Nine-One-One for Fun

1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 2.8

Finding your favourite Porsche 911 in Project CARS 3 isn’t just about the performance, looks, or track prowess: the “everyman” sportscar is about generations. The Porsche ads of old often played to this key ingredient (“Starting from a ‘clean sheet of paper’ is fine if you have nothing worth keeping”), and as the years roll on, the Porsche 911 experience just keeps getting better and better.

The 911 is part of our culture, a shorthand sign that just needs to appear in a movie or book for the audience to understand the backstory—a hint that goes all the way to the iconic shape of the G-Series from the mid-’70s and on to today’s new generation of road-eating sportscars.

There have only been eight evolutions to the Porsche 911 in almost 60 years (the first 911 will turn 60 in 2023), but with every successive generation you can still find the subtle echoes of the past. And that’s what makes the 911 so special: It’s a car that has become part of our family, instantly recognizable and rousing the same kind of raw emotions in kids in 2020 as it did for kids in 1970.

In Project CARS 3, you can find a few important samples of the 911 experience, starting with the car that, for many, defined what a racing 911 should be all about.

1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 2.8

1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 2.8

For people of a certain vintage, the Neunelfer perfected its own legend right here—with a shape stamped in perfection. You can follow the background to the construction of this racer that would dominate GT racing in Project CARS 3, too, if you want.

It starts with the end of the Porsche 917 and 908 (both in Project CARS 3) that were made obsolete at the end of the ’72 season by new regs. The 917, though, that had taken Porsche to its first-ever overall victory at the world’s most important 24 Hour race, would go on to even greater heights when it was chopped-up and sent over to the US to compete in the Can-Am series where, turbocharged, it would become the now mythical Porsche 917/10 (also in Project CARS 3)—an absolute beast that weighed about 800kgs and pushed 1,200hp!

Meanwhile, back in Europe, Porsche needed a new challenge, and found the ideal series in the Group 4 European GT Championship. Stock, the-then latest road-going Porsche 911 S was nowhere near the Ferrari 365 GTB “Daytona” (also in Project CARS 3) that would be their main competition, neither in terms of handling nor power, but that was the point of the challenge: to make the 911 the face of Porsche’s racing prowess.

A new road-going car based on the 911 S was the solution, and that would require a production run of 500 cars for homologation. The new car would feature a bigger engine (2.4L to 2.7L) with a lot more power, fatter rear tyres (this would be the world’s first road car with wider tyres at the rear than the front), weight saving (everything was stripped out including the rear seats, padding, insulation, and even door handles), super-sexy bulging fenders, fiberglass, and a new “duck-tail” rear spoiler sitting on top of the engine (a first for a road-going car).

1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 2.8

To finish it off, Porsche would stencil “Carrera” on the doors and send their new creation off to the Paris Auto Show in 1972, fully expecting not to sell a lot of these stripped to the bone road-going racers.

After 6 days in Paris, Porsche HQ got a call from the Auto Show: all 500 projected models (needed for homologation) had already been sold. Astonished, Porsche quickly upped the price by another eight hundred dollars or so (about four grand in today’s money), and promptly found they’d sold another 1,000 units almost overnight!  

With the 500 cars sold, Porsche got to work on the race version that you’ll find in Project CARS 3. The engine was bored out to 2.8L and horsepower upped to a whopping 310hp … in a car that weighed less than a 1,000kgs.

The car debuted at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1973. It finished first. Then it went on to Sebring for the 12 Hours and did the same, but this time it didn’t just win—it dominated.

By the end of the season, the agility, pace, power, and sheer beauty of the 2.8 Carrera RSR had secured Porsche the championship in its first-ever season, and the reputation and status of the 911 forever.

To this day, one of the most popular cars in vintage racing around the globe is the Porsche 2.8 Carrera RSR. Not a surprise: Just one look at that silhouette is all you need to fall in love.

2017 Porsche 911 RSR

2017 Porsche 911 RSR

In many ways the spiritual heir to the 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 2.8, Porsche themselves describe this naturally aspirated 4L racer as the result of “passion, spirit of engineering, tradition and craftsmanship.”

This is one of the most uncompromising GT endurance cars Porsche had ever built, and for a manufacturer that owns sportscar and endurance racing, that’s quite a claim. Over 500hp on tap and built to race on every continent across a host of varying GT rules, this single-seater racer debuted for the 2017 season and did what racing 911s always do—it won. And just kept winning.

Running from 2017 to the end of the 2019 season with factory backing, it won its debut race at the 24 Hours of Daytona and went on to score 10 wins and 15 podiums from 33 race starts in the US alone on the way to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Series (in Europe, it added the FIA World Endurance Championship, as well).

2017 Porsche 911 RSR

Add in a few 24-Hour wins as well with that pink retro livery that made every Porsche fan swallow their nostalgic tears, and what you have here is one of the most important racing Porsche 911s in history (and the first to see the engine moved ahead of the rear axle to allow a massive diffuser at the backend).

2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS and R

The Porsche 911 GT3 RS is simply epic. Start at the rear with that dinner-table front wing sitting on a rear-wheel driven, naturally aspirated 4L pushing 500hp with a redline at an absolutely screaming 8,800RPM (peak power is found at 8,250RPM though, if you’re counting!); then consider the handling: There are motor magazines that claim a 38/62 front-to-rear weight balance, and that’s what makes this thing so very special through the twisties. Then listen to the noise—that unmistakable non-turbo flat 6 on a track-ready chassis.

The Porsche 911 GT3 R, meanwhile, is the racing variant of the Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Which effectively means, same engine, same looks…but everything else has been crafted for GT3 racing.

This racer was sold to racing clients and it scored its first win in the IMSA SportsCar Championship at Laguna Seca in May of 2016, after debuting at that season’s Daytona 24 Hours.

One of life’s great thrills is to sit in the cockpit and listen to that engine note on full pitch.

2019 Porsche 911 Carrera S (992)

2019 Porsche 911 Carrera S (992)

The all-new Porsche 911 Carrera—iconic, timeless, and seriously quick. This is the 8th generation of the Porsche 911, and it remains the everyman supercar. There’s something that always appears so benign about the Porsche 911 with its backseats and its recognizable shape, like an old friend who never seems to age. And then you look deeper and find that twin-turbo 3L flat-6 good for 440hp, and the fat torque through the rev-range, and the sublime handling of this gen’ of Porsche 911.

That engine at the back of the 911 will always provide for remarkable driving emotions, and it’s an experience that only Porsche has been able to harness through the years. It’s been almost sixty years that they’ve been working on perfecting that layout, both on the track and the road. And you can feel it too, because a 911 at full chuck is just one of those flawless driving experiences.   

So what’s your favourite Porsche 911?

2019 Porsche 911 Carrera S (992)