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Porsche’s Secret Formula One Engine

Despite the brand’s long history in motorsports, Porsche’s relationship with Grand Prix racing has been full of fits and starts. The 718RSK originally competed in Formula 2 before moving to Formula 1 in 1961, where the slightly elderly car didn’t prove competitive. The 804 got the brand its sole championship race victory as a constructor with Dan Gurney at the wheel in 1962.

From there things stayed quiet for nearly two decades. Porsche focused on sports and GT racing, and ignored the world of open wheel cars entirely. Porsche returned in 1983 as an engine builder in partnership with TAG, and powered two constructor and three driver championships in the mid-1980s. With the rule changes of the early 1990s, the brand appeared very briefly in 1991 with an overweight V12, and failed to even qualify for more than half the races in 1991.

Where Porsche left top-tier endurance racing at the top of the heap and on their own terms, they left F1 in 1991 with their tail between their legs. While Porsche recently announced their return to (more-or-less) open-wheel racing with Formula E, the all-electric championship wasn’t their only prospective race series. According to Motorsport.com’s interview with Fritz Enzinger, plans were in the works for a Porsche Formula 1 entry:

“In 2017 there were signals from Formula 1 that the regulations were to be changed and that energy recovery from the exhaust gases [the MGU-H] was no longer required,” [Enzinger] said.

“As of 2017, Porsche was a member of the FIA Manufacturers Commission and was involved in the discussions about the future drive strategy in Formula 1 from 2021 and represented at the meetings.

“On the one hand we took part in these working groups. On the other hand the guys developed a six-cylinder for the WEC in parallel. Of course, we thought about what would have to change if the engine were to be used in Formula 1. Such things can be done in two ways.”

Though a move to FE, where Audi was also present, was an « obvious idea », Enzinger said the six-cylinder engine concept was still pursued because an F1 engine without the MGU-H would « also be interesting for a super sports car ».

« At the end of 2017, we received a concrete order from our parent company to further develop a highly efficient six-cylinder engine, despite its LMP1 withdrawal, » he said.

« Not only on paper, but actually as hardware and with the idea that this engine will be put to the test in 2019. That was the order from the board to us. »

Enzinger said its six-cylinder engine « is complete and running on the test bench » as a team of « 20 to 25 technicians » use it « for analyses and further orders with regard to series relevance. »

Porsche’s entry was set to coincide with a 2021 rule change for the series, though given the recent changes in Formula 1, Porsche’s future entry in top-tier Grand Prix racing seems to be somewhere between unlikely and impossible.

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When Will Electric Cars Overtake Porsche’s ‘Ring Record?

First off, congratulations to Volkswagen. Porsche’s corporate bedfellow’s achievement is nothing short of remarkable. The all electric ID.R is an astonishing technical achievement, and lopped more than forty seconds off the existing lap record for electric vehicles. With a 6 minute 05.336 lap, the electric Volkswagen even bested Stefan Bellof’s fastest-ever competition lap by about 5.5 seconds. Before we consider what this might mean for Porsche, let’s give Volkswagen their due, and watch this lap.

Beyond the speed, what is slightly remarkable about this lap is the noise. The piercing wail of the electric motors isn’t anything like a gasoline engine, but at least on video it sounds significantly louder than the diesel LMP1 cars of a decade ago, like the Audi R10 TDI. Whether or not it’s appealing is another matter, but it is far from silent. The car itself seems to fall somewhere between a modern LMP car and the wildest of World Time Attack cars, with aero that steps far beyond what FIA rules generally permit.

But what does this mean for Porsche? Though remarkable, the ID.R is not yet putting the 919 Hybrid Evo’s lap-time in jeopardy. The hybrid-powered Porsche’s laptime sits more than 45 seconds beyond the all-electric Volkswagen. Part of this is down to power- the Porsche produces 1,150 horsepower, while the Volkswagen makes around 670. The hybrid Porsche is also approximately 400 pounds lighter than the Volkswagen, despite carrying two types of power system.

As technology marches on though, the electric powertrains are bound to get both lighter and more powerful. As the power and weight gap decreases, so too will the Porsche’s performance advantage. There is no reason to assume that the ID.R’s record is the be-all end-all of electric performance, or even that its record will stand for long as technology improves.

What then is the best approach for Porsche? While Porsche has an upcoming line of all-electric production cars, and will be joining the Formula E open wheel series this fall, the brand has not given any inkling of producing an all-electric competition car of this type. Should Porsche be setting their own electric records and hold all the titles, or is this not Porsche’s fight? After all, Porsche’s record did challenge the rest of the world to « be faster. » Let us know in the comments below.

 
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New 991.2 RSR Spied Testing at Monza—With a New Exhaust Note

A large part of the 911 RSR’s charm is the sound it makes. The sublime climb from a throaty growl to a screaming crescendo is something anyone can appreciate, provided their eardrums are functioning. For that reason, some will be disappointed to hear the Ford GT-esque bark the latest RSR emits from its side-exit exhausts. After a few laps, it becomes more interesting, but its comparatively dull exhaust note leaves something to be desired. In the video below you can see the new model testing alongside two examples of the one that Porsche has been running for two years.

The performance is impressive, however. This evolution of the Porsche GTE/GTLM car is compliant over the curbs and composed exiting Monza’s first hairpin. No wheelspin and remarkable stability at speed can be attributed to some of the visual changes from the previous generation. Lightly widened haunches cover wider rear wheels, a revised rear diffuser helps with more downforce, new larger intakes on the flanks feed a lot more air, and different skirts with integrated side-exit exhausts. It’s likely the diffuser pushed the exhaust away from the rear axle, just like it did the motor, which has been oriented midship in the 991 RSR.

