About a year ago, Porsche had a slight problem. Luckily, it seems they’ve taken a swing at fixing it.
Last year, the endurance racing world was introduced to the most advanced GT cars since the death of the GT1 class in the mid-2000s. Both the Ford GT and Ferrari 488 GTE cars were radically new. Extreme new aerodynamics, anchored by much larger rear diffusers, were paired with turbocharged engines. These two cars would go on to rock the endurance racing world by dominating the 24 Hours of Le Mans and making a very strong showing in both the World Endurance Championship and the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship.
Porsche took a year off from running their Factory GTE squad, ostensibly to save money and focus on the LMP1 program. But most suspected it was because they were developing this car – the long awaited, mid-engined 911 RSR.
Having been rumored for years, Porsche finally decided to take advantage of the (debatably) superior mid-engine layout by effectively twisting the engine and transaxle 180 degrees. This particular arrangement allows them to utilize a much larger rear diffuser, and thus claw back some of the downforce advantage held by Ford and Ferrari.
I was, however, surprised to hear that they retained their naturally-aspirated flat-6 as opposed to opting for turbocharging, as most of the road-going 911 range has done. On the surface, this seems like a major problem, given the advantages turbocharged GTE cars seem to have currently. That being said, I do fully expect them to be pegged back substantially next year, so we’ll so how much of a disadvantage the setup will or won’t be then.
Porsche are currently undergoing a bit of a driver shuffle with the announcement of Mark Webber’s retirement, but expect to see some familiar Porsche names to be piloting the new 911 RSR this upcoming January at the 24 Hours of Daytona.