Having won the 1970 and 1971 Le Mans 24 Hours and sports car championships with the short lived Porsche 917, Porsche had no suitable motor with which to compete in the top tear of sports car racing which mandated maximum displacement 3 litre / 183 cui motors, of which those designed for and adapted from Formula One dominated the overall honours from 1972 until 1975.
To meet the demand from customers running in the GT class Porsche embarked upon a programme of building RSR race cars based on the 911 shell for GT competition in 1973. Initially these cars came with a ‘duck tail’ and motors up to 2.8 litres to 178 cui. Peter Gregg and Hurley Haywood scored back to back overall victories at the Daytona 24 hours with this type of car in 1973 and 1975, and were joined by Dave Helmick in 1973 to win the Sebring 12 hours. Perhaps the single most famous victory for any RSR came on the epic Targa Florio where Herbert Müller and Gijs van Lennep won beating the 3 litre / 183 cui protoypes in the process.
By the end of 1973 the first RSR’s with 330hp 3 litre / 183 cui motors, coil springs replacing torsion bars, flared wheel arches housing wheels with centre locking nuts and ‘whale tales’ came onto the scene most notably in the first International Race of Champions (IROC) series. The first IROC series ran in the winter of ’73 and ’74 at Riverside and Daytona for which 12 identical Carrera 911 RSR 3.0’s, like the one seen in today’s photographs, were prepared for the likes of, Formula One champions; Emerson Fittipaldi and Denny Hulme, Indy 500 winners; Bobby Unser, AJ Foyt, Gordon Johncock and Mark Donohue, Can Am Champions; Peter Revson and George Follmer, NASCAR Champions; David Pearson, Bobby Allison and Richard Petty with USAC Champ Roger McKlusky. Mark Donohue won three of the series four races to become the first IROC Champion.
The RSR remained competitive in the Daytona and Sebring endurance classics until 1977. Haywood, John Graves and Helmick drove an RSR to victory at Daytona in ’77, with Al Holbert and Mike Keyser winning the ’76 race at Sebring then George Dyer and Brad Frissell repeating the feat in another RSR in ’77. In Europe Clemens Schickentanz is thought to have made over 75 starts with at least seven outright victories in RSR’s primarily for the Kremer Brothers.
In all 60 RSR 3.0’s were built by Porsche and many more 911’s have been upgraded to RSR spec since the models inception. RSR’s were still being raced regularly in front line competition into 1993 when an all new Carrera RSR was introduced with a 3.8 litre / 231 cui motor.
I do not have a history for the 1974 Martini liveried car featured today which, in the 2011 dated pictures, are seen at Castle Combe with Jeremy Cook and Mike Dowd who were taking part in the Tour Britannia, the 2012 and 2015 photo’s were taken at Silverstone Classic where Jeremy and Mike competed in the FIA Masters Historic Sports Car races, if you know anything more about this car please do not hesitate to chime in below.
Thanks for joining me on this “The Seriously Flared One” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !