Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7

A sports legend

The first 911 to receive the "Carrera" label, the RS 2.7 of 1972 remains one of the most prestigious models of the Porsche brand, representing for many THE sports car par excellence.

Dans l’évocation cinématographique de cette course prestigieuse, la réalité et la fiction se croisent sans cesse et les séquences réalisées à bord d’une voiture qui a réellement participé à la course apportent vraiment un réalisme incomparable à l’histoire qui est racontée à l’écran. Une impression renforcée par le fait que Steve McQueen, qui interprète le héros du film, est un pilote chevronné et talentueux.

The Porsche Carrera RS dominated the GT Championships from 1973 to 1975.  © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo © Dominique Pascal / Archives & Collections

Eight years after its launch, the Porsche 911 was presented in Carrera RS version at the 1972 Paris Motor Show. This new version caused a stir with the public. So much so that Sonauto, the official importer of the brand in France, recorded on the first day of the show more than 50 orders of this model! Produced in a very limited number for only three years, this car soon became a legendary sports car of the Stuttgart brand.

The 911 Carrera RS 2.7 is a perfect continuation of the vision of Ferry Porsche, the brand's founder, who wanted his cars to express "driving in its purest form". This model is considered the most iconic of all production Porsches, immediately recognizable by its two-tone livery and its famous ducktail rear spoiler. Perfectly combining lightness and power, it was designed for competition according to homologation requirements. The racing theme is clearly expressed in the name: Carrera refers to the glory that Porsche cars achieved in the famous Carrera Panamericana in Mexico from 1952 to 1954, while the RS stands for Rennsport (German for racing).

The Carrera RS 2.7 is the last Porsche 911 to use the F-type chassis. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo © Dominique Pascal / Archives & Collections

An upgraded 911 S

The Carrera RS 2.7 is a logical evolution of the 911 S 2 Litre (160 hp) launched in 1966, which at the time represented the top end of this model range. The displacement of this version increased regularly, as did the power output: 2,195 cm3 and 180 hp in 1969, then 2,341 cm3 and 190 hp in 1971. A change in regulations provides new opportunities for the 911 Carrera RS. From the 1972 season, the International Sporting Commission imposed a limit of 3 litres on the engine capacity of cars in the Sports and Prototypes category in the World Championship.

This marked the end of the career of the Porsche 917 and its main rival, the Ferrari 512. Porsche decided to adapt its 5-litre 917 to Can Am racing, but at the same time did not want to abandon European racing. The Stuttgart-based brand considered entering the European Touring Car Championship, which at the time had no engine capacity limit. 

The only problem, however, was that the 2,500 cm3 class in which the 2.4 liter 911 S was to appear offered few development prospects. Porsche engineers solved this problem by increasing the displacement of the six-cylinder flat engine to 2,687 cm3 simply by increasing the bore by 6 mm. 

The other constraint is that in order to be homologated in Group 4 (GT) this new 911 Carrera RS 2.7 must be built in at least 500 units, which was done in November 1972.

The Carrera RS designed for racing with a spartan interior devoid of any sound insulation. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo © Dominique Pascal / Archives & Collections

Exclusively for racing

The Carrera RS 2.7 is a racing version of the 911 S, that was developed at Porsche by engineer Helmuth Bott's team. In order to save around 100 kilograms, most of the interior trim (carpets, upholstery and various fillings) was removed, as were the rear seats, the glove box and the retractable seat belt. The bodywork includes thinner sheet metal parts, as do the Glaverbel® lightweight glass windows. In the same spirit, many elements such as the bumpers, the rear bonnet with its ducktail spoiler and the 85-litre fuel tank were made of polyester. In addition, the front and rear axles were reinforced, while ventilated brake discs from the 917 and gas shocks were adopted. When the car was assembled, the customer could select his model à la carte, choosing between a Sport (type M 471), Touring (type M 472) or Racing (RSR) version.

The 1978 911 SC "Safari" was prepared for African rallies as a continuation of the Carrera 2.7 of the same name. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo © Porsche

The Carrera RSR

Between 1972 and 1974, 1,590 Carrera RS 2.7s were produced of which only 49 entered the competition. In the latter year, a special series of 109 Carrera RS with a 315 hp 3-litre engine was also produced. In the RSR, the engine block was retained as before, but with a re-bore increasing the displacement to 2,806 cc (bore x stroke: 92 x 70.4 mm) with a power output of 300 hp at 8,000 rpm. Externally, the RSR is distinguished by wider fenders (35 mm wider track), that allow the fitting of larger wheels (9 and 11 inches instead of 6 for the RS), as well as a front spoiler and a specific rear spoiler. The Carrera 2.8 RSR was homologated in Group IV of the FIA regulations. From 1973, the 911 Carrera RSR 2.8 won major events such as the 24 Hours of Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring and the Targa Florio.

Technical specification

Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 (1973)

• Engine: Type 911/83, 6 opposed flat cylinders, rear overhang 

Displacement: 2,687 cm3

Bore x stroke: 90 mm x 70.4 mm

Power: 210 hp at 6,300 rpm

Fuel supply: Bosch mechanical injection

Ignition: coil and distributor

Distribution: 1 overhead camshaft per bench,  2 valves per cylinder

Transmission: Type 915, rear wheels, 5 gears + M.A.

Tires: 185/70 VR 15 (front) 215/60 VR 15 (rear)

Brakes: ventilated discs (front and rear) ATE

Length: 410.2 cm

Width: 165.2 cm

Height: 132 cm

Wheelbase: 227.1 cm

Front track: 137.2 cm

Rear track: 136.8 cm

Weight (empty): 960 kg (Lightweight version)

Maximum speed:  245 kph

The Carrera RS at Le Mans

The 911 Carrera RS was the ideal sports car of its time: affordable for amateur drivers while at the same time competing with the cars of professional drivers. The RS 2.8 version was entered only once in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in 1973. That year, nine Carrera RS models were lined up in the Grand Touring Special category, as well as two RSR 3 Litres in the Sport category. 

No. 45 of the Porsche Kremer Racing Team, driven by Paul Keller, Erwin Kremer and Clemens Schickentanz, was best classified RS as it finished eighth overall, second in GTS and also the Energy Efficiency Index. 

The best RSR, No 46 of Martini Racing driven by the Müller-Van Lennep team, finished fourth overall.

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