2017 Geneva International Motor Show
Historic sports car manufacturer RUF Automobile Gmbh once again unveiled a jaw dropping new sports car at this years 2017 Geneva International Motor Show. The RUF sports car to be based on a completely bespoke chassis of RUF’s own design. The body is instantly familiar paying tribute to the 1987 CTR “Yellowbird.”
“The concept for the 2017 CTR is one that I have had in my head for a very long time,” said Alois Ruf, President and owner of RUF Automobile Gmbh. “We have been waiting for the right point in our history to build our own car and the 30th anniversary of the CTR ‘Yellowbird’ is that moment.”
A new chapter in David and Goliath Story
In its fourth generation, the latest high-performance RUF supercar pays homage to the 1987 CTR “Yellowbird” in both form and function. With a weight-to-power ratio of only 3.5 lbs per horsepower, the first-ever rear-wheel drive bespoke carbon-fibre monocoque chassis, and an incredibly powerful engine are only some of the ingredients that make the latest CTR such a compelling work of automotive art.
Inspiration for the design comes directly from the 1987 CTR “Yellowbird” focus on aerodynamic efficiency. The silhouette, narrow body, rear air inlets and fascias are all direct nods to the companies heritage. The body, now in formed carbon, calls back to the original car’s flush look.
Center-lock 19-inch forged alloy wheels complete the design, shod with tired measuring 245/35R19 in the front and 305/30R19 in the rear.
Traditional, yet Thoroughly Modern.
The technological sophistication begins with the skin, which is made completely of carbon fiber. For the first time ever, the chassis beneath that surface, is a proprietary carbon fiber monocoque, of RUF’s own design. The front and rear crash structures are build with lightweight steel, as is the integrated roll cage, which is a RUF hallmark. Both are designed to maximize occupant safety. In total, the extensive use of modern materials allows for an extremely light dry weight of 1200 kg (2640lbs).
Like most RUF projects, the 2017 CTR uses a rear-engine powertrain layout. The 3.6-liter twin-turbo flat-six is built by RUF and inspired by the design of the engine in the original CTR “Yellowbird”. To that end, it uses a dry-sump lubrication system to provide constant oil supply and pressure during extreme cornering. Total output is 710hp at 6,750rpm and 649 lb-ft at 2,750rpm, allowing for acceleration from 0-100km/h in under 3.5 seconds, and 0-200km/h in under 9 seconds. Top speed is 360km/h (225mph).
To truly pay tribute to the Yellowbird, the 2017 CTR will be available exclusively with a newly-developed six-speed manual transmission sending power to the rear wheels through a limited-slip differential.
“We began development on the new CTR five years ago with the goal of creating a thrilling, analog driving experience that combines an amazing power-to-weight ratio, manual transmission, and modern racing technology,’ said Estonia Ruf.
Ensuring excellent handling characteristics, the 21017 RUF CTR uses double-wishbone suspension arms in a pushrod configuration for both the front and rear axles. Internally vented and perforated carbon ceramic brake discs (measuring 380mm at the front and 250mm at the rear) clamped by powerful six-piston calipers (front) and four-piston calipers (rear) offer maximum stopping power and extreme fade resistance.
An analogue design down to the minimalist interior
The minimalist two-seat interior design combines with lightweight materials is a further acknowledgement of the 2017 RUF CTR’s analog philosophy.
Alcantara is the upholstery of choice for both its aesthetics and weight saving properties that, in combination with leather and carbon fiber, give the cockpit a balance between modern and retro design. The seats are made of carbon fiber, and the pedals from aluminum. A three-spoke steering wheel is a further not to the car’s racing pedigree, as are the analog dial-type gauges in a green typeface.
Series production is scheduled to begin by 2018 at RUF’s Pfaffenhausen, Germany, facility. The limited run will include 30 units not including the prototype unveiled during the 2017 Geneva Motor Show.
“Yellowbird”, a Nickname Turned Legend
The RUF CTR debuted in 1987. Capable of incredible speed, the 469-hp twin-turbocharged CTR reached 342 km/h (213mph) during testing on the Nard Ring, a shocking speed for its time that is still impressive to this day. It was in the same year that RUF gained approval from the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and Environmental Protection Agency to sell its cars in America. Shortly thereafter, Alois Ruf brought the car to Road & Track’s “World’s Fastest Car” competition at Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessien test track in Germany.
The CTR was one of the nine cars in attendance including a Ferrari Testarossa, a Lamborghini Countach 5000S and a Porsche 959.
The photographers from Road & Track noticed how the CTR’s bright paintwork stood out against the coincidentally dull weather and gave it the nickname “Yellowbird.” What happened next would contribute to making that name stick forever.