Porsche’s new GTE fighter is ready for a successful season in 2017

Truth be told, Porsche did decent with its racing program for the 2015 FIA GTE season, but the German brand decided to sit out the 2016 season to prepare for 2017. Since we’ve last seen Porsche in GTE, the brand has been busy building its new GTE racer for the 2017 season. The new 911 RSR has been put through the paces on various tracks around the world, with a majority of the Porsche Works drivers getting behind the wheel at one time or another – a feat that’s quite rare in the development stage. But, it’s paying off well, and it looks like the new RSR is ready to take on the competition. It needed a break, though, so Porsche saw fit to show it off at the L.A. Auto Show, and boy does it look ready. With up to 510 horsepower on tap and, real driver assistance systems (a first,) and an improved body panel mounting, this racer will not only be ready to devour the competition and keep its driver safe, but can be serviced easily mid-race thanks new quick-release fasteners that are used for mounting a majority of the body panels.

On top of that, the Porsche gets an all-new body wrap. It still sports the traditional white, red, and black color scheme, but features the new factory design and, from a birds-eye point of view, showcases the silhouette of a Porsche emblem. Pretty cool, huh? In 2017, the new RSR will see some 140 hours of track time over 19 different outings in the FIA World Endurance Championship, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the well-respected IMSA Weathertech Championship. The new RSR has a lot of work ahead of it, but as you can see from the photos that we took at the L.A. Auto Show, it’s more than prepared.

With that said, let’s take a closer look at Porsche’s new racer before the 2017 season kicks off, and we’re too busy watching it fight on the track to pay attention to the finer details.

Continue reading to learn more about the Porsche 911 RSR.

Exterior

2017 Porsche 911 RSR High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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Up until now, the only thing we had seen of the new RSR were spy shots and a teaser image that showcased the front end of the car. Now that it has made its debut in L.A., however, we can get a good look at everything the little racer has to off. As expected, it still looks every bit like a 911, albeit a very extreme interpretation. And, that means there’s a lot of difference between this model and its road-going counterpart. Obviously, aerodynamics are huge, and that’s why the RSR has a rather uneventful front fascia. It’s wide and has a few body lines, but there are no corner intakes or excessive design. Instead, the air damn has been enlarged, and a massive front spoiler hangs very low to the ground. Moving further up, there’s the traditional Porsche, circular headlamps with yellow lenses. The hood has some stylish vents and a small triangular air pass-through right in the middle. As you can see, the black, red, and white coloration carries over in a new layout, but the Michelin, Porsche Design, Mobile1, and 911 logos are carry over in the same locations.

Moving over to the sides, the color scheme dips strongly down toward the side skirts, leaving the area from the fenders back primarily while. Square-ish side view mirrors hang from the door via an angled arm, while the side skirts are all about downforce with a large, step-like presence. That stamped-911 logo resonates from the door, while small white lines in the strip of gray accentuates the car’s aerodynamic prowess.

There’s a lot of difference between this model and its road-going counterpart.

In the rear, there’s the massive black spoiler that displays the Porsche name as well as the Adidas logo. The rear fascia is primarily black with the traditional sponsor decals. The big news here is that massive rear diffuser that looks like it’s ready to chew up anything that comes to close. This massive diffuser is made possible because Porsche took the time to completely redesign everything about the racer from the suspension and body structure all the way down to the engine and transmission. The redesign of the engine and transmission was crucial in terms of putting such a large diffuser into service.

Interior

2017 Porsche 911 RSR High Resolution Interior
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Usually, we don’t get too good of a look at the interior of race cars of this caliber, but we’ve got a pretty good shot. Needless to say, the new RSR as all about business inside. Gone are the niceties and convenience features in place of necessary race and safety equipment. As you can see from the interior shot above, that stock dash, for the most part, carries over into the RSR, but the instrument cluster and steering column is gone. Instead, a racing wheel has been installed that features a small display screen with data like lap times, turns, current gear selection, etc. There are a number of various buttons on each side and several knobs to the bottom. There’s also tachometer LED set up at the very top. There is a display screen sitting atop the center stack, but just below that is a host of switches and control knobs that perform various functions. As you can see, there’s plenty of carbon finger, and there is a racing seat that’s obviously equipped with a five-point racing harness. Of course, this car is meant for racing, not comfort or convenience, so the interior isn’t all that important anyway, is it?

Drivetrain

2017 Porsche 911 RSR High Resolution Exterior
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This is where things really get interesting. As I mentioned previously, just about every part of the RSR is an all-new development, and that includes the engine and transmission. Porsche focused on keeping the engine light and naturally aspirated. Depend on the side of the restrictor in place, the light-weight, 4.0-liter flat-six can deliver some 510 horsepower. Porsche didn’t disclose what kind of torque numbers are there to lay rubber on pavement, but you can bet that’s a pretty high number too. The sequential six-speed transmission is controlled via paddle shifters, ultimately delivering all of that power to the wheels. Those rear wheels, by the way, are 12.2-inches wide.

Depend on the side of the restrictor in place, the light-weight, 4.0-liter flat-six can deliver some 510 horsepower.

But, that isn’t all there is to talk about here. See, Porsche has integrated real driver assistance systems into the RSR, a first for any Porsche GT racer. Well, it’s really not much – it doesn’t have active cruise control, for instance – but it does have a radar-supported collision warning system called the Collision Avoid system. In short, it can detect faster LMP prototypes early enough to warn the driver so he can prepare to be overtaken. As Porsche puts it, they a detected early enough that “misunderstandings can be avoided.” There’s also a new roll cage, and the seat is mounted directly to the chassis while the pedals can be moved and adjusted to fit the driver. The latter actually increases safety as there is less of a chance of the seat itself moving should a major collision or accident occur.

