With a lifespan of over 50 years, the Porsche 911 has evolved arguably more than any other car model out there. By following the evolution of the 911 you get a clear picture of how racing has evolved, and how Porsche has evolved in general. 911’s are still around today and they have been being produced in one variation or another since 1963. From their original inception they have been modified to use in various races by both Porsche teams and private teams as well.
Porsche continually works to improve upon past models of their vehicles, and they have always fought to stay on the forefront of car technology. All of the successes that the 911 cars have had in racing proves that Porsche values innovation, and creating the best possible product, after all private teams line up to buy cars from Porsche that they will use to win some of the most competitive races on the planet.
The Early Years
The very first 911 was created as a power upgrade to the original Porsche 356. The basic idea of the car was a sports car version of the Beetle. The original 911 was innovative at the time because its engine was mounted in the rear of the car and it was air-cooled for improved performance. The flat-6 engine was in the “boxer” configuration just like the Porsche 356, but it had 6 cylinders instead of 4. This initial 911 only had 120 horsepower, but that didn't people from racing it, and it was seen as a powerhouse of the day.
The 911 in Racing
The Porsche 911 has always been thought of as a race car that is also a consumer product. Many of the adjustments that were made to the 911 were due to racing restrictions that required the car to be changed around, and others were due to technological advancements that were incorporated into newer models.
The 911 Carrera RSR 3.0 was sold off to several different racing teams throughout the 1970’s and those cars were used to win several racing events. These vehicles were able to take home the victory in the Targa Florio, and the Daytona, Sebring and Nurburgring racing events.
The RSR Turbo Prototype
The RSR Turbo prototype nearly took first place at the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race in 1974 but they ended up in second place. This same prototype was used to win many of the other major races throughout the year as well.
The 911 GT1 was developed in 1996 in order to be able to compete in the GT1 Le Mans class. This car is thought to be one of the most powerful road-racing Porsches ever created. It has a total 700 horsepower, can go from 0 to 60 in 3.3 seconds and tops out at 235 mph. The engine utilizes twin-turbo charging in order to create its immense power. This same model won Le Mans in 1998 in an impressive display of power. In order for the car to be entered, there had to be a minimum of 25 of the cars created, so Porsche had 25 created and entered into the race.
After being tested out by one of the official Porsche racing teams, most of the 911 models are sold to private consumers who often use them in races themselves. Many of the victories using Porsche 911 models were achieved by private teams who bought the vehicles off of Porsche after the initial trial period.