Porsche reveals 911 RSR
Porsche has dismissed any notion of building a road-going version of its latest mid-engined 911-based race car.
The German brand revealed its newest 911 RSR - the top-flight endurance racer that competes in blue ribbon events such as the Le Mans and Daytona 24 hour - at the Los Angeles motor show, confirming it has flipped the engine and gearbox configuration around for better weight distribution and to improve aerodynamics by opening up more space to fit a larger rear diffuser.
It is the first time since the Le Mans-winning GT1 that Porsche has created a 911 with a midengined layout. But unlike when the GT1 was raced - between 1996 and 1998, under a set of rules that required a handful of roadregistered versions be made to qualify - Porsche has no immediate plans to produce a road-racer based on the RSR.
"At Porsche we never say no, as we have done so many things over the last 20 years that nobody has expected, but at the moment we have no plans for something like this," Porsche’s global motorsport boss, Dr Frank-steffen Walliser, said.
"The 911, as a road car, is all about the two-plus-two layout, the space you have in the car compared to the Boxster and Cayman for example. This [configuration] is purely for motorsport - and endurance racing in particular."
Another innovation introduced on the 911 RSR is a motorsport application of collision avoidance warning, using a backwards facing radar system to alert the driver of faster-approaching cars such as the company’s Le Mans winning 919 Hybrid.
Under it’s bulging carbon fibre bodywork, the 4.0-litre flat six cylinder engine has maintained its naturally-aspirated layout with the ability to produce up to 375kw. It could produce much more, but air restrictors are fitted to balance power outputs between different makes of car in the World Endurance Championship.
The engine drives the rear wheels through a six-speed semiautomatic transmission with paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
Inside the cabin, the driver’s seat is fixed in place for better crash protection while the pedals and steering wheel can be adjusted to suit different drivers.
Walliser also revealed that Porsche’s presence in motor racing is protected from Volkswagen’s budget cuts.
Despite VW scrapping its Le Mans-winning Audi sportscar team and dominant World Rally Championship outfits in the last month, Walliser, says the the German sportscar brand will maintain its place in the top-flight World Endurance Series, which includes the iconic Le Mans 24 Hour, for the foreseeable future as well as continuing its myriad customer-based racing programs, including its global Carrera Cup championships.
"You never have a guarantee for something but we have a very strong position with no budget cuts on the motorsport side of things.
"There is a clear understanding at the Volkswagen group that we will not stop motorsport. We have been doing this for more than 67 years and more than 50 years with the 911. This will not stop for us. It is part of our history and part of our company."
Walliser says the LMP1 sports car program, which won this year’s Le Mans 24-hour and is on track for consecutive world championship victories, is seen as a success, not just in terms of publicity for the brand (which extended its Le Mans winning record to 16 outright victories this year) but also because the hybrid rules have made it a test bed for future engineering applications of battery technology that may be transferable to the road car division.
"The prototype program is confirmed and ongoing. We see our business success and our racing success going hand-inhand." he said.
"The company is big enough to afford it - maybe this was different 10 years ago - and the feedback is that we are doing exactly the right thing because this hybrid technology has many benefits."
With other manufacturers like Audi, BMW and Jaguar jumping on board the fully-electric Formula E series, Walliser admitted Porsche, which plans to introduce its Mission-e electric sedan by 2018, is also keeping an eye on developments in non-conventional racing series.
"It is definitely something we have on our radar," he said.
"At the moment, the decision is that Audi will go to Formula E but we will always look at what things are like for the future. I think we will not rush this, but it is definitely on our observation list."
Porsche’s new 911 RSR Gt-racer goes on public display at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show.