23 Apr Icons – Porsche 911 RSR 3.0, the king
Porsche 911 RSR 3.0, the king
The Porsche 911 RSR 3.0 was designed to punch far above its weight in the 1974 GT racing season. And so it did. Becoming probably the best race version of the 911 ever produced.
In the racing season of 1974 Porsche was up against immensely fast competitors with engines the size of St. Paul’s cathedral, like the 5.7 litre V8 Tomaso Pantera or the 4.4 litre V12 Ferrari 365. But they were determined to win despite the costs involved and despite doubts that they could sell enough cars in a world hit by the oil crisis.
Earlier in 1973 they had raced a Carrera prototype and knew what it would take to make the 911 go faster. But if they had to build an entirely new car, they would have to manufacture 500 units to meet the homologation requirements. That was out of the question.
So in quite a clever move they decided that their new Porsche 911 RSR 3.0 would simply be an evolution of the Porsche 911 RS 2.7 produced for 1973. This cut the requirements down to a production run of just 100 cars.
In the end they produced 109. 59 of these would be the Porsche 911 RS 3.0 street version and the remaining 50 would be the same car in full racing trim and renamed Porsche 911 RSR 3.0.
From the outside the Porsche 911 3.0 RS/RSR differed from its predecessor by its large impact bumpers and the massively flared wheel arches. In the RSR version these wider wings covered 10.5 inch front and 14 inch rear wheels.
Inside a very important change was the move from a magnesium crankcase to one made out of aluminium. While it may seem like a step back, the added weight of the aluminium crankcase was a fair trade-off for the much improved reliability – a necessity in long distance racing.
The 2992cc engine featured high-lift camshafts, Bosch slide injection, twin plug ignition and a compression ratio of 10.3:1. The results? Well, hefty: 330 brake horsepower at 8,000 rpm.
Weighing in at a mere 900-950 kg depending on trim, the Porsche 911 RSR 3.0 was mind-blowingly fast. It ruled supreme on the race track throughout 1974 and 1975. Especially their performance in the US is noteworthy. Here they were up against 430 hp 3.5 litre BMWs and Chevrolet Corvettes with up to 8 litres in displacement. Eight litres!
Its legacy endured beyond its active race career. Because the Porsche 911 RSR 3.0 became the basis for a prototype Carrera RSR Turbo from which many future Porsche race cars came. Here Porsche gained the experience that would later lead their long series of turbo equipped road cars.