As far as celebrating a golden anniversary goes, we'd say that Porsche got Lamborghini licked. While the Italian manufacturer chose to mark its 50th anniversary by launching an ultra-expensive, outrageously styled version of the Aventador that will be made in just three examples, its German “relative”, since they both belong to the VW Group, celebrated the 50th birthday of the 911 by unveiling the new GT3.
This is the fifth model to wear the GT3 badge since the 996-series original. All the “right” parts are present and accounted for: the fixed rear wing, single-lock alloys, istinctive front bumper with air vents on the bonnet, wide rear wings (by 44 mm compared to the Carrera S). Under the skin, though, it's very different from what has gone before.
Instead of the race-derived “split” crankcase “Metzger” engine, named after Hans Metzger who designed it for the 964 air-cooled series, the 991-based GT3 is powered by an evolution of the DFI (Direct Fuel Injection) 3.8-liter flat-six that's used in the regular Carrera S.
Porsche claims that the two units only share a few parts, as most components, such as the crankshaft, valve gear, titanium connecting rods and forged pistons are unique to the GT3.
The new engine revs to 9,000 rpm, 500 more than the 997-gen GT3, and boasts 469HP (475PS) and a power to weight ratio of 3.0 kg/HP. This enables it to record a 3.5-second 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) acceleration time and a top speed of 315 km/h (195 mph), while 0-200 km/h (0-125 mph) takes less than 12 seconds.
Oh, and it laps the Nordschleife in “under 7:30”. That’s fast, if you consider that in Porsche-conducted tests, the GT2 recorded a 7:32.0 lap time and the Carrera GT 7:28.0 – both with WRC champion Walter Röhrl behind the wheel…
Another break with tradition is the use of electrically-assisted power steering and a dual-clutch gearbox instead of a manual transmission. Although the seven-speed PDK is based on the existing unit used by lesser 911s, Porsche Motorsport has redesigned it to resemble the sequential units used in racing cars and changes occur in less than 100 milliseconds.
The all-new 911 GT3 is the first Porsche to use active rear wheel steering. This steers the rear wheels in the same or opposite direction compared to the front ones depending on speed to improve both stability and agility.
The GT3 rides on 20-inch alloys and its suspension can be adjusted by height, toe and camber. Dynamic engine mounts are standard, as is an electronically controlled rear differential lock.
Porsche announced that the new 911 GT3 will go on sale in August 2013 and will be priced at €137,303 (US$178,856 at today’s exchange rate) in Germany.
Although it looks delicious, the break with tradition is too extensive: electric steering, DFI engine, no manual gearbox, rear-wheel steer… it’s a bit too much and it takes time for all to sink in.
Luckily, Evo magazine’s Jethro Bovingdon interviewed Porsche Motorsport manager Andreas Preuninger about the new GT3 – and the latter explained all the changes in great detail.
What’s more, he insists that, despite being an all-new car, it delivers the goods one has come to expect from the hardcore version of the 911.