Since the 2014 season Porsche Motorsport North America has partnered with South Carolina’s CORE Autosport to run a pair of 991-generation 911 RSR race cars in IMSA’s GTLM category against the best factory teams the world has to offer. While some years have been better than others, Porsche has come out of seven seasons of competition with a pair of class drivers championships, a pair of teams championships, a trio of manufacturers championships, and a further five endurance titles. But this Saturday it all comes to an end.
Goodbye Porsche 911 RSR, we hardly knew ye.
The 2020 IMSA season comes to a close this weekend with the 12 Hours of Sebring, which was displaced from its traditional March date by the onset of the global coronavirus pandemic. As a way of saying its farewell to IMSA and North American racing, Porsche has gussied up its two entries in the race with some proper American flair. The #911 will wear a stripes over stars livery on its massive wide flanks, while the sister #912 will wear the inverse design.
Obviously, with the demise of the 991 chassis, there’s no need for the 991-based 911 RSR to continue competing on quite the same level that it was. Allegedly the car will continue to race in the FIA WEC GTE Pro and GTE Am categories in 2021, but the IMSA program is dead. The 991 was introduced back in 2011 and its race car version first competed in 2013. The Porsche Motorsport North America introduction coincided with the merging of IMSA and Grand Am to form the United SportsCar Championship in 2014.
Since 2014, the 911 RSR has been a constant in the world of racing while GTE class competition has ebbed and waned. Dodge Viper, BMW Z4, BMW M6, Corvette C7, Ford GT, Aston Martin Vantage, and Ferrari 458—all have fallen while Porsche’s 911 RSR marched onward. Unfortunately, this unwavering pillar of motorsport history has come to its end, and IMSA GTLM competition will never be the same. Sure it went from rear-engine to mid-engine in the process, but that’s just part of the ever-forward march of motorsport progress. The 911 RSR got wider and faster with every year, but always looked totally badass.
In fact, the rumor is that BMW’s big M8 will be moving to an endurance-only race schedule in 2021. Combined with Porsche’s pulling out of the series, this leaves just the Corvette C8.R to compete with each other for eight of the planned twelve races next year. Hmmm, maybe it’s time for GTLM to follow the 911 RSR out the door.