Porsche Confirms New 911 RSR GTE Car for 2017

Photo: Porsche

Photo: Porsche

While Porsche’s factory GTE-Pro effort in the FIA World Endurance Championship looks set to not continue in its current form next year, the German manufacturer is already hard at work on a new-generation GTE car that will debut in 2017.

Head of Porsche Motorsport Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser has confirmed to Sportscar365 that an all-new Porsche 911 RSR is in the works, which is understood to feature some radical changes under the bodywork.

Walliser said development on the new car has been ongoing for the past six months, with plans to begin on-track testing by the middle of next year.

“It must be ready for ’17 so we must work like hell,” he told Sportscar365.

He would not comment on speculation that the engine, believed to be a turbocharged variant based off the Carrera model, will be moved forward in the car to provide a better weight balance.

It’s understood Porsche has proposed the mid-rear engine concept to the FIA, which would require technical waivers as the layout would differ from that of the road car.

“You always have to discuss your concept with the FIA and get the feedback from them to see if it fits,” Walliser said. “New ideas and innovative ideas and get feedback if it can be homologated or not. This is the process.”

Walliser did confirm that a bespoke mid-engine Porsche GTE car was in the pipeline, initially for 2016, but the decision was made to instead remain with a 911-based model instead.

“When I took over, we justified the technical concepts again,” he said. “I made some decisions but that delayed the program by approximately half a year.

“As you cannot do a mid-season entry, [the new car] will be for 2017… We have a high commitment to the 911. It’s our [key] sports car and it stands for Porsche.”

While 2017 race programs have yet to be confirmed, the new 911 RSR would presumably race in both the WEC and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Walliser, meanwhile, would not confirm reports of the factory Manthey WEC program taking a sabbatical but admitted they are working on different options for 2016.

One of them is understood to be a possible GTE-Pro entry entered by Proton Competition with factory support and drivers.

“Obviously WEC is a perfect platform,” Walliser said. “It’s a high profile racing series and we understand also that we belong to the series.

“We have to consider our overall situation. And when I say overall situation, it’s not related to the Volkswagen Group, it’s our overall situation in motorsports, including development of our new RSR in 2017, the new GT4 Clubsport, the new GT3 R and are heavily working on our street car development.

“All this we have to find the right priorities.”

Walliser said they have not yet decided whether they will field a factory GTE-Pro effort at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, potentially by CORE autosport, should the Manthey WEC program not continue.

Porsche’s 2016 program will be announced at its end-of-year dinner celebration event on Dec. 12.

29 Comments

  1. Alfredo

    November 23, 2015 at 7:39 am

    In my opinion, Porsche should continue with the 911 the way it’s supposed to be (rear-engined flat-6), for the good of the sport.
    Sports car racing is about inovation and diversity, I don’t wanna see an icon as the flat-6 dissapear in favor of another mid-engined V8 in the grid.

    • Bandit

      November 23, 2015 at 9:21 am

      I dont particularly disagree with any part of what you said, but couldnt you always make the argument that because of innovation, they should be trying new things? Again, i dont know, I’m torn….

    • Charles

      July 27, 2016 at 6:51 pm

      I disagree. The rear engine of the Porsche 911 is restrictive from an engineering perspective, limiting the ability of engineers to produce more enigine enhancements that are now confined to a small rear space. Also the rear engine is technically a small restrictive place to perform repairs and other engine work. Finally the rear engine provides less stability and safety than a front placed engine. Is it any coincidence that most autos worldwide have their eengines alinged in the front of the vehicle and not in the rear of the car. Even the W Beetle engineers recognized the limitations of a rear mounted engine. In engineering there are only trade-offs, no absoluates regarding the configuration of a givn item, this final design being deterined by cost, size, safety, efficincy and design factor, thus there is no such thing as ‘supposed’ in engineering parlance.

    • Charles

      July 27, 2016 at 6:55 pm

      So merely ‘keep things the way these are or have been’! If auto manufacturing and sports racing followed that dogma, we would not have had the Prscahe 911 or any autos, we would stil be using the horse and buggy. Modern society depends on continuing knowledge and engineering advancements to make better, faster, more efficient, durable and more intelligent vehicles.

