Ascott Collection is offering this amazing Porsche 997 GT3 RSR for sale. Winner of the Endurance Racing Legends GT2B Championship in 2020. Class victory in the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans support race. Prepared and maintained by Porsche Tours. The car’s engine has just been overhauled by Porsche. Interesting set of parts to race. A well-documented and accident-free racing history.
With a win in its first outing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 997 RSR made its mark on GT2 racing right from the start, and became a real benchmark car. 75 of the cars were produced in all, including the different upgrades (the original 2007 version, then the “Evos” of 2008, 2011 and 2013). The 997 RSR was the successor to the 996 RSR, and clearly paved the way for today’s even more radical Porsche GTs, such as the 911 RSR_19 and GT3-Rs. Ascott Collection is now offering chassis N° WP0ZZZ99Z7S799917 for sale, one of the first to be entered in 2007 by a French team. The car has a well-documented racing history and is highly competitive in historic races: in 2020 it won the GT2B Endurance Racing Legends Championship by Peter Auto and currently leads this year’s championship.
The 997 GT3 RSR – Porsche’s riposte to Ferrari’s power grab
Faced with this stiff competition from Ferrari and its F430 GTC in 2006, Porsche needed to react. The 996 RSRs were finding it difficult to compete as they were at the end of their development cycle. Consequently, 2007 saw the appearance of a new generation of Porsche GTs. The time had come to offer a competition version of the 997, which had been for sale in the Porsche dealerships’ showrooms since 2004!
The 997 RSR made its debut in GT2 racing in 2007, before becoming one of the leaders in the GTE category from 2011. The 2007 season saw the brand-new 997 RSR make its debut at the 12 Hours of Sebring. No less than seven of the cars were present (with the Flying Lizard Motorsports, Rahal Letterman Racing, Tafel Racing, Team Trans Sport Racing and FarnbacherLoles Motorsports teams). In parallel with their enthusiastic participation in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), the 997 RSRs were also entered in the FIA GT and the Le Mans Series. Teams loyal to Porsche and private firms that had not yet raced with the RSRs were turning to the German machine. And success was not long in coming.
One 997 won the 2007 24 Hours of Le Mans in the GT2 category (with the IMSA Matmut team), giving the car its first major success on the international scene. Barely three months after its racing debut, it put up a remarkable performance to beat Ferrari and its F430 GTC, which was still the benchmark car of the time. Team Felbermayr-Proton won again at Le Mans in 2010, before the IMSA Performance Matmut team won for the last time in 2013 in the LMGTE Am class (with Raymond Narac/Jean-Karl Vernay/Christophe Bourret). The very last 997 seen at Le Mans competed in 2015. This marked nine years of presence there, an exceptionally long stretch.
The 997 RSR was built on a lightweight, widened chassis (based on the second generation of the 911 GT3 RS) using carbon parts with a welded roll bar. Carbon fibre and kevlar were used everywhere, from the front bumper panels and spoiler, wings and wheel arch liners to the widened side skirts. Weighing in at 1220 kg, the Porsche was fitted with a 3.8-litre engine developing 470 horsepower. The 997 GT3 RSR was upgraded in 2009, giving it a distinctive appearance compared with the earlier models. The car was easily identifiable by its new front end with large openings for cooling and ventilation ducts on the front bonnet. Its aerodynamics were improved and the engine size was increased to 4.0 litres.
A well-documented and accident-free racing history
One of the leaders since the launch of the Le Mans Series in the LM GT category, Thierry Perrier and his Perspective Racing firm, decided to stay with Porsche in 2007. But the 996-RSR they had previously raced was put back in the garage. Like all the other competitors, the Frenchman had to switch to a new 997 GT3-RSR. So he ordered a car from the Porsche works before the 2006-2007 winter. Of the 35 cars produced by the factory, Thierry Perrier received chassis N° WP0ZZZ99Z7S799917. Far from being a coincidence, this chassis was selected by the director/driver because it ended with 917, a truly inspirational number in the world of Porsches.
