Porsche reveals a mid-engined 911 (race car)

► Porsche unveils new 911 RSR race car in Los Angeles
► Eschews rear-engined configuration for mid-engined set-up
► Naturally aspirated flat-six develops 503bhp – with restrictors!

A new Porsche 911 RSR racer is always a big deal, but the latest RSR is a bigger deal than most – sacrilegiously, it’s mid-engined.

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To allow for an optimized weight distribution (which in turn allows for more efficient use of the car’s tires over the length of a racing stint) and more efficient aerodynamics, Porsche has taken a long hard look at the rulebook and, with a little ingenuity, pushed the 911’s flat-six into the middle of the car – ahead of the rear axle, for the first time since 1995’s 911 GT1 prototype.

The wheelbase, too, is increased over that of the production car – but both developments are legal within the regulations and key to a next-generation racer tasked with humbling LM-GTE rivals Ferrari, Ford, Lamborghini and Corvette.

‘This is the biggest evolution in the history of our top GT model,’ says Porsche Motorsport boss Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser. ‘The new 911 RSR is a completely new development: the suspension, body structure, aerodynamic concept, engine and transmission have all been designed from scratch.

‘Honestly, it is a pretty fundamental change, and the car is completely different to the GT1 – that was a prototype. With the RSR we have stayed on the 911 platform and changed what was necessary. It was an important step for us, to come back and have a competitive car.

“Joking, I would say the ideas has been around since 2005! But we had some interruptions, some protests. I took over this role in October 2014 and this was the most important task. We made a decision in March 2015, and then the engineering started.”

While Walliser refuses to rule out a mid-engined GT road car, it’s unlikely – the established 2+2, rear-engined configuration works nicely in Porsche’s production 911s.

The RSR’s engine is the 4.0-liter motorsport naturally-aspirated flat-six: the old Mezger unit, which featured in the 991 RSR, is now fully retired. Breathing through restrictors to ensure parity withPorsche rival engines of all shapes and sizes, from turbocharged Ferrari V8s to the Ford’s twin-turbo EcoBoost V6, the RSR engine develops some 503bhp, transmitted to the rear slicks via a six-speed sequential gearbox (in a magnesium casing, naturally) and a three-plate carbon clutch.

Turbocharging was considered but discounted for its weight penalty and the adverse effect it would have had on weight distribution, the primary reason for the shift in engine location.

The revised engine layout has radically altered the RSR’s aerodynamics. Pushing the engine forward has allowed for a far bigger diffuser, while ‘swan-neck’ rear wing mounts, inspired by Porsche’s LMP1 prototype, confer a slight efficiency advantage since the more critical under-wing airflow is left free of strut-derived turbulence.

‘When you shift the engine you have the space in the rear for a bigger diffuser and there’s an aero advantage to that,’ explains Walliser. ‘That’s the second step that makes the concept stronger. It’s a significant advantage over the old car, though direct comparisons are difficult because of the different tyres.’

The RSR’s debut will be the US IMSA WeatherTech series opener at Daytona, the 24-hour heartbreaker that taught Ford valuable lessons about its then-new GT in January 2016. Like Ford, Porsche makes no bones about the RSR’s primary objective. ‘Reliability is the most important thing at the start, then we go after performance – everything must be sorted out for Le Mans,’ says Walliser.

2017 Corvette Grand Sport Runs 2:47.1 at Car and Driver’s 2016 Lightning Lap!

Car and Driver just held their 10th annual Lightning Lap competition at VIR with 18 cars grouped into similar classes based on price. Think of this as the North American answer to the Nurburgring. Over the last 10 years, 201 cars have had the pants driven off of them on the 4.1 mile Grand West Course at VIR and this year, the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport was included in the LL3 class which also consisted of the 2016 Dodge Hellcat SRT, a 2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 and the 2016 Lexis GS F.


