Porsche is known for putting their engines in unconventional places, like the rear mounted flat sixes in the 911’s for example. But who cares about being conventional when you have the performance to back up whatever it is you’re doing. Porsche didn’t limit themselves to only using rear mounted engines either, they used the unofficial standard of the front mount in the 928/944/964 produced through the ’80s. But they’ve reserved the glorified mid-mounted engines for only the best and used them on the rare occasion like the Carrera GT and the wicked 918 Spyder for example. Well, now there’s another badass mid-engined Porsche that was debuted at this years L.A. Auto Show and it’s a 911 if you can believe that.
They’re calling it the 911 RSR and as you’ve probably gathered by now, it’s not your everyday 911, nor is it even street legal. Nope, it’s a full blown race car that will be competing for the Porsche factory team in the World Endurance Championship which includes the famous 24Hr of LeMans. There were rumors going around that the Germans had some special project they were working on for the race team but I don’t think anyone expected the rumors about having a mid-engined 911 to be true. Even if it is something as small as moving the engine forward a few inches, but for a true 911 purist that’s blasphemy.
Even though Porsche may have followed in the footsteps of other highly competitive cars in the GT circuit like the Ford GT and Ferrari GTE by going mid engine, they didn’t copy them all they way like some people expected. By that, I mean going to a turbocharged engine versus the naturally aspirated engines that are so highly coveted. They did however completely redesign the all new 4.0L six cylinder boxer engine that’s said to produce 510hp. That may not seem like much for a multi-million dollar race car, but keep in mind the 911 RSR only weighs 2,740lbs which is about a thousand pounds less than a standard 911 Turbo. Plus the 510hp coming from that race engine has got to be significantly different than one in the street car, and with all that aero, sticky tires, and race tuned suspension, this thing is on another level.
One of the most dangerous parts of this particular style of racing is all classes of vehicles are on the track at the same time. That means the ridiculously fast prototype cars , or LMP1 for Le Mans Prototype, are going at the same time as the slower classes. As wickedly fast as the 911 RSR is going to be, those prototypes will make it look like your Grandma’s station wagon. So imagine driving at night, after 12 straight hours of racing and suddenly you see what looks like a shooting star in your rear view mirror and its an LMP1 car flying by.
In an attempt to try and give the drivers of the RSR some sort of early indication, it’s been fitted with a “Collision Avoid System” using radar technology. Think of it as the same thing you’ll see in most high-end luxury cars now, only amped up about a thousand times in order to detect the fast moving LMP cars as well as other cars in the same class.
To make things more user-friendly for the crew, almost ever part on the car has been fitted with a new quick release fastener in the event that something needs to be replaced or fixed. All the suspension pieces and everything can all be swapped out fairly quick. Another big deal in this style of racing is the driver swap. Since the seats are usually in a fixed position and it’s very unlikely that you’ll have the exact same size drivers an adjustment has to be made somewhere. So using the same quick fastener technology they made it where the pedals can be moved in either direction very quickly which is all that matters in the end.
It’ll be interesting to see how this new setup works out in the upcoming season. One more thing we really liked about this new 911 RSR is that it still resembles a 911, just a really badass one. Here’s a video of the 911 RSR caught testing at Sebring where you can really hear that motor sing.