Porsche introduced the world to the mid-engine 911 back in 2017, and it has blown the world away with Porsche’s sports car efforts since. It won Le Mans in 2018, it’s netted more than a couple championships both in the IMSA series here in North America, as well as the FIA WEC international series. The switch to a mid-engine layout was made with aerodynamics in mind, allowing Porsche to engineer a larger and more effective rear diffuser for the car. Ahead of the start of the 2019/2020 FIA WEC season, which runs from September at Silverstone through next June at Le Mans, Porsche has launched a new 911 RSR to combat the updated and ever present threat of Ferrari, Aston Martin, and occasionally Corvette.
Here’s a walk through of everything that Porsche changed from the 2017 RSR to the 2019 RSR.
The 2019 spec 911 RSR has gained about 4 pounds over the outgoing car, which is the base weight as per the regulations. Part of this is due to the car’s increase in exterior dimensions. The 2019 911 RSR is 36mm longer at 4593mm total (less splitter, rear wing, and diffuser). All other dimensions remain the same as the outgoing car, except the rear track width has grown by 2mm, and the wheelbase has shrunk by 3mm. That’s a small enough difference to barely warrant mention.
The biggest difference between the old car and the new one is the brand new 4.2-liter engine, which replaces the existing 4-liter. Total power is rated the same, as the RSR is forced to use a restrictor to keep outright power around 550 horses. The difference here is in the power delivery, as the new engine moves its powerband down the spectrum, allowing for a wider useable throttle map and earlier torque delivery.
At the front you will instantly notice a revised front cooling duct with larger and wider openings, plus a new front splitter. The front air relief ducts have also changed, moving further back on the cowl. The fuel filler is now out of the airflow and pushed to one side of the car.
The new car retains much of the same styling at the rear, though the diffuser has been changed around a bit, and the rear bumper fascia extends further down than the existing car’s does. The new tail lights look thinner and more 992-esque.
From the side you can see the major bodywork changes of the 2019 RSR, including a new side exhaust exit on the side of the car just in front of the rear wheel, and the massive new engine air inlets behind the door. The new exhaust outlet will likely allow the diffuser to be even more effective, as the pipes won’t be blocking the airflow.
Porsche worked extensively with its factory racers to develop a new cockpit that works better for their racing needs. New active and passive safety systems have been added to keep racers as safe as possible. The new steering wheel moves much of the car’s control systems within a finger’s reach, rather than over on the center console where the driver has to pull a hand off the wheel to adjust. A larger and easier to read screen sits in the middle of the wheel to keep the driver informed. And, of course, the center-mounted collision warning system gives drivers better warning of fast approaching LMP1 or DPi prototypes coming up from behind. Again, as before, the seat is rigidly mounted and the steering wheel/pedal assembly are adjustable toward the driver.
Comments on the new car:
“We never rest on our laurels. We’ve extensively analysed all factory and customer campaigns with the Porsche 911 RSR. Our engineers noticed room for improvement in a number of areas. We have made significant progress in the development of our car for the next three-year homologation period, especially in the complex areas of driveability, efficiency, durability and serviceability. Ninety-five percent of the car is new. The only components that we’ve kept unchanged from the predecessor are the headlights, brake system, clutch, driver’s seat and parts of the suspension. Tests so far have run excellently. We’re already looking forward to the first races of the 2019/2020 FIA WEC season.”
“We’ve been working on the concept of the new Porsche 911 RSR since 2017. The first designs were created using CAD software. In August 2018, the best racing nine-eleven to date completed its first kilometres on the factory’s own test track in Weissach. Another milestone was our long-run in March 2019 at Le Castellet, where we included the works teams from both the WEC and IMSA. We covered more than 6,000 kilometres over 30 hours without any technical hiccups. The drivers and engineers were very satisfied. The car received its racing homologation on 1st of July.” says Pascal Zurlinden, director of GT factory motorsport.
Technical data Porsche 911 RSR model year 2019:
• Single-seater race car for the FIA GTE category (USA: GTLM)
• Base weight: ca. 1,245 kg
• Length: 4,593 mm (without splitter, rear wing, diffuser)
• Width: 2,042 mm (front axle) / 2,050 mm (rear axle)
• Wheelbase: 2,513 mm
• Water-cooled six-cylinder boxer, positions in front of the rear axle; capacity 4,194 cc, stroke 81.5 mm, bore 104.5 mm; ca. 378 kW (515 hp) depending of restrictor; 4-valve technology; direct fuel injection; dry sump lubrication; single mass flywheel; power output limitation via restrictor; electronic throttle; side-exit exhaust system.
• Weight-optimised six-speed sequential constant-mesh gearbox; two-shaft longitudinal layout with bevel gear; shifting via electronic shift actuator; shift paddles on the steering wheel; magnesium gearbox casing; multi-disc self-locking differential with visco unit; three disc carbon race clutch.
• Weight-optimised bodyshell in aluminium-steel composite design; removable roof hatch; FT3 fuel cell in front of the car; welded-in roll cage; seat pursuant to FIA 8862-2009; rigidly mounted to the chassis; six-point safety harness for use with HANS®; longitudinally adjustable pedalry; aerodynamically-optimised and quick-release body components made of CFRP; rear wing with “swan neck” mounts; four-post air jack system with safety pressure valve; electronically activated fire extinguisher system; heated windscreen.
• Double wishbone front axle; four-way vibration damper; with coil spring setup; anti-roll bars, adjustable by blade position; electro-hydraulic power steering.
• Integrated rear-axle subframe with double wishbone axle; four-way vibration damper; with coil spring setup; anti-roll bars, adjustable by blade positions; electro-hydraulic power steering; tripod drive shafts.
• Two independent brake circuits for front and rear axle, adjustable via balance bar.
• One piece aluminium six-piston racing callipers with quick release coupling; internally ventilated steel brake discs, 390 mm diameter; race brake pads; optimised brake cooling ducts.
• One piece aluminium four-piston racing callipers with quick release coupling; internally ventilated steel brake discs, 355 mm diameter; race brake pads; optimised brake cooling ducts.
Wheels / Tyres
• One piece forged light alloy wheels, 12.5Jx18 offset 25 with centre lock nut and wheel nuts; Michelin slick 30/68-18.
• One piece forged light alloy wheels, 13Jx18 offset 37 with centre lock nut and wheel nuts; Michelin slick 31/71-18.
• Cosworth Central Logger Unit; CFRP multi-functional steering wheel with integrated display; shift paddles and quick release; Collision Avoidance System; controlled alternator in connection with LiFePo4 battery; LED headlights; LED taillights plus rain light; illuminated car number and leader light system; black light inside cockpit; electric adjustable wing mirrors with memory function; tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS); drink system; air conditioning system; membrane switch panel on centre console with fluorescent labelling.