This year is a very important one for Porsche and its 911. Not only is the 911 celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2013, but the iconic sports car will also be competing under a works team in the 24 Hours of Le Mans this June, heralding Porsche’s official return to the prestigious race since its last assault back in 1998.

Making its launch over the weekend at Porsche’s research center in Weissach, Germany, the new 2013 Porsche 911 RSR race car, which the works team will be using, has been fully revealed.

Two of the cars will be fielded by Porsche together with Germany’s Team Manthey in the GTE class in the Le Mans endurance race as well as the World Endurance Championship this year.

Based on the latest Type 991 Porsche 911, the new 2013 Porsche 911 RSR builds on the strengths of the outgoing model but is enhanced significantly by way of lightweight design and sophisticated aerodynamics.

One of the priorities in the development of the new 911 RSR was the more evenly balanced weight distribution. The center of gravity is also significantly lower than that of its predecessor, while advanced materials including plenty of carbon fiber played a crucial role in the new design.

The front and rear mudguards, front and rear lids, doors, underbody, wheel arches, rear wing, dashboard and center console are constructed from the light yet sturdy material. Moreover, all windows are made of thin and very light polycarbonate.

In addition to a longer wheelbase and wishbone front suspension instead of the previous MacPherson struts, the 2013 911 RSR also benefits from a lightweight sequential gearbox that utilizes paddle shifters on the steering wheel.

Power comes from a naturally aspirated 4.0-liter flat-six engine that rates at 460 horsepower. The engine is an evolution of the previous unit, which Porsche tells us has been optimized for endurance racing.

The look of the race car is dominated by the flared mudguards and the deep cooling air intakes at the front. Porsche has utilized a quick-change concept for the design, which will allow for easier maintenance and shorter repair times. Many of the panels take just seconds to be replaced.

Finally, a special livery has been applied, celebrating the 911’s 50th anniversary. From a bird’s eye perspective, the numbers 50 and 911 are visible.

Among Porsche’s driver lineup are Richard Lietz, Patrick Pilet, Marc Lieb, Joerg Bergmeister, Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard. Actor Patrick Dempsey and his racing crew will also field a 911 RSR in the GTE-Am class at Le Mans.

The first port of call for the 2013 Porsche 911 RSR is the WEC season-opener, which takes place at the Silverstone Circuit in the UK on April 14. This year’s Le Mans race is scheduled for the weekend starting June 22.


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