  2. seth

    November 23, 2015 at 8:33 am

    Will the current spec Porsche GT be able to be properly BOP’d for 2016? IMSA I guess it will be okay? Lemans?

    • Louis

      November 23, 2015 at 8:50 am

      They will have an updated version of the car for imsa and if no pro cars are running in wec and only ams the current spec will be good to use

  3. Bakkster

    November 23, 2015 at 9:52 am

    Does the 2016 rulebook allow the engine to be moved that far, or would it require a waiver?

    A waiver would be terrible, IMO. The intention behind the new rules was fewer waivers.

    • AudiTT

      November 23, 2015 at 11:21 am

      If anything they are moving away from strict production dimensions etc. The idea is to take a relatively high production car off the line, then alter the race car to fit into the performance window.

      The alternative is to have strict production likeness, which would require, for example, Porsche to build a full mid engined car, or a varient of the 911 with the modified engine location

      • Bakkster

        November 24, 2015 at 12:00 pm

        I’m totally in favor of that, so long as it’s within the dimensions the rulebook says they’re allowed to move the engine. I can’t find a copy of the 2016 rules, which is why I was asking.

  4. Kylem

    November 23, 2015 at 11:49 am

    Was the production BMW z4 offered with a v8?

    • Ernie2492

      November 23, 2015 at 12:50 pm

      But it’s front-engined from the beginning.

    • jCage

      November 23, 2015 at 2:24 pm

      Many fans and a bigger percentage of manufacturers complained about the Z4, pretty much for this very reason, since giving BMW special dispensation allows/encourages other manufacturers go down the same path.

  5. Pierre

    November 23, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    Porsche will not surrender that the Cayman is a superior chassis. And they will still create a mid engined race car and label it a 911. Bring on the hate.

    • Daniel

      November 23, 2015 at 3:49 pm

      Agreed.

  6. NASCAR/DPs Suck

    November 23, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Other than the problems with creating the same type of diffuser as the other entrants why would they need this waiver? They’ve got great traction off the corners and superior braking already. If they turbo the engine then they’ll be taking care of any horsepower or torque deficiencies they are currently battling.

    • James

      November 23, 2015 at 4:24 pm

      I think one of the biggest issues is rear tire longevity compared to mid engine chassis. With the fewest number of cylinders, no turbos, and rear engine; something(or things) needs to evolve to compete with the new ferrari and ford GTE cars.

    • Pierre

      November 23, 2015 at 8:35 pm

      Race cars have to be based off of road car examples.. otherwise it’s waived. ie V8 Z4.

  7. tracer

    November 23, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    I will have to go back to check the regs to be sure of the specifics, but I do believe there are existing provisions which provide a defined amount of play for a manufacturer to move the engine placement forward or aft from the mounting location of the corresponding street car. Of course, everyone would like to mount their engine as close as possible to the center of the car to achieve 50/50 weight distribution, in addition to potentially freeing up design constraints for better aero solutions and packaging efficiencies. Sure there are some tracks (ViR is one that comes to mind) that favor a rear engine layout, but a mid-engined platform will be optimal on the vast majority of modern race tracks. Just look at how competitive the 458 has remained deep into its life cycle, and remember that not only is the 488 on the bill next year, but the Ford GT is too. For that reason, Porsche has acknowledged for some time now that they can only take the 911 so far with the engine in the trunk, and it seems like they’ve reached the point where they are finally committed to making the change with their next generation GT. I’m very interested to see how this all plays out, because if Porsche obtains dispensation to substantially alter their engine layout beyond what’s possible under the regs for the rest of the GT manufacturers… Well, let’s just say that BOP disagreements won’t hold a candle to the reaction from the rest of the GT grid. Corvette and Aston Martin might have a word or two to say about that!

