The Porsche 911 RSR, which Porsche factory efforts campaigned in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in North America and the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) internationally, was a completely new development for 2017. In its debut season, the innovative 510 hp GT racer from Weissach, Germany earned two championships in North America: the prestigious Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup for both Drivers – Patrick Pilet (France) and Dirk Werner (Germany) – and Teams – No. 911 Porsche GT Team. The car also took its first pole position (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) and victory (Lime Rock Park) in the IMSA GTLM class.
The long-distance classics that count towards this performance and reliability competition in international GT racing are Rolex 24 At Daytona, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the Six Hours of The Glen and Petit Le Mans. The Porsche GT Team based in North America also won the team championship at the series’ four premier races, where teams and drivers had to underline their consistency and reliability over a total of 52 hours.
While the iconic 911 has evolved dramatically over its 50-plus years of existence, the key new feature in the 2017 model year, was the positioning of the engine in front of the rear axle. Thanks to this, the weight distribution improved and, at the same time, more space was freed to fit a larger diffuser at the rear of the car to generate significantly more downforce than previous iterations of the car in full rear-engine configuration.
The development of the new 911 RSR began in early 2015. Initially, a small team with representatives from individual Porsche engineering divisions were engaged in analyzing the “lessons-learned” by the predecessor model as well as studying the sporting and technical regulations for both the WEC and IMSA. From their findings, a new vehicle concept was then tailored to the requirements of modern long-distance racing.
Race drivers were included in the development process earlier than ever before. All of the GT Porsche factory pilots were given the chance to drive early test miles in the new RSR at the rollout in March 2016 on Porsche’s test track at the Research and Development Center in Weissach. Extensive tests were then undertaken on racetracks around the world. Each of these facilities was selected for a specific development task: suspension setup, tire and brake development as well as aerodynamic validation. The highlight of the test phase was a 50-hour long run at Sebring International Raceway in Florida. Since the rollout in March 2016 to its first race in January 2017 at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, over 21,750 test miles (35,000 Km) were covered on various racetracks with the new 911 RSR – that’s more than in the development of any previous Porsche GT race car.
A cutting-edge, naturally aspirated, six-cylinder boxer engine powers the new 911 RSR. The displacement of the new powerplant is 244 cubic inches (4,000 cc), with the output at around 510 hp (375 kW), depending on the series mandated air restrictor. The motor features direct fuel injection as well as a rigid valve drive and is characterized by outstanding efficiency. The engine is a systematic evolution within the line of Porsche’s normally aspirated motors, which not only meets the demands of a racing engine for the 911 RSR, but also the requirements of a 911 GT3 for the road. This configuration saves up to 88 pounds (40 kg) in weight.
The new 911 RSR consists of 5,342 individual parts in total. Of this, the vehicle is made up of 3,646 parts, with the engine containing 1,282 parts and the gearbox 414 parts. The largest single part is the body, with the smallest component a circlip in the door handle.
Seven 911 RSR were built by Porsche Motorsport in Weissach for the 2017 motor racing season. Two of the seven were used to contest the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTLM class. Two were utilized in the international FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) LMGTE-Pro class. The remaining three cars were used for the extensive test program. It takes four employees ten working days to build one 911 RSR.