The best boxer in the motorsport ring
When a Porsche model receives the designation RSR, there is no doubt: this car is made for racing, maximum performance on the racetracks, and the best synthesis of performance, efficiency and driveability.
For the last 47 years, the nine-eleven, developed specifically for motor racing bearing the RSR badge on the rear, has competed for victories and titles at the world’s greatest competitions – with huge success. That same year, the version powered by a three-litre boxer engine scored a convincing class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The progenitor of all RSR models from Porsche is the 911 Carrera RSR 2.8, which was created for the 1973 season based on the Carrera RS 2.7 as a prototype to comply with the FIA Group 4 regulations. During its first racing season, Porsche launched a new version powered by a three-litre flat engine. The new Porsche 911 RSR (2019 model) is powered by a 4.2-litre six-cylinder unit – the largest boxer engine ever fitted in a racing 911 ex-works.
Engine development: The boxer packs a real punch
The RSR prototypes with 2.8-litre engines from 1973 produced 290 hp (213 kW), the three-litre from the following year put out 330 hp (243 kW). In the new Porsche 911 RSR, which is based on the high-performance 911 GT3 RS road-legal sports car, the engine was mounted in front of the rear axle for the sake of weight distribution. In race trim, the latest 4.2-litre boxer in the RSR generates around 515 hp (378 kW), tamed by the regulatory requirements (Balance of Performance) when campaigned in the FIA WEC and the North American IMSA series. The torque has more than doubled compared to the Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 2.8 – with a significant improvement to the efficiency. In the past, when shifting down, you had to put your left foot on the clutch and your right foot on the brake and accelerator at the same time. Nothing worked without double-declutching. It was like a tap dance. What’s more, the right hand had to be on the gear lever. It was a very challenging. These days, it’s easier as a driver thanks to technical developments in almost all areas – you can drive at the limit much more consistently with the new Porsche 911 RSR.
Chassis development: Everything used to be lighter
In developing the 911 Carrera RSR 2.8 for the 1973 season, the Porsche engineers scored a real coup. The first RSR was not only light, but it was also slim and short. On the contrary: the extensive setting options on the kinematics of the Porsche 911 RSR-19 ensure the best possible adjustments for all racetrack characteristics and conditions. There’s always a lot of movement in the Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 2.8 from 1973. We no longer get those enormous rolling motions in the new cars, nor do we get hefty understeer. But such things are great fun, says Richard Lietz. The experienced works driver from Austria adds: When braking and turning in, you have to wait for the perfect moment during the load change to put your foot down again. If you don’t get it right, it gets tricky; a huge challenge for us drivers. The first RSR is my all-time favourite. It’s wonderful to drive this car at the limit. Such a car asks to be driven fast. With all RSR models, this is an approach appropriate to the species, so to speak.
Le Mans lap times: 30 seconds faster despite the shortened straights
In 1973, Gijs van Lennep (Netherlands) and Herbert Müller (Switzerland) drove to a class win and fourth place overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans clocking an average lap time of 4:20 minutes. The qualifying times were around five seconds faster. Nowadays, on their long run from the Tertre-Rouge corner to the Mulsanne right-hander, vehicles are reined in twice by chicanes. A Le Mans lap today is only 14 metres shorter than in 1973, but the lap times are very different. With favourable weather and track conditions, the Porsche 911 RSR of the 2019 model year will very likely be just as fast at its planned Le Mans debut in September 2020.
Apr 25, 2020 at 03:37