Porsche has released pictures of its new GTE racing contender for 2017 season completing its first test run at the Weissach research facility in Germany.
The pictures reveal a significantly wider bodied car but are more interesting for what they don’t show and what the brief press release doesn’t say.
It’s been rumoured for some time the new generation Porsche GT racing model — for the GTE categories of the FIA World Endurance Championship at the GL-LM class of North America’s Weathertech Sports Car Championship — will be a mid-engined design.
The official pictures only show the car from the front, keeping any substantial changes around the rear of the car hidden for the moment. It’s also been rumoured the next Porsche GTE car will use a turbocharged engine.
The current 911 RSR follows the traditional Porsche 911 format with a rear engine and a 4.0-litre flat-six normally aspirated engine. Racing a mid-engined 911 would require either a limited production run or a homologation waiver from the FIA.
A similar waiver allows Ford to campaign the new GT in 2016 before the road-going car has entered production.
In the press release Porsche says the 2017 car is a completely new race car. Perhaps significantly it doesn’t directly refer to the car as a 911.
Porsche says that following the successful rollout test at Weissach the new car now begins the test phase on selected racetracks around the world.
At its first test runs at Weissach, the majority of the Porsche works drivers were able to get a first impression of the new 2017 GTE race car.
‘‘It is definitely unusual to put several drivers behind the wheel at a rollout,’’ said Marco Ujhasi, overall project manager GT Works Motorsport.
``But since all of our works drivers are involved in the development of the new car, the ones who could fit it into their schedules came to Weissach and turned a couple of laps.’’
The first outing of the RSR successor is planned for January 2017 at the 24-hour race at Daytona.
‘‘The race debut of a completely new vehicle at a 24-hour race is a big challenge. But we are right on schedule,’’ said the Head of Porsche Motorsport, Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser.