Tuthill Porsche pulls the crowds at the Circuit

12 Replies

There may have been glamour models and Hollywood A-listers among the competitors on this year’s Circuit of Ireland Rally, but there was only one real crowd puller – the Tuthill Porsche 911 R-GT. Driven by Robert Woodside, with Allan Harryman on the notes, the unmistakable flat-six reverberated around the Mourne Mountains on Good Friday, evoking magical memories of past events.

The Circuit of Ireland has a deep connection with the Stuttgart supercars. During the early 1970’s, the 911 scored back to back wins in the hands of Jack Tordoff and Cathal Curley. Although, Porsche power and ‘The Circuit’ became intrinsically entwined in the mid-1980s. A tie up with title sponsors Rothmans saw Henri Toivonen, Bernard Beguin, Saeed Al-Hajri and the Millstreet maestro, Billy Coleman, drive DRA-run 911 SC RS’s in consecutive events.

Official Programme – Circuit of Ireland Rally, 1986. Image care of @OnlyCarrera on Twitter

The final Rothmans Porsche appearance in 1986 proved to be an unhappy one. Early on day 2 of the event, Al-Rajhi crashed his car heavily and had to retire. Teammate Billy Coleman remained, but his car would also succumb to accident damage. However, just under thirty years later, the 911 was reunited with the inscrutable Irish tarmac, thanks to Tuthill Porsche and the new R-GT rules.

Tuthill Porsche Rally

These regulations have enabled Tuthill to take a stock 997 GT3 and turn it into a rather cooking, FIA approved rally car. After a number of outings in World Rally Championship, most notably in the hands of François Delecour, Tuthill brought the 911 to Northern Ireland for a test session in mid-March. The purpose: to see if they could rouse interest for an Easter excursion. Robert Woodside liked what he saw and happily, a deal was struck.

Tuthill Porsche Rally

A quick look around the service park, the special stages or social media last weekend, and it was clear that the 911 was the star of the show. Whilst the spectators flocked to the ditches to see the ding-dong battle between Robert Barrable and eventual winner, Craig Breen, no-one went anywhere until the distinctive matt black machine had roared over the crests and dips of the County Down countryside.

Tuthill Porsche Rally

When the car failed to complete day 1 due to clutch problems, there was a palpable outpouring of public anguish. Not just from rally fans; but from casual observers to the downright curious. They may not have understood the intricacies of the actual event, but they all recognised the 911. It was the one car everyone could connect with.

The Tuthill mechanics worked late into the night and the resurrection was complete. The car took to the roads for the second day and reinvigorated Woodside brought the car home for a first finish on Irish soil.

Tuthill Porsche Rally

Indeed, it’s fair to say that everyone hopes this is the first of many finishes for the Tuthill Porsche in Ireland. The Tuthill team clearly liked what they saw and have expressed a strong desire to come back. Needless to say, the spectators can’t wait to have the car back! With Killarney Rally of the Lakes only weeks away, the prospect of a Porsche howling through Moll’s Gap would be very special sight to behold.


About Author

Chris, known as Cess on the forums, is a long time RMS member. He is a fervent motorsports enthusiast and lover of all things automotive. He can be found on the ditches of most Irish rallies, at Mondello watching drifting or in front of the TV watching motorbike racing.

RMS Forum Comments

PeteMoore replied at 18:42, Wed 08 Apr, 2015
Actually could not have given less of a toss about the Breen/Barrable battle out the front. I went purely to see Robert and Allan in the Porsche.
Ashton replied at 20:27, Wed 08 Apr, 2015
Met them at the lights in Banbridge, tops guys - had a rev-off! Think they won...
da.murf replied at 20:46, Wed 08 Apr, 2015
Seen this today at Porsche showroom across from us today. The noise!!!
FM155 replied at 08:17, Thu 09 Apr, 2015
Brilliant to see them out there in this. Great change from all the other kit and mean looking too. Only disappointment was that it wasn't LOUD ENOUGH.... ;) It didn't appear to be running the open pipes that it was last year. :(
Cess replied at 08:35, Thu 09 Apr, 2015
Would love to have been able to do a side by side, old and new, using the pictures you posted in the 911 SC RS thread @FM155
FM155 replied at 10:26, Thu 09 Apr, 2015
Yeah never thought about that, would've been cool. A pic with the Corkill 911 SC RS would be good in Killarney if they are both out...
Lyons replied at 11:23, Thu 09 Apr, 2015
| Met them at the lights in Banbridge, tops guys - had a rev-off! Think they won...
Saw them on the A1 too. http://i95.photobucket.com/albums/l129/Lyonzo/Mobile%20Uploads/163F99E3-CDE9-4A9A-B960-665F4C060BB4_zpswgzvenqw.jpg So do Woodsides own it then? Whats the history behind it?
swansty replied at 11:53, Thu 09 Apr, 2015
Details are in the article but basically Tuthill own and built it, Woodside hired it for the event.
davecoupe replied at 11:59, Thu 09 Apr, 2015
Great Article as usual @Cess Was going well on Saturday but they seemed to be taking it a wee bit handy to get used to it on friday. Its presence on the stages was amazing, but ultimately, I think its too big a car to be competitive on the wee roads we have here. Great to see though. https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8764/16878531199_11da9762af_z.jpg Tuthill porsche by dharriganimages, on Flickr https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8695/17064667565_29ce187156_z.jpg Movement by dharriganimages, on Flickr https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7671/16442212494_5ea384d1ae_z.jpg Porsche by dharriganimages, on Flickr
Cess replied at 12:12, Thu 09 Apr, 2015
Ah sure, you'd win your class everytime though! :) Thanks for the feedback @davecoupe and loving the pcitures, espeically the jump.