Porsche Put the New 911 RSR Engine in the Wrong Place

Porsche redesigned its long-haul Le Mans race car — by moving the engine.

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Porsche 911 RSR has been redesigned from the ground up for the first time since 2013. Revealed on Wednesday at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the “latest fighting machine,” as executive Detlev von Platen called it in a press conference, offers completely retooled suspension, body structure, aerodynamics, transmission, and perhaps most notably, an engine that sits all the way in front of the rear axle. Which is a major change; the Porsche 911 on which the RSR is based has, for its decades-long life, been famous for its behind-the-axle, rear-engine layout.

The engine, which is a flat six-cylinder making 510 horsepower, was moved forward to improve weight balancing and accommodate an enlarged rear diffuser and rear wing. The 911 RSR will also come with an automated emergency braking system designed to help avoid collisions on the track. The long-distance race car will debut at 24 Hours of Daytona in January, before taking on 18 other races in the season and aiming to claim the crown at 24 Hours of LeMans in June.

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