While Ford and Ferrari will debut all-new cars next year, Porsche has elected to update its existing 911 RSR to the new-for-2016 GTE regulations, with the car having already completed on-track testing.
Head of Porsche Motorsport Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser confirmed to Sportscar365 the updated 911 RSR, conforming to the new safety standards, will also feature revised aero as part of the new performance windows defined by the FIA.
“From the aero side, we will also get what’s possible by the regulations,” Walliser told Sportscar365. “That will also come to this car. But we can’t [make] a fundamental change.
“At the end of the day, it has to fit in the performance window. How you achieve it, whether it’s a diffuser or wing, it’s up to you to decide.”
Walliser confirmed current 911 RSR customers will be able to upgrade their existing cars to the new specification, which features a newly mandated driver escape roof hatch and detachable seat.
Additionally, the updated car, which completed its first rollout three months ago, features aero elements of the current GTLM-spec 911 RSR, including the IMSA-approved splitter and components of the larger rear wing.
It’s understood Porsche has opted for a larger rear wing for its 2016 model.
Each manufacturer is allowed to make one modification, granted the car fits into the defined performance window.
Ford, for example, modified its diffuser from the production Ford GT.
“We’re keeping the engine and the drivetrain and the suspension in general. This is all the same,” Walliser said.
“As the [performance] window is very small in GTE, I think it’s going in the right direction. We’ll have to see if it works on the track.”
The 2016-spec Porsche 911 RSR may end up being a stopgap measure for one year, as reports indicate that an all-new Porsche GTE car, featuring a mid-engine design, could be on its way for 2017.
While Walliser wouldn’t comment he admitted that it’s “a question we have to answer” regarding the long-term future of its GTE platform.
Porsche has yet to decide whether it will continue next year with its factory GTE-Pro effort in the FIA World Endurance Championship with Manthey, although the German manufacturer plans return to IMSA competition with the new 2016-spec model.