Competition

Ferrari 488 GTE

2016 Ferrari 488 GTE High Resolution Exterior
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The Ferrari 488 GTE was based on the 488 GTB and replaced the 458 for the 2016 season. In a sense, the 488 GTE was essentially the same as the road-worthy 488, but featured an extreme aerodynamic package, and an FIA approved interior. By that I mean that the dash and door trim was carried over from the road version, but outside of that, the car had a single seat, a roll cage, and various other required components for racing. As of the time of this writing, we still don’t know much about the drivetrain of the 488 GTE, but it’s sure to pose some stiff competition for Porsche’s new 911 RSR.

Read our full review on the Ferrari 488 GTE here.

Conclusion

2017 Porsche 911 RSR High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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I must say that I’m pretty impressed with the new 911 RSR. When Porsche decided to take the 2016 season off, I had a feeling it had something awesome up its sleeve. And, sure enough, we’re finally getting a look at that awesomeness. The fact that Porsche went so far as to redevelop things like the suspension, body structure, aerodynamics, engine, and transmission, is major for the 2017 season. It’s hard to say how the 2017 season will play out for Porsche, but it’s certainly showing up to the field ready to give 110 percent. Its first event will be at Daytona on January 28 and 29, so we don’t have that long to wait to actually see this baby in action. Until that happens, though, check out the full image gallery and don’t drool on your keyboard or phone too much. Let us know what you think about it in the comments section below.

  • Leave it
    • * No shots of the interior
    • * No shots of the side or rear
    • * Will likely change some before official debut

Press Release

Photo Credit: Porsche

Porsche will tackle the 2017 racing season with an all-out newly developed GT racer. The new 911 RSR makes full use of the breadth of the Le Mans 24 Hours GT regulations, and in addition to systematic lightweight design, features the ultra-modern, flat-six unit positioned in front of the rear axle. The four-litre, extremely light aggregate features direct fuel injection as well as a rigid valve drive and is characterised by outstanding efficiency. The new 911 RSR will make its debut at the Daytona 24-hour race in January 2017.

2017 Porsche 911 RSR High Resolution Exterior
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“While retaining the typical 911 design, this is the biggest evolution by now in the history of our top GT model,” says Head of Porsche Motorsport Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser. The new 911 RSR is a completely new development: the suspension, body structure, aerodynamic concept, engine and transmission have all been designed from scratch. The engine concept has enabled the designers to install a particularly large rear diffuser. Combined with a top-mounted rear wing adopted from the LMP1 race car, the 919 Hybrid, the level of downforce and the aerodynamic efficiency were significantly improved.

“For the 911 RSR, we deliberately focussed on a particularly modern and light normally-aspirated engine, as this gave our engineers immense latitude in developing the vehicle,” explains Dr Walliser. “Apart from that, in principle, the LM-GTE regulations stipulate the absolute equality of various drive concepts, as the torque characteristics of turbo and normally aspirated engines are aligned.” Depending on the size of the restrictor, the new normally-aspirated unit puts out around 375 kW (510 hp). Shift paddles on the steering wheel actuate the sequential six-speed gearbox with a magnesium housing, which delivers power to the 31-centimentre-wide rear wheels. The changeover to the new engine generation is now complete. After the 911 GT3 R and the 911 GT3 Cup, the spearhead of Porsche GT racing cars is now also powered by the same cutting-edge six-cylinder boxer engine family.

2017 Porsche 911 RSR High Resolution Exterior
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In the past, Porsche has already thoroughly pushed the limits with the concept of the 911 – in 1996 with the 911 GT1. With great success: In 1998 the 911 GT1 achieved the 16th overall victory for Porsche at the Le Mans 24-hour race. Back then, the fastest vehicle in the field emerged from the GT1 class.

For the first time, a Porsche GT race car features state-of-the-art assistance systems: the new 911 RSR is equipped with a radar-supported collision warning system, the so-called “Collision Avoid System”. Even in the dark, the faster LMP prototypes are detected early enough and misunderstandings can be avoided. A new safety cage concept and a new, rigidly-mounted racing seat enhance driver safety. With the seat fixed to the chassis, the pedalry can now been moved and adjusted to fit the driver.

The new 911 RSR’s serviceability has also been significantly improved: Entire elements of the carbon-fibre body can be exchanged completely in a very short time thanks to clever quick-release fasteners. Moreover, changes to the suspension setup can be performed much more quickly and easily.

With the look of the body wrapping, the 911 RSR is striking out in a new direction: For the first time, the GT racer bears the new factory design that has further developed the clear and dynamic design language of Porsche Motorsport. From a bird’s eye view, a hint of the Porsche emblem silhouette can be seen. The basic colours remain white, red and black.

2017 Porsche 911 RSR High Resolution Exterior
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In the 2017 season, the factory is expected to run the new 911 RSR at 19 outings which equates to more than 140 hours of racing. With two factory-entries, Porsche will tackle the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) including the 24 Hours of Le Mans as well as the American IMSA Weathertech Championship. The new racer will celebrate its debut under the toughest conditions at the IMSA season opener in Daytona on 28-29 January. “We’re very well prepared for this,” says Marco Ujhasi, Head of GT Works Sport. “Since its first rollout in Weissach in March this year we’ve covered 35,000 test kilometres on racetracks in Europe and North America – that’s more than in the development of any other Porsche GT racer.”

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