How do you improve a sports car that is already considered perfect? Engineers at Porsche have to ask themselves this question anew every few years. But at the latest when it comes to the real thing, when it comes to the GT vehicles.
If the development of the original GT3 996 only started at the end of the 1990s when the Carrera models were already on sale, Porsche can no longer afford this fact today.
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A lot of GT3 technology already in the series 911
The GT3 has been an integral part of every nine-eleven generation for more than 20 years and accordingly all GT variants have been included in the preliminary development since the 997. The normal Carrera customer feels that too.
Many a dynamic driving component that actually shouldn’t have been in the basic 911 finds its way into large-scale production due to the same basis. Conversely, the GT vehicles have to adopt one or the other characteristic of the “civil” series.
A lot has happened since the 996 GT3
With one of these peculiarities, the transition to the here and now succeeds immediately. The 992 GT3 will be the provisional spearhead in the sports car program of the Stuttgart-based dealers from May and by no means will it distract from how opulent the 911 has become (combined fuel consumption: 13.3-12.4 l / 100 km; CO2- Combined emissions: 304-288 g / km²).
Almost like a memorial stands in front of the specially set up photo booth in the Porsche Museum, no, the first GT3 ever. It is the test 996 that once tortured Walter Röhrl for his set-up drives on the test tracks and thus laid the foundation for a true legend.
Prices start from 167,518 euros
While discreet GT silver metallic was sufficient at the end of the 1990s, it has to be “Sharkblue” today. Rumor has it that the newly introduced paint can be traced back to the outer skin of an oligarch yacht that Andreas Preuninger, Head of GT Vehicles at Porsche, spotted on his last summer vacation in the Mediterranean.
An uninteresting piece of information? Not at all. Among other things, such things make the GT3 approachable. Or at least more approachable. Because between me and the pre-production item in the photo studio there are at least 167,518 euros.
The suction motor and manual switch remain
What do the illustrious customers get for it? First of all, 375 kW or 510 veteran horsepower (+10 PS compared to the 991.2 GT3) from a four-liter boxer engine. Turbocharger? You’re welcome! Free breathing, served as it should. But the environment? No problem: The emission standard Euro 6d ISC FCM is met, the standard consumption according to WLTP should be 13.3-12.4 liters per 100 kilometers.
The from-to value also indicates two different gearbox variants. Correct, the 6-speed manual switch remains with the purist. A 7-speed PDK, which is known from its predecessor, but has been technically refined, is supplied as standard – at no cost.
Good aerodynamics is everything
Does everything look very familiar? I already wrote it in the headline: A gentle revolution. But how did the new GT3 manage to take the old one off, believe it or not, 17 seconds on the Nürburgring Nordschleife? The magic word is: aerodynamics.
The redesigned gooseneck rear wing of the 992 GT3 generates significantly more downforce and, thanks to its sophisticated construction, stands better in the wind. Like the front diffuser, it can be adjusted manually for use on the racetrack and with the double wishbone front axle construction, which is also new, enables much higher cornering speeds. Rear-axle steering is also provided as standard.
17 seconds faster than its predecessor in the Green Hell
The result is a lap time of 6: 59.927 minutes over the 20.8 kilometer reference route in the Eifel. Meanwhile, the test car was piloted by development driver Lars Kern, with brand ambassador Jörg Bergmeister also judging that the new 911 GT3 is “by far the best production car” that it has ever driven in the Green Hell.
In 3.4 seconds from zero to 100 km / h, the 992 GT3 with PDK is as fast as its predecessor and runs at a maximum of 318 km / h. With a manual transmission, the sports car can reach 320 kilometers per hour. Despite its sweeping dimensions, the sports equipment should only weigh 1,418 kilograms (1,435 kg with PDK). Consistent lightweight construction including a standard carbon bonnet prevented weight gain. To improve the power-to-weight ratio a bit, there is the option of a lightweight roof, also made of carbon fiber.
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The track screen reduces the ads
In the interior, Porsche is also relying on a kind of gentle revolution. The cockpit of the 992 GT3 largely corresponds to the conventional production model. A new feature is a digital display behind the steering wheel that can be reduced at the touch of a button. The focus of the “track screen” is then the analog tachometer, which continues to reach 10,000 tours. When sport mode was activated, this was expanded to include a digital shift light with a bar display.
When asked about the driving modes, Porsche offers a new track mode that is more geared towards the needs of racing-oriented customers. At this point, at the latest, all noteworthy driving aids are deactivated and the GT3 driver only has to rely on his ability. As usual, the driving aids in the latest Porsche GT vehicle can also be deactivated separately at the push of a button. Incidentally, the radio and air conditioning can no longer be canceled with the 992 GT3, but the customer’s cancellation rate was also very low.
Deliveries will begin in May
Anyone who has now got a taste for it has to wait a little longer. The order books for the Porsche 911 (992) GT3 are already open and the first deliveries will begin in May 2021, but the high workload at Porsche could mean that many racing fans will not be able to hold their GT3 in their hands until some time later.
First conclusion with a seat sample
Porsche remains the keeper of the holy sports car grail and holds on to the naturally aspirated engine until the bitter end of the combustion engine. The fact that the old technology can be combined with new emissions regulations gives courage for the years to come. Our own development in terms of e-fuels could also make the veteran boxer engine usable for a little longer.
When seated in the new GT3, everything feels the same as before – at the customer’s request, a gear lever was even returned for the PDK variant. But the first impression shows again: The 992 has become a great car and the GT3 also looks even more massive than its predecessor. At least in terms of weight (according to the data sheet) there is no noticeable disadvantage. How the new can move in pure culture will of course only be shown by test drives on a closed circuit. (Text: Thomas Vogelhuber | Pictures: Manufacturer)