In the early 2000s, watching Porsche’s stretched-to-the-limit 911 GT3 RSRs struggle on the track against rivals like Ferrari, Corvette, BMW, Aston Martin, and others, the question of just how much longer the 911’s classic rear-engine layout could justify itself often arose.
While displacement had been punched out to a full 4.0 liters and the car had state-of-the-art suspension and engine management, frustrated Porschephiles were asking: “Why won’t Weissach produce a mid-engined 911 that offers the kind of performance, balance, and handling that its major competitors were bringing to the table?”
When the new mid-engined 991-generation RSR finally broke cover in late 2016, it was a radical departure from 53 years of past practice. The factory had swallowed its pride at last. Mid-engined was better in all respects. This latest iteration of the evergreen 911 is still a work in progress, but if past is prologue, Porsche will soon return to the top step of the podium. Part of
that past must include some much earlier efforts by privateers to re-engineer the 911 as a production-based, mid-engined race car.
Although there was a short-lived effort back in 1975 by Australian Jim McKeown, the green 911 IMSA GTO racer seen on these pages—built in the early 1990s—may be the most extreme of these independent projects. Faster and better handling than anything else bearing the 911 name to that point, it ran headlong into political reality when it reached the race track. It was too fast for some people to swallow, a problem that Porsche seems to face on a recurring basis.
From Setback to Super Race Car
Kevin Jeannette, the founder of Florida-based Gunnar Racing, is well-known for restoring and racing important Porsche prototypes. He’s also built some very rapid 911-based race cars. The birth of this project, dubbed the G93—“G” for Gunnar (his son’s name), “93” for the year in which it was built—occurred when a medical student from Chicago asked Jeannette to construct a radical twin-turbo 1989 911 with 935 underpinnings.