In 1967, plans began to evolve for a 'factory' race version of the 911. While the 911S had enjoyed success in the hands of privateers and the occasional factory-backed competition effort, the 911R was to be an ultra-light weight version of the car that would improve Porsche's chances in competition.
The monocoque was made of the thinnest gauge steel possible, while fiberglass was used extensively replacing the fenders, front and rear deck lids and bumpers. The doors and deck lids all had aluminum hinges while the interior was stripped of all creature comforts - there were only three gauges in the car and seats were replaced with Scheel racing bucket seats. Side and rear windows were all replaced with Plexiglas and the floor boards were drilled and lightened. The result was a 911 that weighed 450 pounds less than its production equivalent.
All of the running gear was standard with the exception of larger brake calipers, wider wheels and tires, front and rear. The engine was very similar to the one used in the racing Carrera 6 (or 906) and put out 210 horsepower from its 2.0 liter 911S-based engine.
Twenty-two examples of the 911R were constructed, but they were never homologated by the factory. Three 911Rs were kept by Porsche and the other 19 cars were sold to selected privateers.
The 911R made its first race appearance in July of 1967. At the 500km race for sports cars at Mugello, Italy, the 911R, driven by future Porsche stars Vic Elford and Gijs van Lennep, finished third behind two factory backed Porsche 910s. The 911R's first win came in August of that year when, equipped with the Porsche 'Sportmatic' automatic transmission, it won the Marathon de la Route held at the Nurburgring. The car won the 86 hour long event, driven to victory by Hans Herrmann, Vic Elford and Jochen Neerpash.
With the focus of Weissach firmly on an overall victory at Le Mans, the 911R program was shelved due to a lack of resources. The car would, however, have many successes in the hands of privateers and two very important wins for the Porsche factory. In September of 1969, a factory prepared 911R driven by Gerard Larrousse and co-driven by Maurice Gelin won the Tour de France and in November won the Corsica Rally in Italy.Source - PorschePorsche created four prototype versions of its newly introduced Porsche 911 for the purpose of GT racing. They were introduced in the Spring of 1967 and dubbed the 911 R. Nearly every component of the 911 R was constructed of lightweight material resulting in an end-product that shed around 500 pounds than the standard 911. Fiberglass was used for the doors, bumpers, engine covers, and hood. All interior non-essential items were removed and those that remained were replaced with lightweight construction. The windows even received attention helping on the quest to shed every available pound possible. Outwardly, there was little to distinguish it from its 911 siblings. The flared wheel arches and smaller bumpers gave some signs that work had been done to the vehicle. An up-close view of the vehicle revealed even more such as plastic door hinges.
Porsche used the Type 901/22 engine from the Carrera 906 to power the 911R. Some of the cars were given mechanical Bosch fuel injection systems while others received Weber carburetors.
Homologation requirements kept Porsche from using the 911R in the Sports Car Class. Instead it was used in the competitive prototype class where it took many larger and more powerful vehicles such as Ford's Ferrari killer, the GT40. The 911R was given an opportunity to prove its potential and capabilities when it was entered by the factory with driver Gerard Larousse in the Tour de France. At the conclusion of the race, the Porsche 911R had captured an overall victory.
In total there were twenty examples created with four being prototypes. Though it never reached the goals the company had set, it did go along way in proving the capabilities of the 911. The 500 car requirement for homologation kept the Porsche 911R from competing in classes it may have won. Later, the company introduced the 911 2.0 T/R which qualified to compete in the GT class and continued the winning tradition of the legendary Porsche company. by Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2006
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