If the 911 is Porsche’s legendary model, then the GT3 is the best of the best. This latest model changes the rules quite radically.
GT3s have traditionally had manual gearboxes and race-derived engine blocks. This one doesn’t. Still, with 468bhp at its disposal, the inconvenient truth is that this is the most capable GT3 ever.
It’s customary at this point to talk about how quickly the GT3 laps the Nurburgring at the hands of Walter Rohrl, and while Porsche is quietly confident that it’s quicker than even the banzai 911 GT3 RS 4.0 that sent the 997 Series Porsche 911 out on such a high, how relevant is it to us mere mortals? Not so much. We already know it’s ludicrously rapid. With 462bhp developed at 8,250rpm, a redline set at 9,000rpm and 440Nm of torque at 6,250rpm, it was always going to be thus. You get a newly developed 3799cc direct injection flat-six engine, a choice of Dunlop Sport Maxx Race or Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tyres, a clever electro-mechanical rear steering system and, of course, that lightning quick seven-speed PDK paddle-shift transmission. Shorter gearing and a more aggressive shift action aim to give the driver the feel of a sequential racing ‘box. Porsche Torque Vectoring, dynamic engine mounts, valve control by rocker lever; it’s heaven for enginerds.
With all that rear-wheel drive traction and a built in launch control mode enabled, 62mph arrives in just 3.5 seconds and 124mph (200km/h) in just 11.4 seconds. There’s even a special ‘doughnut mode’ that Porsche has engineered for this car that disengages the clutch when you pull both paddles towards you and brings it back in sharply when you release them, simulating the clutch-kick that skilled drivers use to bring the rear of the car into play. For those who think this is a mildly breathed-on 911 Carrera engine, rest easy. Only the crank case, the cylinder head bolts and the chain drive are shared. The brakes utilise steel discs although carbon ceramic rotors are on the options list if you’re feeling flush.
For the first time, the GT3 bodyshell is based on a wide body, this distinction previously distinguishing GT3s from their even harder-edged GT3 RS siblings. The body is a development based on the 991 Carrera with extensive use of aluminium in the front and rear body, as well as the floor assembly, roof, wings, front boot lid and doors, which reduces the shell weight by around 13 per cent over the previous model. Nevertheless, a 1435kg GT3 is still around 15kg heavier than a Carrera with a PDK gearbox. Torsional rigidity has increased by about 25 per cent.
This was always going to be controversial, but true Porsche fans will see the logic behind the arguments for revolution over evolution in the 911 GT3.
The standard 911 Carrera is a car that seems initially a little aloof but comes alive when you drive it hard. You can do nothing but drive hard in a GT3. It’s what it’s for.