Porsche's New 911 Race Car Could Go Mid-Engine: Report

Photo credit: Porsche
Photo credit: Porsche

Why has Porsche released no photos of the 2017 Porsche 911 RSR replacement’s rear? It’s possible that the company is incredibly moving on from its classic rear-engine layout with an interesting and specific detail change.


Porsche received an exemption from the FIA to move their engine forward, reports Auto Motor und Sport, so Porsche may not want to show off their car’s posterior just yet.

Porsche originally looked to base their new GTE-spec race car on the mid-engine 918, but that proved too expensive, per a report published by Auto Motor und Sport. However, Porsche still wanted the handling benefits of a mid-engine car to go up against mid-engine endurance racers such as the new Ferrari 488 GTE and Ford GT.

However, Porsche would need some kind of technical waiver from the FIA to race a mid-engine 911 race car based on a rear-engine 911 production road car. Per Auto Motor und Sport, that waiver has been granted, which they say allows the car’s gearbox to now fit behind the engine. As translated by Google Translate:

The technical Exemption enables the engineers not to place the gearbox as far in front but behind the engine. The block therefore moves slightly towards the center, which has a positive effect on the balance. The Porsche 911 RSR would thus be no rear-engine car more but a so-called rear-mid-engine vehicle.

This would be a huge break with a decades-long tradition (not unlike the purpose-built 911 GT1), but there’s good reason for Porsche to want to do this. Anyone familiar with the evolution of the 911 knows that Porsche has even been nudging its road car’s engine more and more forward with each subsequent generation to make the rear-heavy 911's handling less prone to surprise oversteer.

Changing the location of the gearbox would be something new, though. For once, the engine wouldn’t be the most rearward major component in a 911.


Rumblings that the layout of the 2017 911 GTE car would be different go back to the end of 2015, when Porsche Head of Motorsport Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser confirmed to Sportscar365 that they considered developing a purpose-built mid-engine GTE race car for 2016, but the timing didn’t work.

Porsche has not confirmed any technical details on their racer yet, so we’ll have to wait until Porsche sends us butt shots of their new car.


Show us the booty, Porsche. We want the booty.

If you have any further information as to what’s inside the 911 GTE race car’s back end, please let us know: tips@jalopnik.com.


Moderator, OppositeLock. Former Staff Writer, Jalopnik. 1984 "Porschelump" 944 race car, 1971 Volkswagen 411 race car, 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS.


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