, Preuninger landed a job with Porsche, managing relations with VW and Audi.

With sheer persistence and hard graft, he worked his way up to where he really wanted to be – the Motorsport division in Weissach. At the time, in 2000, the GT3 was the sole GT car Porsche made. Now its roll call includes the GT2 RS, GT3 RSs, 911 R and Cayman GT4. No wonder they call Andreas ‘Mr GT3’.

It’s not only the department that has been transformed. The cars themselves have morphed far further than the models on which they’re based. Preuninger again: “When I arrived, a GT might have 100 components that were not common to a Carrera. Now it’s maybe 1,000. To do a new GT is as big a programme as a new 911 Turbo; maybe even bigger.”

Andreas Preuninger’s love affair with Porsche began with a poster on his wall of a 1973 911 2.7 Carrera RS

All GTs come from a car with an existing race programme. This gives Andreas an advantage over his counterparts at, say, BMW or Audi, as, SUVs aside, all Porsche models are ‘proper’ sports cars. He and his team then invent the GT they want, based on what Preuninger says are the three essential GT qualities: “Precision, emotion and raw speed.” Of course, there also has to be a viable, costed business case to appease the boardroom. No pressure there, then…

So, does senior management turn down many proposals? Preuninger looks surprised: “There is not a single car we’ve presented that didn’t get made. Not one. We have a 100 per cent hit rate.”

Production is now around 100 cars a week, with demand outstripping supply. It’s a situation with which Andreas is more than content, as radically increasing output would simply create new issues. He explains that a new car’s announcement tends to lead to a doubling of anticipated demand: “You can’t just ring up your suppliers and order twice the number of parts. They might need to build a new factory to do that…”

Andreas Preuninger has been behind all the iconic Porsche GT cars from this century, with forthcoming GT2 RS promising to be his crowning glory. He’s come a long way since he was a young lad staring at the Porsche on his bedroom wall – and his story is proof positive that dreams really do come true.

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