The just revealed 911 GT3 is more track-focused than any GT3 before it. Need proof? It smashed it’s predecessor’s Nurburgring lap time by over 17 seconds.
Significant changes in the suspension components and aerodynamics package borrowing directly from the 911 RSR GT race car are among the new developments.
It’s hard to tell if the engineers behind each new generation 911 GT3 have the easiest or the hardest job in the automotive industry. On one hand, you have what most unreservedly consider the most uncompromised and time-proven benchmark from which to start with. On the other, you have to improve on perfection.
With the later in mind, it appears Porsche’s engineers have shown little restraint. To ensure the seventh edition of the high-performance sports car demonstrated a suitable level of advancement, they turned to Porsche Motorsport who, more than ever, played a very collaborative role in development.
The result is more pure racing technology into a production Porsche more consistently than any GT3 model before.
Not only has double wishbone and front axle layout from the successful 911 RSR GT Race car has been replicated in the GT3, but also the sophisticated aerodynamics package including the swan neck rear wing and striking diffuser. The unconventional wing design actually develops 50% more rear downforce that the previous GT3, with some aggressive manual adjustment (For track use only) and combined with the rest of the aerodynamic optimisation the car can deliver 150% more total downforce than the previous generation. In other words - it sticks like the proverbial to a blanket.
Just as well, as the car is propelled by the 375 kW four-litre six-cylinder boxer engine, again, based on the drivetrain of the 911 GT3 R, tried and tested in endurance racing by New Zealand’s own Earl Bamber.
Porsche suggest the soundtrack is “acoustically impressive”. You’ll appreciate that’s very clearly an understatement when you hear the new 911 GT3 screaming through the RPM range to its 9000rpm redline. To really live and breath that aural delight you can shift with a six-speed manual transmission for a particularly puristic driving experience or the rapid responsiveness of a PDK transmission.
The distinctive strength of the 911 GT3 lies in the sum of its characteristics. With a top speed of 320 km/h (318 km/h with PDK) performance is now greater than even the previous 911 GT3 RS. Zero to 100 km/h arrives in 3.4 seconds.
This all makes for a scintillating road car that is surprisingly capable on the racetrack. During final testing, it lapped the Nordschleife over 17 seconds quicker than its predecessor. Development driver Lars Kern took just 6:59.927 minutes for a full 20.8-kilometre lap.
Professional drivers involved with the testing regime believe the new 911 GT3 is by far the best production car they have sampled around the infamous circuit.
Despite a wider body, larger wheels and additional technical features, the weight of the new GT3 is on a par with its predecessor. With manual gearbox it weighs 1.418 kilo-grams, with PDK 1.435 kilograms. The front bonnet made of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP), lightweight glass windows, optimised brake discs and forged light-alloy wheels ensure weight discipline, as does the cover for the rear seat compartment. A lightweight sports exhaust system reduces the weight by no less than ten kilograms.
The cockpit is in line with the current model generation but features a new track screen feature: at the touch of a button, it reduces the digital displays to the left and right of the central rev counter, to information such as tyre pressure indicator, oil pressure, oil temperature, fuel tank level and water temperature. The critical information for driving on the circuit. It also includes a visual shift assistant with coloured bars to the left and right of the rev counter and a shift light derived from Motorsport.
The car can also be supplemented with GT3-specific Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur options such as a lightweight exposed carbon fibre roof, exterior mirror tops made of carbon, darkened LED matrix main headlights and matching Exclusive design rear lights with an arc of light with no red components. In the interior, equipment details such as the dials for the rev counter and Sport Chrono stopwatch, seatbelts and trim strips set elegant accents in the body colour or other desired colour.
Ever since the latest generation 911 launched in 2019, the GT3 has been keenly anticipated and it appears to have been well the worth the wait. New Zealand can expect to see the vehicle toward the end of the year.