Green is the New Fast: Switzer Pumps Out 900 hp of Flex-fuel Porsche

This article is about the Switzer F900. The short version is that it’s a low-emission, 900 horsepower, flex-fuel monster of a Porsche built by a pack of wild-eyed savants in the middle of rural Ohio … but the story behind this F900 started a few years ago, at the same time that the automotive press started to notice that Oberlin, Ohio might be an interesting place to visit after all. I’m not talking about Switzer’s first cars, here, those fast and furious DSMs. Forget about those high-horsepower Eagle Talons and Mitsubishi Evos that terrorized the streets and strips of Ohio. Forget, even, about those first Porsche few “rescue missions” to put right what other shops had put wrong. Forget about all of that, because the rest of the world has. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, the story of Switzer Performance and the Switzer F900 Porsche begins with Sledgehammer.

The Switzer Sledgehammer, of course, was a thousand-horsepower, all-wheel driven 997 Porsche Turbo whose YouTube fame was assured with a series of 9-second passes and a standing mile top speed of nearly 200 mph. The most impressive part of the car, however, wasn’t a quarter-mile time or a TexasMile certificate … it was the engine. “The internals,” explains Tym Switzer, “were 100% Porsche. It was bone-stock.”

Most engines, even those emblazoned with storied and iconic names, could never stand up to such abuse. Not for long, anyway. The 997 Porsche Turbo’s engine, however, is not like most engines. “The 996 and 997 used an engine that was designed for GT endurance racing,” says Tym. “Porsche used forged internals, beefy connecting rods, and a hundred other tiny detail changes to make sure that engine, in its full-race GT1 configuration, would put out massive power, hour after hour, race after race. It was built for this. Porsche built it for this.”

“This” translated, in Tym’s mind, to something that probably sounded like “put 1000 hp through it and put it on the street”.

So, Porsche “begat” the GT1, which begat the 997.

The 997 cars begat the early Sledgehammer cars (circa 2009/10). Being development cars, they were too hairy for most drivers. They were beasts. They were animals. “They were meant to be experienced ‘like a sledgehammer to your senses’,” says Tym. “They definitely got people’s attention.”

The Sledgehammer begat the P800, a streetable, comfortable, 800 hp pump-gas conversion that turned a “regular” 997 Porsche Turbo into something really special.

The P800, then, begat the R911, which was similar to the P800 in many ways, but (as evidenced by it’s “R” configration) the R911 was optimized for the racetrack. On full-boil, sipping VP’s 109 octane race-fuel and sucking in dense, cool air, the cars made well over 900 hp in a linear, predictable fashion that (as one journalist put it) made the R911 drive “just like a Porsche … 917K.”

Right about the same time that Switzer’s R911s started finding homes, however, another Switzer “skunkworks” project had started to steal some of the R911s thunder. It was a Nissan-based project car called the E900, and the “E” stood for Ethanol.

“The E900s took advantage of some of Ethanol’s unique properties, like high octane equivalence and cooler burn, to make over 900 horsepower without relying on toxic race fuels,” explains Tym. “They were great cars to work on and dyno-test, actually, because they were so clean your eyes didn’t water the whole time you were running them. You could finally breathe in the shop with the dyno going.”

It wasn’t long before the Switzer E900 GTR conversions caught the attention of one of Switzer’s Canadian clients, who happened to be driving a different Switzer car … one of Tym’s first Sledgehammer 997 Porsche Turbos. The car was built to nearly the same spec. as another Sledgehammer, in fact, that still holds a number of informal “forum” records for stock-internal quarter mile e/t, 60-130 mph time, and standing mile top speeds. A serious car, in other words, and a serious driver. A driver who’d experienced a lot of seat time in a fast, famous street beast who had come to expect bulletproof reliability and bullet-like speeds … and he wanted Switzer to build him an ethanol Porsche.

“Not just an ethanol Porsche,” corrects Tym, “a flex-fuel Porsche. He didn’t want a race-gas package or a street gas package or an E85 package. He wanted a car that he could throw anything at. A real, usable, daily-drivable street machine that, at a moment’s notice, could pull up to an E85 station and rip off a pass in the low 10s. Or 9s, ideally.”

That’s what the customer wanted. That’s what the customer got.

What you see here is just that. The Switzer “F is for Flex-fuel” F900 Porsche 997. A car that is part 800 hp pump-gas Switzer P800 Porsche, part R911 race-ready Switzer R911, and part Sledgehammer – when the mood strikes the driver, of course. “Until then, the car feels just like our other P800 cars. It’s just like stock, except it just keeps pulling strong after the stock turbos have given up. Once you get it on the ethanol, though, it really takes off. Just like the race gas cars.”

Visually, the F900 is a standard 997.1 Porsche Turbo with a few decals hinting at something special – but one look into the engine bay does much more than hint.

The new car features Switzer’s MONSTER intercoolers and CNC-machined y-pipe intake, as well as proprietary Switzer turbochargers breathing through Switzer’s “standard” 997 sport exhaust. The flex-fuel techno-whizz-bangery is handled by a series of specialized senors feeding data back to a stand-alone ECU solution that adjusts injection and timing on the fly, ensuring an appropriate tune for whatever fuel is handy.

Choose wisely at the pump, then. Pick your poison. Etc.

Source | Photos: Switzer Performance, Motorsports Photography.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.