What an incredible premiere: In its first appearance in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Porsche 911 RSR shone last year with magnificent first and second place finishes (GT-Class). The GT racer from Weissach, which is distinguished by its systematic lightweight design and refined aerodynamics, has been further improved in many aspects for 2014. And with success: it started the 2014 season impressively as class victor at the 24-hour race at Daytona.
The 911 RSR, which is used in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the new United Sports Car Championship in the USA and Canada as part of the WEC World Sportscar Championship series, made its appearance in 2013 as a successor to the successful 911 GT3 RSR. It is based on the seventh generation of the 911 sports car icon. As in its production car counterpart, its wheelbase was lengthened by a full ten centimetres. A new wishbone front suspension replaces the previously used MacPherson sprint strut suspension. The lightweight racing gearbox is also a special new development by Porsche Motorsport. Its six gears are shifted by shift paddles on the steering wheel. The 470 hp four-litre flat six engine was taken from the previous model and optimised in its details.
One of the central focuses in developing the 911 RSR was to attain a balanced weight distribution. The vehicle's centre of gravity is also significantly lower than in the previous model. Carbon fibre material assumes a special significance here. The front and rear wings, front and rear lids, the doors, underbody, wheel arch panels, rear wing, dashboard and centre console are made of this exceptionally lightweight and strong material. In addition, all windows are made of very thin and lightweight polycarbonate. The familiar lightweight lithium-ion battery of the GT street models also makes a contribution towards weight savings.
The look of the new 911 RSR is marked by broad flared wings and a deep cooling air channel at the front end. The new air flow system enables a centrally located radiator at the front end, which operates even more efficiently than in the previous model. Climate control of the interior was also made more efficient. For enhanced service friendliness and shorter repair times, a quick-change concept for body parts was tuned for long-distance racing. The nose, front lid and rear apron are attached with quick-action clamps and can be replaced within just a few seconds.
The static cornering lights that are positioned very low in the front end improve the driver's view in bends. This improves night-time driving safety. The reflective labels on cockpit controls, combined with anti-glare interior lighting, provide for optimal legibility in darkness. The layout of switches on the new steering wheel was developed together with the Porsche factory drivers. From the outset, they contributed their wealth of experience in GT motorsport to the design of the 911 RSR.
The 911 RSR was systematically further improved for the 2014 season. The redesigned front end, for example, and the new rear wing provide for optimal aerodynamic balance and therefore for greater stability in fast driving through bends. Even more precise steering response, which leads to better vehicle handling in bends at slow and moderate speeds, was attained by optimising front suspension kinematics. Further improvements to the car's structural rigidity result in more precise steering response. Also new is the engine air induction system, which was optimised in its details, such as in its air filter geometry, which contributes towards reducing the effects of contamination on power output. The new FT3 safety fuel tank with a lowered centre of gravity enables improved filling under race conditions.
Live telemetry that is permanently transmitted to the command station via the car's roof antenna ensures that engineers are always well informed of all relevant vehicle data with over 200 measurement values. In addition, all data is stored on a memory card in the vehicle.
"The 911 RSR was further optimised in many aspects. The wide rear wheel rims and refined aerodynamics have improved consistency over a sprint," says Porsche factory driver Jörg Bergmeister. "This is undoubtedly the best 911 that I have ever driven. It still always feels like a 911, but it can do practically everything better than the previous model. And on top of that, it is also in my eyes the most beautiful and most spectacular 911 ever." His team-mate Patrick Pilet adds this: "Last season, we strove constantly to develop the car further. The better weight distribution, in particular, has had a positive effect on performance. The 911 RSR is now more stable over the rear axle and gives the driver a greater sense of trust. This allows the driver to probe performance limits faster."