No batteries or turbochargers here, this is old school brilliance.
One of the main advantages of belonging to a large auto group is that when things go wrong, the repercussions can be spread out among subsidiary companies. Volkswagen has firsthand knowledge of this thanks to Dieselgate, mitigating its losses by leaning on the Group as a whole. Now that Audi’s Le Mans program has been thrown into the trash bin following budget cuts, Porsche will take the baton and continue racing to bring pride to the Volkswagen group.
To prove it, Stuttgart has just announced its newest Le Mans racer, the newest reincarnation of the ultra-special 911 RSR. The 911 is usually the bane of its competitors’ existence given its near bulletproof racing prowess, and the new RSR proves that Porsche never sleeps even when it’s sitting at the top. In this case, Porsche wasn’t satisfied with a marginal revamp of its race car, so it redesigned the entire thing from scratch. The engine, body, transmission, and aerodynamic structure have been completely redone, enabling all 510 naturally aspirated horsepower supplied by the 4.0-liter flat six can flow through the six-speed sequential constant-mesh gearbox and humiliate opponents.
The power plant itself is placed in front of the rear axle (a mid-engine 911!) to help balance out the weight while still benefiting from having a lead lump at the rear pushing the drive wheels to the pavement. Weight management was a is the name of the game with the RSR with even the seat being bolted to the chassis in order to keep the weight distribution consistent. Want to adjust the driving position? Then it’s the pedals and steering wheel that move, much like they do in a Ferrari LaFerrari. Carbon fiber is used liberally throughout the 911 RSR, but Porsche engineered these components to be easily removed and replaced, meaning that small accidents don’t put the RSR out of commission while it waits for a new carbon fiber body.
Tweaks to the suspension accomplish the same goal by allowing for adjustments or replacements to be made on the fly. Not wanting to waste the expensive research lab that was the 919 Hybrid, Porsche stole its rear wing and coupled it with a larger rear diffuser enabled by the space opened up by the new engine. This improves aerodynamic efficiency while increasing downforce. Interestingly, the 911 RSR actually features some radar-based collision avoidance technology. The radar scans the road and can seek out dark Le Mans prototype racers and then sounds a warning in case the driver failed to see them. Adhering to FIA regulations means that the 911 RSR also gains a roll cage, a heated windscreen, and an electronically activated fire extinguisher system.
With any luck, the next generation of customer 911s will see some of this technology trickle down into their cars.