Tuners everywhere rejoiced when Porsche introduced an upgraded Tiptronic transmission with its 997 Turbo models. The five-speed automatic/manual, built for Porsche by German neighbors Mercedes-Benz, is capable of handling as much as seven hundred horsepower in some applications … and, for most tuners, that’s all the capacity they will ever need.
For Ohio-based Switzer Performance, however, 700 hp is far from enough. “We first noticed the limitations of the 997 Tiptronic with our P700 (l4) PKG, which, pushed hard on certain high-octane fuels, can cause slipping in the transmission,” explains Tym Switzer, owner and chief engineer of Switzer Performance. “When we released our P800 kit for the 997 Turbos, which makes over eight hundred horsepower, we were forced to limit sales to manual-transmission cars. This didn’t satisfy the customers who wanted the kind of ultimate straight-line performance that the Tiptronic can offer, and – to be frank - it didn’t satisfy us.”
After spending a considerable amount of time reprogramming Porsche’s transmission control unit (TCU) software to increase the torque limits, Switzer realized that effectively putting more than seven hundred horsepower through the Tip cars would require something more than a software-based solution.
Working with development partners in the US and Europe, Switzer disassembled, upgraded, and rebuilt the Tiptronic transmission to meet customer demands for higher hp projects. The first builds produced transmissions that were stronger and sharper than the factory unit, but not strong enough to contain Tym’s hard-hitting P800. This final effort, however, Switzer and his European counterparts pulled out all the stops: additional clutches eliminate slippage, additional friction surfaces ensure more efficient power delivery, a modified valve body to improve shift speed, and (last, but not least) another round of transmission programming which enables the Tiptronic to make the most of its uprated internals.
On its maiden voyage, the new 997 Turbo P800 Tiptronic blasted from 0-60 mph in a scant 2.8 seconds. On standard tires. With standard air pressure. On pump gas.
Subsequent tests confirm that Switzer’s crew have produced one of the quickest daily-driver Porsches in history - and Tym isn’t shy about using “the B-word” in discussing the car’s performance, either. “These cars have Bugatti performance from 0-60. We’re still perfecting the calibrations, but we expect our clients will go Veyron hunting very soon, and those guys don’t like to lose.”
Switzer is in no hurry to share the precise secrets of building nine-hundred-horse-capable Tiptronic transmissions, but the company is perfectly willing to build up transmissions for owners of other tuner cars, as well. “Of course, I have to believe that our P800 kit continues to be the ideal daily-driver/trackday package, but some clients have a comfortable working relationship with TechArt or 9ff. They still want a quicker Tiptronic car that they can turn up the boost on, though, and we can work with them to make that happen, and help them get the most out of the investment they’ve already made” says Switzer.
Drivers who participate in 0-100 or 1/8 mile dragstrip challenges may find Switzer P800 Tiptronic to be the perfect weapon; with the PCCB ceramic brakes and the 911’s traditionally brake-friendly weight distribution, 0-100-0 supremacy is all but assured.
Switzer’s transmission upgrades start at 7990 USD, but anyone who wants to hit a hundred miles per hour before the most supercars make their way to sixty may consider it money well spent.