Head of Porsche Motorsport Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser has discounted rumors of the German manufacturer switching to a turbocharged engine for its next-generation Porsche 911 RSR, stating that he doesn’t see a big need to go away from its tried-and-trusted normally aspirated powerplant.
Spy shots of what appears to be Porsche’s new-for-2019 GTE car were revealed last month, with a car featuring a revised exhaust configuration.
Eyewitness reports of a significantly different sounding engine, likely due to the muffled noise from the externally-placed exhaust tubes, led to speculation that a switch could be in the works for its next car, likely due in time for the start of the 2019-20 FIA World Endurance Championship season.
While Walliser declined to comment on the spy shots or the existence of a new GTE car altogether, he did admit that he still sees no performance difference by going with a turbo under the current regulations.
“For me it’s properly balanced,” he told Sportscar365. “But this is not depending on turbo or no turbo. The turbos are controlled, they look at the temperatures of the intercoolers, they look at the boost pressures and all these things. For me it’s fine.”
When asked if he sees a long-term future of continuing with normally aspirated flat-six engines in its 911 GTE race cars, Walliser said it depends on the link to Porsche’s production cars.
“For sure, I look at the street cars,” he said. “If I asked the guys here [at Rennsport], ‘Should we stay normally aspirated or do you want a turbo?’ It’s only normally aspirated. If I go down in the paddock and ask, there’s craziness about normally aspirated engines.
“So this is very essential: the link to the street cars. The guys understand more to change the position of the engine than turbo or normally aspirated.
“Performance-wise, it doesn’t make a difference. It’s a different concept but it’s balanceable. I don’t feel a big need. It’s something we can do but we’re not pushing for it.”
With the GTE class set to begin a new three-year regulations cycle in mid-2019, following the WEC ‘Super Season’-ending 24 Hours of Le Mans, Walliser acknowledged it does present an opportunity for manufacturers to roll out a new homologation, or simply opt for an Evo kit to its existing car.
“You have a new homologation period and it’s up to you if you go for an update of the car or keep the [existing] car,” Walliser said.
“Some competitors have done it the hard way [with] Evos. Knowing what you have is also good. But a new homologation is a new homologation.”
Sportscar365 believes that the new-gen 911 RSR could be revealed before the end of this year.