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German sports car manufacturer RUF Automobile celebrated an historic moment in its history with the official launch of its new factory at the Bahrain International Circuit.
The occasion was marked by taking the hundreds of assembled guests and the entire automotive world by surprise with the launch of its all-new flagship model, the RUF CTR3 supercar.
RUF has become the first sports car manufacturer to build a factory in the Middle East.
The beautifully-designed facility will become a new hub for RUF customers in the Middle East and Asia alongside the marque’s traditional home of Pfaffenhausen, situated in southern Germany’s Allgäu region. It will also be the main production facility for the all-new CTR3 worldwide.
The factory, designed by the team led by Hermann Tilke, creator of the Bahrain International Circuit, features an eight-storey 34-metre tall glass tower topped with the iconic Arabic tent roof so familiar from the circuit’s grandstands and Sakhir Tower.
The tower is flanked by the preassembly and assembly wings, and visiting customers will receive their newly-built RUF model in the VIP lounge on the top floor when the completed car arrives on a spectacular lift.
“Just one year ago we came to Bahrain and laid the foundation stone to this building with His Highness the Crown Prince Shaikh Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa,” said Alois Ruf, managing director of RUF Automobile.
“Back then we stood in a tent and displayed a small model car; now we have an entire factory and the sight and sound of the CTR3 in the flesh, our most advanced vehicle to date and one which will be built here in the Kingdom of Bahrain at the BIC.”
Among the many important anniversaries being celebrated by RUF Automobile in 2007 is the 20th anniversary of the RUF CTR, the now-legendary ‘Yellow Bird’ which became the fastest production car available in the world.
The unveiling of the RUF CTR3 marks a departure for RUF Automobile, but one that follows the purity of performance design for which the company is renowned.
The CTR3 stands alone as the first RUF vehicle to have a unique chassis construction, with bespoke coachwork made from high-tech, lightweight Kevlar. The styling of the mid-engined car is curvaceous, redolent of the sculpted sports car designs seen racing at Le Mans in the 1950s and 1960s, designed by talented newcomer Ben Soderberg.
The 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged car delivers a stunning performance: 0-100km/h coming in 3.2 seconds and a maximum speed of 375km/h.
A cosmopolitan gathering of 250 guests and media were present from all around the world for the occasion, many of whom having flown in specifically for this event including Brazil’s Minister of Energy and Mines, 40 members of the Japanese motoring press, representatives of the international motoring press, RUF customers from as far as Guadeloupe and guests from Formula One.
“Some people think we chose this date to launch the CTR3 because of the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix,” said Alois Ruf.
“It is true: It is one of the main reasons why we chose to bring our company here because we believe that the passion for performance and for motoring in countries who host Formula One is significantly higher, and that means not only customers but workers, sharing excitement for what we do together.”
Currently RUF is going through the responses to job advertisements placed in Bahrain.
Initially there will be around 15 engineering positions and a host of support staff vacancies to fill, with close liaison and training alongside the RUF team’s German engineering team both in Bahrain and Pfaffenhausen.
Already the factory has received 500 applications for the jobs: a response which Alois Ruf described as ‘fantastic and filled with quality.’