With a new racecar based on the new, seventh-generation Porsche 911 (type 991) street car on the horizon, Porsche Motorsport confirmed Friday that it will wind down its development program for the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (type 997), which has raced successfully in the American Le Mans Series since 2005.
In making the announcement, Hartmut Kristen, head of Porsche Motorsport worldwide, explained that the current 911 racecar will reach the end of its product cycle, and, while support will continue for customer teams, further new component development will be discontinued in favor of resources devoted to the all-new car.
“Just like our recent Porsche RS Spyder program, we must appreciate the success of our racecars during their product cycle, but move on to new models when it is time to do so. The venerable Porsche 911 GT3 RSR has provided our Porsche customer teams with numerous wins and championships, and will remain competitive in 2013. Porsche will support the customer teams which continue to race that car, but the time has come and we now must focus our research and engineering development efforts on its successor,” said Kristen. “The new Porsche 911 GT3 RSR is slated to make its North American debut in 2014,” said Kristen.
In North America, the development partner helping to design, engineer and implement improvements in the current 911 RSR racecar has been Flying Lizard Motorsports in the GT class of the ALMS. This partnership now is discontinued.
“I and the entire Flying Lizard family would like to thank Porsche for their support and partnership over the last nine years,” said Seth Neiman, Flying Lizard team principal. “Together we have worked hard and have learned to rely on each other in critical moments, of which there have been many throughout our 100 races and multiple GT championships. Jorg Bergmeister, Patrick Long, Hartmut Kristen, Jens Walther, Uwe Brettel, Alwin Springer, Roland Kussmaul, Hans-Georg Breuer and many others at Porsche get our special thanks, along with the numerous Porsche employees and affiliates in Germany, Atlanta and Southern California who have been an integral part of our team, and with whom we have become close friends. Flying Lizard remains committed to sports car racing, and we look forward to announcing details of our 2013 racing program later this year.”
Walther, president of Porsche Motorsport North America, reiterated that customer teams still wishing to run the current 911 racecar will be able to continue to do so in the American Le Mans Series with full at-the-track engineering and parts support. PMNA shop service from Porsche will also continue in 2013.
“We will be at the track with our usual support for 2013, and some of our current customer teams have already committed to run the 911 GT3 RSR (type 997) next year. Each of the current teams will be announcing their plans as we get closer to the ALMS Winter Test in February,” he said.
Following Porsche's announcement, American Le Mans Series President and CEO Scott Atherton said, “Today's announcement by Porsche that it will concentrate its development resources on the new 911 GT3 RSR based on the type 991 street car is a normal and – candidly – expected part of this sport. Indeed, we are always pleased to see our OEM partners move forward in developing their latest series production models for racing. That development is a big part of what our fans come out to see. That has been the case previously with Porsche, and it's been typical with the GT racecars from our other OEM partners as well.
“Porsche's support for endurance sports car GT racing is unflagging, and we are grateful for its constant development. The race wins and championships achieved by the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Type 997 are many, and we look forward to similar achievements from customers running the car next year – with of course the same level of customer support for which Porsche is known. In the same vein, we eagerly await the debut of the new 911 racecar in the unified sports car championship starting in 2014. From the ALMS' beginning in 1999, Porsche has been a stalwart supporter, and we believe it will continue well into the future.
“We're grateful for Flying Lizard Motorsports' many years of thrilling ALMS fans, highlighted by the team's two GT championships and 100 races in ALMS competition. We expect to hear more from Seth Neiman and his team in the near future.”