Alfred's Motor Report
Short bits and bytes from motoring's past, present and future
1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 2.8
"A Porsche You Can Stare At For Hours..."
After dominating the newly introduced European GT Championship in 1972 with its 911 S model, Porsche decided to build a new car for the following year in order to retain its supremacy in long-distance GT racing.
For 1973, Porsche offered the RSR 2.8 (option M491), which was based on the exclusive and already lightweight Carrera RS 2.7.
The RS lost another 80 kg, while the nominal capacity improvement of only 119 cc belied the numerous technical changes inside.
The RS's 210 bhp was increased to over 300 bhp thanks to bigger valves, twin-plug ignition, a higher compression ratio, and extensive lightening of internal components.
A low-level front air dam with integrated oil cooler, as well as wider Fuchs wheels and wheel arches, gave the RSR a much more offensive demeanor.
Suspension tweaks and a 917-based braking system improved handling and drivability significantly.
In order to cope with the increased demands and speeds, the RSR's chassis was strengthened in three main areas at the rear of the vehicle.
In March of 1973 New owner Grey Egerton of Costa Mesa, California entered one of only 55 RSRs built for the 1973 season, into the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Egerton was paired with SCCA and Trans Am rising star Elliot Forbes-Robinson, who had shown such promise at Le Mans in 1971 after qualifying his 911 S fastest of all the GT class Porsche cars, with sponsorship from Pharr Yarns, Castrol, and Cibie.
The first three places in Sebring qualifying were all taken by Corvettes, with the Brumos RSR of Peter Gregg, Hurley Haywood, and Dave Helmick qualifying in fourth place.
Egerton and Forbes-Robinson did well in qualifying, finishing seventh with a best lap time just over a second slower than the Brumos car – a commendable achievement given the three-minute lap times.
Leading from the start the pole-sitting Corvette of Tony de Lorenzo and Steve Durst was followed by veterans Dave Heinz and Jerry Thompson in a similar vehicle.
However, both cars would have to retire within a few laps from each other allowing the RSR from Brumos to take the lead.
Forbes-Robinson and Egerton were a minor threat in the race, but they were passed at the finish by the sister RSR of Milt Minter and Michael Keyser and the Greenwood/Grable/Brockman Corvette, which salvaged some GM pride.
Nonetheless, finishing fourth overall at the famously difficult Florida track was an impressive first outing for the team.
Egertons Porsche would go on to qualify for the Watkins Glen 6 Hours, which was then a round of the World Sportscar Championship, in July 1973.
The difference between Sebring and Watkins Glen, was that the race had two Matra MS670Bs, two Gulf-Mirage M6s, and three Ferrari 312 PBs, as well as a pair of ex-Works Group 5 RSRs from the Penske and Brumos teams.
Seven Chevrolet Corvettes, four Ferrari Daytona competition vehicles, and six other RSRs were up against the renamed Pharr West Racing RSR in a mighty Group 4 GT field, which included the highly rated Toad Hall Racing entry (with Keyser and Minter driving) and an additional Brumos car for Mexicans Guillermo Rojas and Hector Rebaque.
The Keyser/Minter Toad Hall RSR won class pole in qualifying, with Egerton/Forbes-Robinson fifth – but just half a second behind Al Holbert's identical car in fourth.
During the race, the sonorous Matra of Larousse/Pesarolo won the overall race ahead of the two Ferraris of Ickx/Redman and Merzario/Pace, while the Pharr West crew finished 11th overall and third in class in the GT class.
Indeed, the class-winning Keyser/Minter RSR was so fast that Peter Gregg and Hurley Haywood's wilder specification Group 5 Brumos RSR only passed it in the final stages to finish seventh overall...
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