Shifting to a mid-engine layout has clearly worked for the angriest Porsche 911 racing car. The RSR has racked up multiple victories across the FIA World Endurance Championship and the IMSA series, and is the reigning champion of the former.
With that in mind Porsche has…replaced the car almost entirely, actually - its latest 911 RSR is described as 95 per cent new. Porsche certainly can’t be accused of resting on its laurels now, can it?
The headlights, brakes, clutch, the driver’s seat and a few suspension bits are the only things carried over. The engine still sits in front of the rear axle, but it’s now larger, the naturally-aspirated flat-six growing from 4.0 to 4.2 litres. Power will vary depending on the size of the restrictor plates used, but it’ll generally kick out around 508bhp.
The new boxer engine belts out its soundtrack via a new exhaust system, which exits at the sides of the car, just in front of rear wheels. That means less ducting is needing, saving weight.
It’s better for the aero side of the equation, too - without a dirty-great set of pipes poking out the rear, Porsche Motorsport’s engineers had much more freedom to shape the new diffuser.
The cockpit has been redesigned with the help of feedback from drivers, and now features an ‘optimised’ roll cage which will provide better protection should the worst happen. To prevent crashes from happening in the first place, there’s a collision warning system that detects the faster prototype cars the RSR will share race tracks with.
As before, the body is made from carbonfibre-reinforced plastic. The panels have been designed to be switched out for fresh parts as quickly as possible - vital for reducing pit-stop times during endurance races.
Porsche has been working on the new RSR since 2017 - the same year the current one made its competitive debut. Testing began back in August 2018 at Porsche’s Weissach facility, with the car’s brutal development programme including a 6000-kilometre, 30-hour run at Le Castellet in March.
The car made its public debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed at the weekend. It was homologated a few days before and will race for the first time at the opening event of the FIA WEC 2019/2020 season at the 6 Hours of Silverstone on 1 September. It’ll race in IMSA from next year, while customer WEC teams will be able to use the car from the 2020/2021 season.