The 2017 Corvette Grand Sport was tested with the seven-speed manual transmission along with the Z07 Performance Package and level 2 aerodynamics. Car and Driver called the 2017 Grand Sport “weaponized fiberglass” like the Z06 but “with a little less fissile material”.

Just a quick “Corvette” recap, both the C7 Stingray and Z06 have participated in previous Lightning Laps. The 2014 Corvette Stingray Z51 ran a 2:53.8 while the 2015 Corvette Z06’s time was 2:44.6.

So how well did the Grand Sport do on the Grand West Course? When it was all said and done, the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport ran a 2:47.1 at the Lightning Lap. That time totally obliterates the competition both in the LL3 class ($65,000–$124,999) and most of the LL4 class ($125,000–$244,999) too.

Yes, the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport outperformed several higher-priced competitors like the 2016 McLaren 570 S, the 2017 Acura NSX, the 2016 BMW M4 GTS and the 2016 Audi R8 V-10 Plus. The 2016 Porsche 911 GT3RS was only 0.1 seconds faster while the 2016 Dodge Viper ACR clocked an impressive 2:44.2!

Here is the video of the Lightning Lap and make sure you stick around to the end as we love the driver’s reaction when he crosses the finish line!

Here are how each of the cars finished in the 2016 Car and Driver Lightning Lap Competition. In addition to the regular classes, Car and Driver also includes a few oddballs which this year included an electric car from Tesla.

LL5 ($245,000 and above)

2016 Ferrari 488GTB – 2:45.1
LL4 ($125,000–$244,999)

2016 Dodge Viper ACR – 2:44.2
2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS – 2:47.0
2016 McLaren 570S – 2:47.4
2017 Acura NSX – 2:50.2
2016 BMW M4 GTS – 2:52.9
2017 Audi R8 V-10 Plus – 2:56.1
206 Jaguar F-type Project 7 – 3:02.2
LL3 ($65,000–$124,999)

2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport – 2:47.1
2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 – 2:54.0
2016 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 3:03.5
2016 Lexus GS F – 3:05.9
LL2 ($35,000–$64,999)

2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R – 2:51.8
2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE – 2:54.8
2016 BMW M2 – 3:01.9
2016 Ford Focus RS – 3:03.9
2016 Audi TTS – 3:07.7
Concept Car

2016 Lexus RC F GT Concept – 2:43.2
Race Car

Copeland Motorsports Mazda MX-5 Miata Cup Car – 3:06.4
Electric Car

2015 Tesla Model S P85D – 3:17.4

A couple of last observations on the Lightning Lap competition. Car and Driver provides a page of historical results as well as some other interesting data about the cars it has tested over the years. One thing we found was that the Corvette Z06 and the Grand Sport were 1-2 out of all the cars ever tested as having the highest grip in Turn 1 (The Horse Shoe). The Z06 was 1.20g while the Grand Sport recorded 1.19g in the Horse Shoe. Z07 for the win!

The Corvette’s little brother, the 2016 Camaro 1LE was also tested and it ran a very quick 2:54.8. It was second in its class to the 2016 Ford Shelby GT350R at 2:51.8. That Mustang time does beat the 2014 Corvette Stingray Z51 time at 2:53.8 so look out Stingray owners next time you see a GT350R on the track.

The Charger Hellcat SRT placed last in the LL3 class but it was also the heaviest car at 4564 lbs to ever run the lightning Lap. A diet and some better rubber would probably shave some time from the big boy.

Which is faster the Ariel Atom or Corvette Z06?

Watch the Ariel Atom take on the Corvette Z06 on Nurburgring 

Can This Corvette Z06 Really Keep Up With A Lamborghini Huracan?

Watch this Corvette Z06 hang with A Lamborghini Huracan!

Ok, so we know that the Corvette isn’t exactly stock, and that it does get beat on the second run, but this is a classic example of brute muscle versus traction and handling. The Corvette has the power to overtake the Lambo in some cases, but in others, the Lambo just has too much traction for the Corvette to keep up. Either way, both are technological marvels and are stunning to look at!