The car’s first race was at Monza. While the 1,000-kilometre race was won by the debutant Peugeot 908, the RSR in blue, yellow and white finished 24th. Anthony Beltoise, Philippe Hesnault and Nigel Smith took turns at the wheel. In the next race, at Valence, a transmission problem prevented the Porsche # 92 (a number chosen with reference to the Hauts de Seine department) from finishing the race. At the 1,000 kilometres of the Nürburgring, the car finished in 34th place overall. After a good qualifying session, Anthony Beltoise damaged his tyres on first braking due to a poorly adjusted brake balance. After the pit-stop, he started off again last but climbed halfway back up the rankings. Philippe Hesnault and Nigel Smith did a series of solid stints to finally finish in 8th place in the GT2 category. Then came a 28th place at Silverstone with Rob Barff and Pedro Névoa supporting Philippe Hesnault. Finally, the last race of the season, at Interlagos, saw Philippe Hesnault, John Hartshorne, Rob Barff and Thierry Perrier himself taking turns at the wheel.
The car was no longer entered for racing after that, except for an official test session on the Bugatti circuit in April 2009. For the occasion, 917 received the engine upgrade of the new model, being fitted with the new 4.0-litre engine. With the economic crisis raging and the 24 Hours of Le Mans Test Day being cancelled, a day was organized on the “small” Le Mans circuit for the Le Mans Series teams who wished to participate. The car was there to help Philippe Hesnault and Darryl O’Young prepare for their entry in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Thierry Perrier was in charge of technical support for the Endurance Asia Team’s Porsche 997 RSR # 75, the first car to take part under Chinese colours. While the idea was originally to enter chassis N° WP0ZZZ99Z7S799917 at the start of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, this was ruled out by the regulations, which required an air conditioning system to be installed. So, Thierry Perrier turned to Christian Ried’s Proton Competition team and instead it was chassis N° WP0ZZZ99Z7S799918 that was entered for Le Mans. WP0ZZZ99Z7S799917 was also present at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but in a tent, close to the team’s hospitality area. The two chassis are thus closely related.
This is the reason why the current owner of WP0ZZZ99Z7S799917 decided to pay a tribute to this period by evoking the characteristic livery of the RSR seen at Le Mans in 2009 on the WP0ZZZ99Z7S799918. It had been painted red for the occasion with a stylized dragon evoking Chinese culture. It is this dragon in the form of a sticker on the white paint of the 917 which now calls to mind its sister car that was entered at Le Mans.
A planned participation in the Asian Le Mans Series with chassis 917 was announced at Le Mans, but was ultimately called off.
- 04/15/2007 – Monza – Le Mans Series – 24th Anthony Beltoise/Philippe Hesnault/Nigel Smith (N° 92)
- 05/06/2007 – Valence – Le Mans Series – 31st Anthony Beltoise/Philippe Hesnault/Nigel Smith (N° 92)
- 07/01/2007 – Nürburgring – Le Mans Series – 34th Anthony Beltoise/Philippe Hesnault/Nigel Smith (N° 92)
- 07/01/2007 – Silverstone – Le Mans Series – 28th Philippe Hesnault/Rob Barff/Pedro Névoa (N° 92)
- 07/01/2007 – Interlagos – Le Mans Series – unranked Philippe Hesnault/John Hartshorne/Rob Barff/Thierry Perrier (N° 92)
- 04/26/2009 – Le Mans – Le Mans Series – 15th Philippe Hesnault/Darryl O’Young (N° 75)
A winning return to the track with numerous victories since 2020
After being acquired by its current owner in early 2020, the 917 was prepared to the highest level with a clear goal: to win the GT2B Endurance Racing Legends Championship by Peter Auto. This ambitious goal was achieved in the first year. In 2021, it is again leading the Championship and chalked up a class win in the first 24 Hours of Le Mans support race.
This offer is particularly advantageous because not only is the car capable of winning its category, but the package that comes with it is unique. The car is being sold with its own engine that has been overhauled by Porsche together with a second engine, also overhauled by Porsche. Both engines will therefore be at 100% of their potential. The car, which has enjoyed meticulous maintenance by the Porsche Centre in Tours, is therefore being sold in a fully overhauled state. A batch of interesting parts also comes with this 997 GT3 RSR.
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