On the heels of Porsche’s announcement that it will enter the Tudor United SportsCar Championship with a two-car factory effort next year has come confirmation that the German manufacturer will offer the 991-based Porsche 911 RSR to customer teams beginning in 2014.
Speaking to Sportscar365 at last weekend’s FIA WEC round at Circuit of The Americas, Hartmut Kristen, head of Porsche Motorsport, revealed intentions of making the car available globally. However, the time frame of getting the cars into customers’ hands by next year’s USCC season-opener appear unlikely.
“We will see cars in customer’s hands next year,” Kristen confirmed. “We are just working on details and the schedule. I can’t announce at the moment because with the last [WEC] race being Bahrain [in late November] and the first race next year being Daytona [in late January], when you look at the Daytona tests, it gives you less than six weeks. That’s a very tight schedule and the decision was taken not that long ago.”
CORE autosport, Team Falken Tire and Paul Miller Racing all currently campaign Porsche 997-based GT3 RSRs in the American Le Mans Series. But with CORE becoming the Porsche’s factory partner and Paul Miller eyeing a program in GT Daytona, it leaves Falken as the only team currently racing a GTE-spec 911 on U.S. shores that could upgrade.
Kristen, however, said it would be very difficult to have an additional 991 on the grid for the USCC opener in January.
“I would say that it’s not really likely to see more than the two [factory] cars in Daytona,” Kristen said. “When we started thinking about this project, there was no Daytona race for these kind of cars. It kind of caught us by surprise about a year ago.
“Yes, you can do a lot, but it’s always something that needs to be clear on both ends. So we at one point decided that if we do the factory program here, there actually more or less can’t be any customer cars in Daytona but Sebring is something that should be possible.
“The main point is availability of parts, and the second, maybe even more important point is how we can support these teams in the beginning because the car is a lot different than the 997 GT3 RSR.
“This is something we need to take into consideration because teams are spending a lot of money if they want to race on that kind of technical level. So we have to make sure we can support them properly. That also means on our end that we have to grow within our organization and this is why we have to be a little bit careful.”
With the current GTE regulations under a two-year freeze for all new cars, but allowing one update per car in the first year, Kristen said the 911 RSR will debut with new parts later this year in the WEC.
Porsche has yet to confirm its GTE-Pro program for the WEC next year, although it’s believed they will continue in at least some factory capacity with Manthey Racing. The manufacturer’s LMP1 program will be run entirely independent of any GT efforts.