The new 911 RSR looks to defend its class titles at Le Mans.
Heading to the track and looking for the right equipment? A Porsche 911 would be a good choice – but just which one is the fastest around a racing circuit? It's not the new 992 Carrera S, or the outgoing 911 GT2 RS. The answer could very well prove to be the one you're looking at right here.
It's the new 911 RSR that Porsche is unleashing to defend its title in the FIA World Endurance Championship. And with Weissach's considerable racing prowess brought to bear, all (early) indications are that it should be up to the task.
A completely new machine from the one that won its class in both the FIA WEC and the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year, the new 911 RSR sticks faithfully to natural aspiration, eschewing the turbochargers that have proliferated across the road-going 911 range and most of the rest of the field of competition. Motivation comes from a 4.2-liter boxer six – the largest Porsche's ever put in a 911 – producing somewhere in the neighborhood of 515 horsepower (depending on the mandated restrictor). Like last year's model (but unlike most other 911s), the engine is placed in front of the rear axle, giving it a mid-engined layout.
The new engine offers a wider rev-band, channeling its muscle to the rear wheels through a six-speed sequential gearbox that promises faster shift times, and breathing through dual side-exit exhaust pipes to better optimize the rear diffuser.
"Ninety-five percent of the car is new. The only components that we’ve kept unchanged from the predecessor are the headlights, brake system, clutch, driver’s seat and parts of the suspension,” explains Porsche Motorsport director Pascal Zurlinden. "We have made significant progress in the development of our car for the next three-year homologation period, especially in the complex areas of driveability, efficiency, durability and serviceability.”
Designed to go the distance, Porsche has reconfigured the cockpit to be more driver-friendly, with carbon-fiber body panels that can be swapped out quickly in the pits. And it's designed to be safer too, with a new roll cage, additional side-impact and footwell protection, and a collision-warning system to help the relatively slower-moving GTE car detect oncoming faster prototypes.
Following extensive testing at the company's own test track and at Paul Ricard, the new Porsche 911 RSR debuted this weekend at Goodwood, and will race for the first time at Silverstone in September to kick off the next season of endurance racing.