Porsche re­veals 911 RSR

South Waikato News - - Motoring - AN­DREW MACLEAN

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.

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