Like its predecessors, the new Porsche 911 GT3 has been developed to provide a platform for Porsche’s lucrative clubsport motor racing activities. However, this car also stands on its own as a road car. It is simply sensational.
It stirs the senses on many different levels. For a start, there is the styling. To look at the new third-generation 911 GT3 is to know immediately that it is no ordinary 911 Carrera S. There is a satisfying menace to the appearance that shouts Le Mans, Spa Francorchamps, Monza.
Unique touches include a deep new front bumper with a trio of sizeable air ducts and prominent splitter, a further duct ahead of the bonnet, new exterior mirrors and a subtle sill element beneath the doors.
The rear is dominated by a giant wing, with a ram air intake for the rear-mounted engine and a new rear bumper with vertical air ducts. The basic bodyshell is shared with the 911 Carrera S, with aluminium for the wings, roof, doors and engine lid. Compared with its predecessor, the new 911 GT3 is 118mm longer, 44mm wider and 35kg heavier, at 1430kg. Torsional rigidity has risen, by 25 percent.
So it’s heavier, but friendly, too. The two-seat interior fully reflects the progress made in other 991-series 911 models in its high-quality dashboard, centre console and trim. There are unique instruments, including a big central rev counter red lined at 9000rpm. The substantial seats are fashioned from carbonfibre and the pedals from aluminium. Tick the right boxes on your order form and you’ll even get twin-zone air conditioning, like that applied to the early pre-production prototype we’ve been handed for the day.
Slot the key into the ignition and the new Porsche 911 GT3 fires with a bark every bit as attention-grabbing as that of its predecessor. There is a mischievous pulse to the engine at idle, a nod to the motorsport-derived engine and its performance-enhancing trickery. Press a button on the centre tunnel to engage Sport, and the familiar bass-heavy rumble hardens in character and increases in volume.
Gear lever into Drive and we’re away with a fleeting nudge of throttle. The steering feels urgent and beautifully weighted. The dual-clutch gearbox automatically picks up second and then third as we run up the hill from Zuffenhausen, showing a new user-friendly disposition to the Porsche road-racer. Given its narrow sporting focus, the latest 911 GT3 rides with great composure with its adjustable dampers set to Comfort at low speeds.