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.