Yes, the 911 moves its engine to the middle for LM-GTE racing.

If there’s one defining factor about the Porsche 911, it’s always been the car’s rear-engine layout. That’s changing now, though, with the new 911 RSR. As spy photos had indicated, big changes are in store for the racer. The car has a mid-engine layout and will campaign in 19 races in the LM-GTE category in 2017, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

By putting the 4.0-liter flat-six engine ahead of the rear axle, Porsche says that engineers were able to install a larger rear aerodynamic diffuser. The new arrangement could conceivably also provide more balanced handling than hanging the engine out over the rear of the car. But because this is such a big change, pretty much every part of the RSR was developed from scratch, including the suspension, powertrain, and body. The car weighs 2,740 pounds (1,243 kilograms).

That engine is a naturally aspirated unit that, depending on what restrictor is required by series rules, will produce around 510 horsepower (375 kilowatts). It’s connected to a six-speed sequential transmission with a locking rear differential channeling power to the ground.

2017 Porsche 911 RSR: LA 2016
2017 Porsche 911 RSR: LA 2016
2017 Porsche 911 RSR: LA 2016
2017 Porsche 911 RSR: LA 2016

Click here to see full gallery

Along with the larger rear diffuser, the 911 RSR has a new roof-mounted spoiler inspired by that of the 919 Hybrid racer, which Porsche says has dramatically increased downforce. The carbon-fiber bodywork has quick-release fasteners so it can easily be removed for quicker servicing.

Every other component of the Porsche 911 RSR is, of course, optimized for racing. The massive brakes have six-piston calipers, while the center-lock wheels have rear tires measuring a whopping 12.2 inches in width. A full roll cage replaces a regular Porsche interior, along with a bucket seat, race harnesses, a race steering wheel covered in switches and controls, and various other racing safety features. The seat is solidly mounted to the floor, so the pedal assembly moves to accommodate each driver.

Perhaps the coolest innovation is the Collision Avoid System, which uses radar to warn racing drivers of fast-approaching vehicles. Because there are big differences in the speed of endurance racers, and because it can be tough to see in the dark, the system is intended to warn racers before they change their driving line. Several other Le Mans teams have similar systems, including Corvette Racing.

The Porsche 911 RSR will make its racing debut on January 28, 2017, at Daytona. With a total of 19 races planned, Porsche says the car will have a total of 140 hours of competition next year.

Source: Porsche

Live Photos: Nathan Leach-Proffer

Be part of something big