In March of 2010 at the famed Geneva Autoshow in Switzerland, RUF unveiled something completely different, the RUF V8. Now, this isn’t unusual for them, as they are well known for blowing the minds of people attending the auto show. However, this was different, very different. Some could say it was sacrilege.
RUF unveiled a V8 powered 911 prototype. Yes, the classic 911, powered by a flat-six power plant perched behind the rear axle against physics and possibly common sense. There have been variations of V8 powered 911’s over the years, and often it is a big, low revving, American V8 stuff back there.
In typical RUF fashion, this was nothing of the sort. RUF went ahead and developed the V8 in house, with help from some long time partners. RUF wasn’t interested in the sort of low-rpm torquey rumble we North American’s associate with V8 engines, this was a European V8 and only a flat-plane V8 that creamed to almost 9,000rpm would do.
They set about designing the motor from scratch, knowing that they wanted to produce an exceptional power level, and that it had to fit into the constraints of the flat-six engine compartment. Starting with that aforementioned flat-plane crankshaft, attached to that are exotic and extremely lightweight titanium connecting rods. A dry-sump oiling system is the only logical option to keep the center of gravity low, and ensuring continuous oil supply under the extreme loads this motor would endure. Everything from the bottom of the oil pan to the top of the intake manifold was designed and build specifically for this application. It was unlike anything else, and the performance as also unlike anything else.
The engine displayed 4.5 liters, and featured 4-valves per cylinder to ensure enough airflow. The result was an impressive 542bhp at 8,500rpm, and 369ftlb of torque at 5,400rpm. Clearly this engine was designed to rev, and the flat-plane crank and lightweight con-rods ensured a blindingly fast spin up to redline coinciding with that flat-plane shriek normally reserved for Ferrari’s.
Even better, not only did the RUF V8 fit perfectly into the engine bay vacated by the flat-six, but it actually weighed 66lbs lighter than the twin-turbocharged motor normally reserved for the 500hp horsepower club.
In the 997-based RGT, which already itself was a lightweight knife-edged handling animal, this was a match made in heaven. This nimble and lightweight car was the perfect vehicle for track usage. Eventually the move into the 991 brought a new RGT8 prototype. Furthering development and continuing the long process of bringing such an engine to the point that it is not only powerful, but reliable.