A new GT3 is a pivotal moment in the rollout of each new 911 generation. But Porsche’s formula, while hugely effective, is pretty tried and tested: take 911, up-rate the chassis, bolt in a race-derived flat-six, get it out of the door. Done.
In some ways the new car, the 992-gen 911 GT3, is business as usual. But in a great many others it is not.
So, what’s new? The 992-generation structure is a great foundation, being wider, stiffer and more aluminium-intensive than the previous car. But it’s the new GT3’s front suspension that’s truly radical. While every road-going 911 to date has used strut front suspension (compact, cost-effective to make and dynamically capable, if not as high-performance as some solutions), the new GT3 effectively pinches its front axle from the Le Mans-winning 911 RSR race car, complete with its superior double-wishbone front set-up.
While this may not sound like a big deal the effect is likely transformative, with the GT3 now changing direction like a true supercar, rather than a very impressive but ultimately road-focused sports car. Early reports from those who’ve experienced the car in prototype form gush about the responsiveness of its front end, and how much speed it’s able to carry into corners. For fast road and track driving, this GT3 promises to take things to another level.
And there’s plenty of GT3 magic elsewhere. To balance the new front suspension, the rear suspension geometry is all-new (21-inch rear tyres now of course, as per the Carrera S) and there’s a version of Porsche’s subtle but effective rear-wheel steering system. Doing their part too are some serious aero parts, including an RSR-inspired front splitter, rear diffuser and rear wing, with gorgeous swan-neck mounts. Together they create a car with a full 50% more downforce than before, and that’s in its road settings – the track-only ‘performance’ settings promise even more grip, for brain-scrambling corner speeds.
Less revolutionary but likely to remain the defining element of the car nonetheless is the 4.0-litre, naturally-aspirated flat-six engine. 503bhp might not sound like much when Ferrari and McLaren are up at the 700bhp mark these days, but two things are worth bearing in mind. Firstly, they use turbos and Porsche does not, so the GT3’s super-sharp throttle response and magnificent noise will likely more than make up for the power deficit. And secondly, while those manufacturers don’t offer the option of a manual gearbox, Porsche will.
In fact, with the new GT3 there are a couple of decisions to make, like manual or twin-clutch PDK gearbox, whether to wait for the likely but as yet unconfirmed Touring version, with its more subtle style, and whether or not you want the no-cost optional Clubsport package, which adds a rear rollcage, a six-point driver’s harness and that all-important fire extinguisher.
Whatever your spec, the new GT3 looks like being the definitive GT3, now and for a long while to come.
Porsche 911 GT3: £123,100, 503bhp flat-six, 3.4sec 0-62mph (PDK version), 199mph (manual version)