Nothing is sacred in the automotive world, well unless we are talking about the recipe of the 911. For a German company that prides itself on pushing boundaries, Porsche is remarkably conservative when it comes to the good old 911.
But for all of Porsche’s tweaks to the 911 formula, the fans can rest easy in the knowledge that they will always find its engine hanging over the rear-axle. That is until now.
According to Porsche the relocation of the engine forward had allowed its engineers to fit a huge rear diffuser, which works in tandem with an equally gargantuan rear wing borrowed from their Le Mans winning 919 Hybrid LMP1 car. This setup is said to significantly improve its downforce and aerodynamic efficiency.
Yes, the 911’s odd weight distribution is the reason why many nouveau-rich bankers wrapped theirs around trees in the late-1980s, but in the hands of a professional driver, that traction can give you an advantage in a race. And when things get wet, conditions that would force drivers to turn down the pace and take things easy, the 911s are said to be unfussed thanks to its rear-end grip.
That being said, being a company that had built and equally big reputation in customer racing, Porsche says that they had improved the serviceability of their new mid-engined baby. It is said that entire elements of the 911 RSR’s new carbon-fibre body can be exchanged completely thanks to clever quick-release fasteners, while suspension tweaks can be done much more quickly and easily.
While Porsche themselves aren’t saying if this is a sign of the times ahead for the 911, there is good reason to believe that future 911s - or for a bigger part of its model lineup - will continue to be stuck to its rear-engined ways as before. For one, as stated in the beginning of this article, the 911 is Porsche’s bedrock. Models like the 914, 944, 928, and 968 has come and gone while the 911 has soldiered on, simply because it is a unique oddity amongst its kind.
Mid-engine cars are a dime a dozen, and there certainly isn’t any shortage of 2+2 grand tourers around. Yet, for all its quirks, there isn’t anything out there that delivers on the 911’s 2+2 grand tourer appeal and its unique handling characteristics that rewards bravery, commitment, and skill, rather than flattering the driver. In all likelihood the 911 RSR will spawn a road-going mid-engine spin-off at the very most, but it won’t change the 911.