Though the sound might not reverberate as nicely off the trees, the widened body is much prettier than the last.

The new tone is reminiscent of the 996 RSR, and a mild muffling has some wondering whether the new car is turbocharged. However, there aren’t any telltale whistles, flutters, or pops—just a flattened note. It might not be as pleasing to the ear, but it powers a car that is stunningly fast in all types of corners.

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Watch As This 997 GT3 R Screams Up A Portuguese Hillclimb

With his usual Ford Escort steeds in the shop for repairs, Portuguese hillcimber José Silvinho Pires had to resort something else for his latest trip to the Rampa da Falperra hillclimb. His replacement, a 997 GT3-R, offered him more than enough performance to temporarily forget his old Fords. With a striking livery reminiscent of the old John Player-sponsored Lotuses, it looked as good as it sounded. Most importantly, it was approachable enough for him to but in a series of storming laps after minimal warmup time.

The iconic livery looks stellar, especially when peeking out of the shadows.

It should be mentioned that Pires has competed in Porsches before. At the same hillclimb, he made appearances in a 996 RSR with one of the most raucous engine notes around. Those frantic laps prepared him well for the lighter, fitter, younger sibling, which also enjoys a considerable bump in power.

Despite having nearly 500 horsepower from its 4.0-liter motor, the GT3 R never looked unwieldy in his hands. Granted, he was driving somewhat conservatively, but having only ten laps to prepare on a course as demanding as this, that’s sensible. Through the faster sections, he’s able to flirt with the guardrails and carry some impressive entry speeds, but it never looks like he’s completely at one with the Porsche.

However, he’s still getting the GT3 R up on its tiptoes; sliding the rear slightly on braking, and getting back to power very early. Nevertheless, the GT3 R puts all of its power to the ground without fuss, whether it’s crossing over cambers or on a completely flat part of the course. It’s an incredibly capable, confidence-inspiring car that brings the best out of anyone in the seat, provided they have enough sense to treat it with some respect. Those guardrails do seem to jump out of nowhere, after all.

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OUR FAVORITE PORSCHES FOR SALE THIS WEEK: VOLUME 136

We’ve been compiling some amazing Porsche models on the internet for over five years now, and we’ve seen some pretty astonishing examples pop up now and again. This week the weather has been nice, so we’re looking to get out and hit the track day circuit. Here are a bunch of cars ready and willing to head for laps at your favorite circuit. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed our « curated » look at the Porsche market. Keep in mind, some of these Porsches could be great collection investments, while others might prove to do more financial harm than good.

INTERESTED IN HAVING YOUR PORSCHE FEATURED HERE?

Every other week, we feature 5 of our favorite Porsches for sale. That post is sent out to our mailing list of more than 17,000 Porsche owners and fans and is seen by tens of thousands of other readers who visit our site directly. If you’re selling a Porsche on eBay and would like to see it featured here, just shoot us an email with the details and we’ll be back in touch. Otherwise, feel free to check out all the other eBay listings we have on our Porsches for sale pages.

1. 2009 Porsche GT3 Cup For Sale

What could possibly go wrong with a decade old Porsche race car that has been driven hard its entire life? This one was recently given a thorough going-through with an engine, transmission, and suspension rehash just two operating hours ago. The great thing about a 997 GT3 Cup is that it is old enough to be not quite so expensive, and new enough that there are plenty of shops willing to work on it and set it up for you.

For more pictures, pricing and information, check out the full listing on eBay.

2. 1988 Porsche 928 S4 Track Car For Sale

You wouldn’t normally think of a 928 as being a good track car, but this one is completely set up for racing or track days with a nice solid roll cage built in. The limited slip differential and 5-speed manual make this a great starting point, and once you pull out a lot of the things that make a 928 exceedingly heavy, it might have the potential to perform pretty well on course. If for no other reason than it has a nice rowdy V8 under the hood.

For more pictures, pricing and information, check out the full listing on eBay.

3. 1997 Porsche 911 3.8 RSR For Sale

Back in the days of 993, the RSR was a track king. These days it’s a collector special, but it would be an absolute boss move to show up to your next HPDE event with a twenty-plus year old superstar. The last of the naturally-aspirated aircooled race car monsters, this RSR deserves to be set free on a race track once again. Be the hero to let it roam.

For more pictures, pricing and information, check out the full listing on eBay.

4. 2006 Porsche Cayman Track Car For Sale

For my money, a 987 Cayman that has received some moderate track preparation is the best place to start if you are addicted to Porsche and track time. For one thing, this car is among the most forgiving and capable chassis Porsche has ever built. It’s compliant and quick, and will instantly instill confidence. It rewards consistency, but won’t punish mistakes the same way the 993 above would. For another thing, spares are inexpensive and easy to come by.

For more pictures, pricing and information, check out the full listing on eBay.

5. 2011 Porsche Cayman Race Car For Sale

And if a Cayman track car is good, then a Cayman race car is even better. Prepared for the GX class at the 24 hours of Daytona, this Cayman features a 3.8-liter engine from an X51 Carrera GTS 997, producing a whopping 405 horsepower. The seller claims more than a quarter million was spent preparing this car, and based on the parts list I believe it. It placed second on the podium in the 2013 Daytona 24, and would serve you quite well at almost any race track. Go chase GT3s with this high powered Cayman.

For more pictures, pricing and information, check out the full listing on eBay.

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