Rennsport: A Porsche 911 history
Born from the necessity to take the Porsche 911 racing in a production homologated class, the original Porsche 911 Carrera RS was released as a 2.7-litre model in 1972 with the creation of 17 ‘RSH’ homologation cars.
By the end of 1973, the popularity of this lightweight 911 had led to a total of 1,580 Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 RSs being built (1,308 of which were in the heavier Touring specification) firmly cementing the Rennsport legend at the first attempt.
The following year, a new 911 Carrera RS was released sharing even more DNA with the race-bred RSR. The 3.0-litre RS gained the short-nose, impact bumper body shell and whale tail rear wing replaced the iconic duck tail but production was limited to just 56 cars.
After production of the 1974 911 Carrera RS was curtailed, Rennsport fans had to wait another 17 years for the next instalment in the lightweight legacy. However, when it arrived they were like London buses.
First came the 3.6-litre 964 RS in 1991, a car true to the original Rennsport’s roots with a minimal power boost but ample weight saving and a more focussed suspension setup. Yet, just two years later, this was usurped by a 3.8-litre version featuring the wild Turbo bodyshell and 18-inch Speedline alloys.
The last air-cooled Carrera RS would arrive on the market in 993 guise, as the 1995 911 Carrera RS thrilled with its raw driving experience and head-turning looks, yet the arrival of water-cooling wasn’t going to kill off the Rennsport.
Instead, nearly a decade after the 993 Carrera RS, the Carrera moniker was replaced with ‘GT3’, the result being the 996 GT3 RS, a car whose colour scheme (white with red or blue) had more than one nod to its illustrious forebears.
From then on, the 911 GT3 RS would be updated with each passing generation yet, no matter the aesthetic changes, one thing remained constant from 996 to 997 Gen2: the legendary Mezger engine (even finding its way as a base in the turbocharged 997 GT2 RS).
The technological zenith was the limited edition 997 GT3 RS 4.0, a car which, despite its relative youth, has already attained classic status thanks to its likely place as the last manual gearboxed Rennsport. Despite this, we await the 991 variant with bated breath.