Porsche 911 RSR Project Ends After 10 Successful Years

Motorsport / 2 Comments

Here's how the magnificent racing car project fared on track since it was introduced.

The Porsche 911 GT3 RS is a car that is born from the track and would not be possible if it were not for the success of the current 911 RSR. While this track car has enjoyed success since it was launched in 2013, the German sportscar manufacturer has decided to put the project to rest so that it can focus on the revolutionary 963 which is set to compete in upcoming WEC events.

For 10 years, the 911 RSR has dominated the GTE-Pro racing class, helping it maintain its presence in Le Mans and other WEC events, with the help of Penske Motorsport and the 911 pros over at Manthey starting with a class win at the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours. One year after this, marking the 50th anniversary of the 911 moniker, Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz, and Romain Dumas scored a class win in the GTE-Pro category yet again with the sister car finishing in second place.

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This was a result that even Olaf Manthey was surprised about. It really says something when the competing car surpasses the expectations of those who had a hand in putting it together. Lieb explained that it took the team some work to get there as the car lacked pace in the first few races of the WEC championship.

"Then came our Le Mans package," explains Lieb. "It immediately felt great. In the race, we battled our way through the pack in tricky changeable conditions. The key to our success was that, unlike our rivals, we were able to drive three stints on one set of tires."

He adds that this was a bittersweet victory as it was the same year that Aston Martin's Allan Simonsen lost his life in the early hours of the race at the Tertre Rouge corner.

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The 991-generation 911 RSR was the last to use the old rear-mounted flat-six layout but still dominated in 2014 after claiming class wins at Silverstone and Shanghai. 2015 saw it go on to win at the Nurburgring, Austin, Shanghai, and Bahrain which granted it the manufacturer, driver, and team titles. Only two 911 RSR teams competed in 2016's Le Mans which would be the final year of its competition.

A new-generation mid-engined 911 RSR was introduced in 2017 which was somewhat of a new venture for the iconic moniker, but it challenged the competition across the globe. This year didn't see much success for the team, as everyone was still getting to grips with the new chassis, but most of these issues were ironed out by the second year.

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2018 was the year that Porsche introduced the iconic racing liveries for its RS models including the 962's Rothman's design. With this applied and Gianmaria Bruni at the wheel, the RSR was able to set a new record at Circuit de la Sarthe for the GTE class with a time of 3:47.504 minutes.

The Pink Pig-dressed 911 RSR was the more competitive car as it landed up winning the class, thanks to Kevin Estre, Michael Christensen, and Laurens Vanthoor's skills at the wheel, with a lap lead over the aforementioned Rothman's 911 RSR. While this car was claiming titles, Porsche was already getting its follow-up ready for action.

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2019's 911 RSR employed a new 4.2-liter flat-six which is the largest boxer unit that the company devised for competition. It made its debut at the 2019 Le Mans 24 Hours and was unable to beat the Ferrari 488 GTE for a first-place win, but it did score respectable second and third-place class finishes. Podium results were scored again in 2021 but this year's season was when the latest 911 RSR was able to claim the GTE-Pro category win. The WEC season title just slipped the team's hands in Bahrain where Ferrari once again proved its dominance.

While it may not have gone out with the biggest bang, the 911 RSR program ends with some mind-boggling statistics. After competing in 62 races over 12 countries, it achieved 18 class wins, 20 pole positions, and 67 podiums. A total of 96,828 miles were covered by all cars with the fastest speed recorded being 194 mph at the 2022 Le Mans.

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