The forthcoming mid-engined Chevrolet Corvette may face some stiff competition from its old foe the Porsche 911. Speaking with Car and Driver at the Geneva auto show, Porsche’s GT model line director, Andreas Preuninger, revealed that a mid-engined variant of Porsche’s classic sports coupe is “absolutely” a possibility. Nevertheless, Preuninger was quick to note that such a vehicle is “not something that’s in the making at the moment.”
Although the 911 has traditionally been a rear-engined vehicle, Porsche has tinkered with the sports car’s engine location in the past. Porsche notably crafted the 911 GT1 road car in the mid-1990s, a mid-engined 911 model that served as a homologation special for the brand’s mid-engined race car. Today’s 911 RSR race car positions its engine between its axles because of racing series rules that both work against the 911’s standard engine location in terms of weight balance and are vague enough to allow for the powerplant to be moved. (They dictate that the engine must be in the same location as in the production car, but get no more specific, which means Porsche can say the engine is still behind the driver and be legal.) While Preuninger seemed hopeful that future rule changes could bring the German race car’s engine back to its rightful place aft of the rear wheels, he acknowledged that a street-legal, mid-engine 911 model is an open possibility if racing rules continue to advantage a mid-engine setup. (Or they’re made to be more specific, of course.)
More concrete is the return of the hard-hitting GT3 RS. Although Preuninger wouldn’t confirm the model to us, he acknowledged that “There has always been an RS version to [the] GT3, so . . . something like that could be in the making.”
Don’t expect the next GT3 RS to adopt the 2018 GT3’s six-speed manual transmission option, though. Because of the RS’s singular focus as a track car, Preuninger said he doesn’t believe a stick shift is necessary for Porsche models bearing the RS badge. The brand’s quick-shifting PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission is the preferred tool for those looking to shave every millisecond from a lap time.
Finally, Preuninger indicated that the updated 911 will not spawn an R limited-edition model, as its predecessor did. No surprise, really; the 911 R was really just created in reaction to customer resistance to the previous GT3’s PDK-only powertrain approach. With the manual transmission available in the new high-performance, big-winged 911 GT3, those customers can have a clutch pedal to scratch that particular itch.