Porsche has equipped its new 911 GT3 RS with a 4.0-litre version of its naturally aspirated six-cylinder boxer engine boasting the same 493bhp as the similarly configured unit used by its predecessor, but with an additional 15lb ft at 384lb ft.
Unveiled at the Geneva show, prior to going on sale in the UK in May at a price of £131,296, the pared-down road racer is based on the latest 911 GT3.
The GT3 RS is clothed in a modified aluminium body borrowed from the 911 Turbo. In order to save weight and lower the centre of gravity, it has a new magnesium roof structure and a bonnet and engine lid fashioned from carbonfibre-reinforced plastic.
The bonnet and roof each feature a 30cm-wide indent down their centre line in a look reminiscent of that seen on earlier air-cooled 911s. The engine lid has additional cooling elements and an integrated ducktail-style spoiler aimed at increasing downforce at speed.
The aerodynamic package also includes a prominent splitter element, modified front wings with integrated air ducts to lower the pressure in the wheel house and reduce front axle lift, and a large, adjustable rear wing.
Despite the adoption of the wider 911 Turbo’s bodyshell, the 911 GT3 RS’s kerb weight of 1420kg — 10kg under that of the standard 911 GT3 — endows it with a power-to-weight ratio of 347bhp per tonne. This gives it a claimed 0-62mph time of 3.3sec — 0.6sec faster than the old 911 GT3 RS — and a 0-124mph time of 10.9sec.
Top speed varies according to the amount of downforce dialled into the rear wing, although Porsche officials suggest it will crack 200mph in low-downforce guise.
Details of the extent of the changes made to the 4.0-litre engine used by 911 GT3 RS remain under wraps, although its 493bhp and 384lb ft are 25bhp and 60lb ft more than that produced by the 3.8-litre powerplant found in its standard sibling, making it the most powerful naturally aspirated engine yet to be fitted to a road-going version of the iconic 911.
Drive is sent to the rear wheels through a reworked seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and fully variable locking differential with an integrated torque vectoring function.
Porsche claims the new 911 GT3 RS is capable of lapping the Nürburgring in just 7min 20sec.
In the meantime, Porsche is also working on a brand-new supercar to compete with the likes of the Ferrari 488 GTB and McLaren 675LT. Wolfgang Hatz, head of research and development at Porsche, has said it will be ready by the end of the decade “at the latest”.
Details are patchy, but the car is believed to feature the brand-new V8 motor already in development for the new Panamera, its 928-replacing two-door variant and the next Cayenne.
Mounted amidships behind the driver, the engine is likely to follow current thinking and derive its power as much from turbocharging as from its displacement.
It is not yet known whether the car will feature any degree of hybridisation. However, it is clear that this is not a replacement for the 918 Spyder hypercar but a standard, production model. Hatz has, however, also confirmed that a new 918 will eventually be built.
Porsche's two-door sports car future
New 500bhp GT3 RS will be unveiled in March and followed this autumn by the second-generation ‘991’ 911, featuring a new range of turbocharged engines based on the new motor designed for the RS. A flat-six configuration will be retained without hybridisation, which Porsche feels to be more useful in cars like the Cayenne and Panamera.