The Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 has set the template for modern 911 race cars, so to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, Porsche has assembled World Racing champion Walter Röhrl, winner 24 Hour Le Mans winner, Timo Bernhard and a selection of classic 911s to recount the history of the Carrera RS 2.7 and its successors.
Published in 1972 as a homology special, Carrera RS 2.7 instantly recognizable thanks to the duck-tailed rear spoiler. This is the first production sports car to feature unusual details, including a duck tail and a smaller front spoiler. The ducktail eliminates aerodynamic lift, reduces drag and even improves engine cooling. It also became an iconic styling feature that is now back on 2023 Porsche 911 Sport Classic.
That familiar shape began as a simple panel held in place by a piece of wood. Protruding from the 911’s steep rear, wind tunnel testing showed it eliminated lift and generated downforce.
This is also the first time Porsche has used the Carrera name for a 911 (it had previously been used for the 356 variant in 1955). Porsche has brought the name, which means “race” in Spanish, back to denote the RS 2.7 as something special. That’s a bit ironic given that the Carrera name is now used for base 911 models.
Thinner sheet metal and glass, and lack of insulation, also made the Carrera RS 2.7 lighter than other 911 models at the time. It’s also faster, capable of 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds and a top speed of 149 mph.
Driving it to that speed is a 2.7-liter flat 6. It produces 210 horsepower that is sent to the rear wheels through a 5-speed manual transmission. The RS 2.7 was also the first 911 produced with a rear tire that was wider than the front tire, which improved traction.
Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7
Porsche hopes to include the RS 2.7 in the FIA Group 4 portfolio, which requires a production of 500 units to match. They sold out in just three months, so Porsche ended production of 1,580 units (including 200 light versions) during a production run that lasted until 1973. The Carrera RS 2.7 also had a successful career in the industry. racing and motorsports races, but were soon superseded by the 2.8 RS and RSR 3.0 racers, who also appear briefly in the video.
The RS 2.7 was followed by other heavy-duty 911 road cars, including 911 GT3 RS 4.0, also featured in the video. Unveiled in 2011 as a departure for the 997-generation 911 GT3, it featured a 4.0-liter inline-six producing 493 hp. While the RS 4.0 doesn’t have a small ducktail, it’s surrounded by a much larger rear wing — showing how spoilers have evolved over the decades.
The 2023 Porsche 911 GT3 RS continues the RS’s tradition of low weight and advanced aerodynamics. But its elaborate ductwork and vents, along with a Formula One-style adjustable wing with drag reduction system (DRS), make even the GT3 RS 4.0 look outdated. However, Porsche considers the GT3 RS to be a descendant of the Carrera RS, even launching a single version on the original car. green and white.