For the 1974 season, Porsche produced yet another evolution of the 911. Developed around the 3-litre RS homologation special, the 3-litre RSR which would become the most successful Group 4 car of its era. In its early years, the RSR swept all before it in IMSA, Trans Am and the FIA World Championship, production beginning in late 1973. Just 50 cars would be built and they were only to be supplied to the top teams of the day, teams like George Loos’ “GELO” or Jean Blaton’s “Ecurie Francorchamps”
They were equipped with Typ 911/75 engines featuring high-lift camshafts, Bosch slide injection and twin-plug ignition. There was also a large capacity dry sump oil tank and dual megaphone exhaust from the 2.8 RSR. Displacement remained unchanged from the RS at 2992cc but the compression was upped from 9.8 to 10:3.1, the result having been 330bhp at 8000rpm.
Visually the 3-litre RSR was enhanced with special five-spoke centre-locking 15-inch wheels, these having been 10.5-inches wide at the front and a massive 14-inches at the back. Ultra-light glass-fibre panels were used for the ventilated wheel arch extensions, bumpers, front lid, engine cover and rear spoiler. Weighing in at a mere 900kg, the RSR was obviously a very quick car, in excess of 170mph having been possible while 0-60 took less than five seconds. For two years the RSR swept all competition aside, providing Porsche with its most successful customer racing car.
Owing to their success, many of these 50 cars had very long racing careers, some were upgraded to 934 or 935 Spec and a great number were crashed or re-shelled. Very few cars still remain in unmolested with so many have been re-shelled over the years, fewer still retain their original “matching-numbers” engines.
This RSR chassis #9072 was ordered new for the famous Belgian Ecurie Francorchamps Racing Team, Jean Blaton aka ‘Beurlys’. Ecurie Francorchamps which had been known as Equipe National Belge had been founded by the legendary Jacques Swaters in the 1950s and had great success at the very highest level of Sports car racing including winning the 2 Litre Class at Le Mans in 1957 with DK’s own Ferrari 500 TRC. In 1973 the Team returned to Le Mans with the yellow Competizione Daytona (#16425) but for 1974 drivers Richard Bond, Hughes de Fierlandt and Patron “Beurlys” would be driving the brand new 3 Litre RSR Porsche – undoubtedly the dominant car in long distance endurance racing.
This RSR was delivered shortly before the Le Mans event and presented in, of course, light yellow, as per the car’s Porsche factory build sheets. She was adorned with sponsors logos and a number of additional lights to help distinguish the car from the other RSRs at the dead of night.
At the 1974 Le Mans 24 the car qualified well and started even better, by nightfall they were 3rd in Class and in the top ten overall Classification and by half distance they were sat 2nd in class and 7th overall following the RSR of Jurgen Barth. Devastatingly in the 19th hour a clutch failure ended the Belgian team’s race and the car was withdrawn from 7th Overall and 2nd in Class.
A few months later Richard Bond and fellow Englishman, Nick Faure, would contest the British round of the World Sportscar Championship, the 1000kms of Brands Hatch. Disappointingly gearbox trouble ended proceedings again.
In 1975 the car attracted sponsorship from Harley Davidson and accordingly the car was painted in the famous stars and stripes livery. Driven by the young up and coming British Journalist Nick Faure, John Charles Cooper and Jean Blaton, the car finished an impressive 2nd In Class and 6th overall.
Following this she was sold almost immediately to Annie-Charlotte Verney, the most decorated ever female driver at Le Mans, in this new ownership the car would go on to many further successes including another 2nd in Class at the 1977 Le Mans and a First in Class at the 1978 Le Mans. At the same time the car had also competed and the legendary Tour de France and had taken the honours in winning the French GT Championship. At the end of 1979 the car was sold. It passed through two further owners, the latter retaining the car in the private museum of one of the leading experts on RSR Porsches – still with its matching numbers engine.
After its time in the museum, the car changed hands once more in 2006, sold to two brothers based in the UK who continued the cars illustrious racing history with multiple appearances at Le Mans Classic and by winning the CER championship in 2013 with the car returned to its Harley Davidson livery. The car retired from racing in around 2016.
DK Engineering have since managed the restoration of this incredibly important and remarkably original Porsche. During the latter half of 2021 the car was delivered to historic Porsche experts Tuthill in Oxfordshire, the car was stripped to a bare shell and the cars racing engine removed and dismantled. Only in its most fully dismantled state can an RSR’s chassis be truly inspected and confirmed as original. Once dismantled forensic investigation into the RSR’s chassis construction could begin with the Tuthill team alongside X-Ray-expert Mark Waring and under the direction of Andy Prill. Every number on the car has been examined and X-Ray’d including the engine number on the original crank case. Nothing on the car was found to be suspicious and it was declared that not only does 9072 retain its original shell (still wearing various dents and scars from its racing exploits) but that the crank case can also be deemed to be the original matching Numbers item – corroborating previous inspections by other notable Porsche experts. An incredibly rare situation in a car with such rich competition history.
Over the course of the following 12 months #9072 has undergone a highly detailed restoration to its original 1974 specification as per its first race - the 1974 Le Mans. With a car with such a rich history it is always a difficult choice as to which specification to restore the car, but in going to its original specification the door is left open in later years to carry out the very simple modifications to 1975 or even later specification. This restoration has been carried out by Tuthill Porsche but guided by Andy Prill and of course the DK Team who between them have an enviable history of award winning restorations at the highest level. Strong emphasis has been placed on historical accuracy and the extra length has been taken to ensure details such the cars long range fuel tank are correct down the finest detail. It is details such as these that mean the finished product will sit head and shoulders above any other RSR by comparison. But whilst this total restoration has focussed heavily on show-level detail, this is a racing car and should be driven … Hard. So at the same time all of the cars mechanical running gear has been stripped and completely overhauled, the original engine has been built up and is now once more fitted. As testament to this, the RSR saw its public debut in August in Monterey, California where the carwas shown on the concours lawn at "The Quail, a Motorsorts Gathering" but also used in earnest on the 3 day Quail Rally - a true shake down! Additionally the car was also invited to the track at Laguna Seca as part of an display of important Le Mans Class Winners, a wonderful event and the largest gathering of Le Mans Class Winners ever assmebled in the USA - a fitting way to mark the 100th anniversary of the Le Mans 24 Hours.
In many ways the 3.0 RSR has long been overlooked for its significance in the history of the 911 and also in the history of GT racing, especially at Le Mans. #9072 represents the very finest example of just 50 RSRs built and now deservedly restored to the highest level. This significant Porsche is a true multi-purpose tool equally as suited to use at shows and concours, on rallies and tours, simply on the road or even a return to competitive racing. At any of the world’s greatest car events, from Le Mans Classic to Pebble Beach this car would be gladly accepted.