What is it?
This is the latest version of Porsche’s acclaimed GT3 series, reflecting the changes made for the second generation of the 997 911. Porsche’s GT series cars are produced in limited capacity by Porsche’s motorsport division, alongside the racecars on which the GT3 is based, and as such the GT3 has been absent from Porsche’s price list since the tale end of 2007. Making its return very welcome indeed.
Visually the new generation GT3 mirrors a number of changes introduced with the MkII 997, namely the introduction of daylight running lights and changes to the interior, but the GT3 does not follow the regular series 911's introduction of direct fuel injection nor the option of Porsche’s PDK gearbox. Porsche cite the 20kg saving, and customer preference for mechanical interaction, as the logic for sticking with a conventional six-speed manual transmission.
The innovation with this latest GT3 comes with an enlarged version of the motorsport derived flat six, now displacing 3.8-litres instead of 3.6, increasing power by 20bhp to 429bhp. Torque is also bolstered, particularly through the midrange, while economy and emissions improve.
The other big news is the tweaks made to the aerodynamics. Andreas Preuniger, general manager for Porsche’s High Performance cars, says his aim with the new car was not to make it significantly faster in a straight line (top speed of 193mph is just 1mph quicker), but to use the larger engine’s extra grunt to offset increased downforce, which the new car has four times of that of the previous car. The other detailed changes include lighter wheels, with a single centre bolt, shaving 2.5kg from the unsprung mass, and larger yet lighter front discs brakes.
What’s it like?
The static appearance leaves little room for doubt that the GT3 is a very different beast to the regular Carrera, even more so with this latest incarnation, which features more vents and slats, this time covered with motorsport style wire meshing. There’s also an even more extrovert rear wing, complete with 3.8 badges on the end plates – harking back to the 1993 3.8RS.
The GT3 engine also differs considerably from that of the regular 911 – the only carry over parts being the generator and AC unit – and as the regular flat six becomes ever more refined and - whisper it - more anodyne, the GT3 engine retains character in buckets. It is quicker to rev, and revs higher, now to 8500rpm, 100rpm than before, and possesses a wondrous repertoire of sounds.