Porsche is already at an advanced stage of development with its new 911 GT3, caught here undergoing shakedown tests on roads near the German car maker’s Weissach R&D centre. But although the new car appears almost complete, our sources say we’ll have to wait until mid-2005 before it appears in showrooms. As with the previous two iterations, the new car will come in standard and Clubsport specification – the latter adding an integral roll cage and fire extinguisher for track use. Autocar understands that the GT3 will ditch the old model’s 3.6-litre engine for the latest evolution of Porsche’s six-cylinder boxer unit. In the 911 Carrera S, the new four-valve-per-cylinder 3.8-litre engine generates 350bhp, but Porsche insiders claim this could jump to 400bhp with the red line extended to beyond 8000rpm and other internal tweaks such as lightweight pistons, more advanced VarioCam variable valve timing and a larger air manifold. That’s up 19bhp on the old GT3 and, with appropriate gearing from the six-speed manual transmission, should be enough to blast the car from 0-60mph in 4.5sec with top speed nudging 180mph.
Underneath, the new GT3 is expected to forgo the new PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) for conventional springs and dampers to save weight. They will be tuned more aggressively than in the standard 911 and provide the new car with a lower ride height. The three-piece alloys of this prototype will be replaced by uniquely designed wheels, exclusive to the new GT3.