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It’s an established principle in philosophy: sometimes, in order to solve a problem, you have to shake things up—and in motorsports, it pays to break free of the familiar. This is what Porsche has done with the 911 RSR, reversing the arrangement of the engine and the transmission in the GT race car. This created space for a larger rear diffuser—and the opportunity for even faster lap times.

From the outside it looks like a 911, no surprises. However, underneath the carbon fiber exterior, the second Porsche 911 RSR based on the 991 has a completely new design. Only the door handle from its predecessor is unchanged. Porsche has reconfigured everything else: the suspension, chassis, aerodynamic design, engine, and transmission. “We have built the most extreme and spectacular 911 of all time, exploiting the possibilities allowed by the regulations more consistently than ever before,” says Marco Ujhasi, Overall Project Leader GT Works Motorsport, summing up the results.

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Porsche 911 RSR

Long-distance races are about speed and consistent lap times. One factor that can make the difference between victory and defeat is the wear on the tires, which depends on the distribution of the axle load. And this has now been rebalanced: the engineers have moved the naturally aspirated, high-rotation six-cylinder boxer engine toward the middle of the car—in front of the rear axle. While the previous model’s rear-mounted engine guaranteed superb traction, the rear tires paid the price. The new position of the four-liter engine made way for a larger rear diffuser and a rear wing reminiscent of the LMP1 919 hybrid race car.

“The 911 RSR is the GT race car with the highest level of testing of all time,” Ujhasi explains, referring to the almost 21,750 test miles driven by the super sports car. The RSR is already set to race, starting its 2017 motorsport season in January at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The car will be running up around 116 hours of racing over the year, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) series.

While the newly redesigned race car might not turn the world upside down, it can be expected to challenge competitors in no uncertain terms—applying more pressure than ever.

By Christina Rahmes
Photos by Frank Kayser


Porsche 911 RSR

Engine: six-cylinder
Displacement: 4,000 cc
Power: approx. 510 hp (375 kW) depending on the restrictor (air restrictor)
Transmission: sequential six-speed claw transmission
Weight: approx. 2,740 lbs