Head of Porsche Motorsport Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser has revealed that its new mid-engined Porsche 911 RSR is within the 2017 GTE rules, with no waivers granted despite the engine relocation.
The car, featuring a four-liter normally aspirated flat-six powerplant, was unveiled Wednesday at the LA Auto Show.
“The actual rules in GTE allow to optimize the position of the engine,” Walliser told Sportscar365. “No production car with this layout is planned and no waiver was granted.”
Porsche’s decision to move the engine forward provides an improved weight balance, something the rear-engined 911s have recently struggled with, particularly with the arrival of the mid-engined GTE cars in recent years.
While the turbocharged Fords and Ferraris dominated this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, the decision to remain with a normally aspirated engine was made well before that, according to Walliser.
“We finally opted for a normally aspirated engine exactly one year ago,” Walliser said. “The final go was a meeting between Dr. Blume [Porsche CEO] and myself in Bahrain.
“For the 911 concept, considering our actual engine lineup, a normally aspirated engine gives us more freedom in the car concept, e.g. weight distribution.”
However, Walliser doesn’t see it as a disadvantage, thanks to variable boost levels for turbocharged engines implemented by the FIA, ACO and IMSA that now provides a near-identical power curve for both normally aspirated and turbocharged engines.
“The rules are written in a way that gives turbos and normally aspirated engines the same power and torque behavior,” he said.
With more than 21,000 miles of testing having been completed since the car’s first rollout in March, including extensive running at Sebring, Walliser is confident in the car’s ability right out of the box when it debuts in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“The target for a race is to win, no question,” he said. “But realistically we know how difficult it is to survive 24 hours in Daytona.
“So a clear run with no major technical issues is the most important goal.”
Walliser confirmed only two of the new 911 RSRs will be entered in the WeatherTech Championship season opener, both run by the CORE autosport-operated Porsche North America squad.