    • gtgianlu

      November 23, 2015 at 4:52 pm

      Gte regs are not like Gt1 where you were able to move the engine back and low it down in the bay as AM and Ferrari did with the Dbr9 and 550/575,it’s not allowed

      • Bakkster

        November 24, 2015 at 12:16 pm

        Actually, this is from the 2015 GTE rules, you are allowed to lower and move backward.

        The original engine shall maintain its original location,
        orientation and position. However it can be:
        • lowered in compliance with the Article 5.1.2. below;
        • moved backward (*) provided the chassis and the
        dimensions of the cockpit are not modified ;
        (*) This modification is permitted only for cars produced in
        more than 2500 units (with identical external general lines of
        the bodywork) in twelve consecutive months. It must be
        homologated.

        It is permitted to change the engine mountings but without
        modifying :
        • their position excepted when the engine can be moved
        backward (see Art. 5.1.1. above);
        • the main structure which may be reinforced in the
        mountings area.

        • tracer

          November 25, 2015 at 1:25 am

          Thanks much for pulling that and reposting here for us Bakkster. After seeing the letter of those regs again, I’d be more than willing to bet that Porsche is seeking a waiver allowing them to take advantage of leeway to reposition a rear mounted engine in a manner that corresponds with the favorable wording of the current rules for the repositioning of front mounted engines. It’s a clever basis for Porsche to support their waiver request, I’ll give them that much.

  8. Anthony Thomas (@djfourmoney)

    November 23, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Tracer it doesn’t matter, the whining has already started in the place it doesn’t belong, the grandstands.

    Porsche wants to keep the 911 on top of the food chain. If they don’t want to admit that the Cayman offers better balance, that’s their prerogative, not for you the fans to judge and the majority of you won’t be buying a Porsche anytime soon, so the whole outrage is MOOT.

    Allowing them to move the engine forward is going down a slippery sloop that lead us to the demise of GT1.

    The problem with Porsche is where it is in the marketplace. There cars aren’t special like Ferrari and I really don’t care what you think personally the facts are the facts. Ford is is the number #2 car maker on the planet, it can do whatever it wants once it puts it’s mind too it and you’ve seen it over and over again in motor sport.

    If Ford decided it wanted to dominate GT for a decade much like Audi has done in LMP1, there isn’t much the others can do about it.

    • tracer

      November 25, 2015 at 12:55 am

      I have nothing else to add beyond what you already wrote… I couldn’t agree with you more.

  9. Russ Adams

    November 23, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    Yep they can . Then in 3 years be done like before … Soak up the winning logistics and then get the waivers we need for a few yrs and boom we did it ad we are done .. lets see how long they stay as the others have . Atleast ferrari never quit like ford did after they won… sorry just my rant Thanks

  10. Jc

    November 23, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    All I want for Xmas is for all of the turbo cars to once again spit giant flames out the exhaust downshifting like they did when I was a kid. Nothing better than seeing 3 feet of fire coming out of the cars bombing into turn 9 at riverside…sigh.

    • nwGTS

      December 2, 2015 at 12:23 am

      Won’t happen sadly with modern fuel cutoff when off throttle to save fuel. Nothing to ignite anymore!

  11. tracer

    November 25, 2015 at 1:07 am

    Just as an additional aside… I think this development makes it pretty obvious why Porsche is taking a sabbatical from factory GTE-Pro racing in the WEC next year while keeping their GT-LM program alive in WTSCC. I for one am not impressed with a motor sports “strategy” based on a fundamental notion of “if we believe we can’t win, we won’t race at all.” If F1 teams took that approach, then Lewis and Nico would have been pretty lonely on the grid the past two seasons…

  12. got boost

    February 4, 2016 at 12:03 am

    The GTLM corvettes were about 6/10th of second faster than the 911rsr and that happened the last few laps (interestesting) so with that said,a turbocharged 911 rsr should be at a much more level playing field,without altering engine placement.

    • angel Seralena

      June 21, 2016 at 3:00 pm

      I’ll second,third… that. Porsche stick to your guns, you can and have done it. You have defied basically all dynamics of engineering, Show us those two turbos out from your buttocks, one more time.

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