Road & track: New Porsche 911 GT3 unleashed
Wednesday 17th February, 2021 - 12:26pm
Porsche may be building SUVs and electric cars these days, but the German brand hasn’t forgotten its roots. The company has unveiled the latest iteration of its purest sports car – the 911 GT3 – and it boasts racing-inspired technology and aerodynamics to make it capable both on the road and the track.
The engine is a 4.0-litre naturally-aspirated flat-six that the company claims is “practically unchanged” from what you’ll find in the 911 GT3 Cup. The high-revving boxer engine (it will spin up to 9000rpm) now makes 375kW of power and 470Nm, which is only a modest upgrade from the old model. In a win for driving purists the engine is paired to your choice of a six-speed manual gearbox (which was not available originally with the previous model) or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
The real key to the new GT3’s performance improvements are aerodynamics and weight-saving. The new GT3 features several elements taken almost directly from the 911 RSR Le Mans winner – specifically the swan neck rear wing and rear diffuser, for improved aero. The company claims the new aero package produces 50 per cent more overall downforce in its standard settings than the old model. There’s also a track-only performance setting that increases downforce by as much as 150 per cent on the previous GT3.
But that’s not all it has taken from the track. The GT3 features a double-wishbone front suspension layout, something never before used on a production Porsche but something taken from the RSR. The company says this major change allows for even better handling, with sharper turn-in behaviour and higher camber rigidity as it relieves the dampers of disruptive forces. The rear suspension is a “tried-and-tested” multi-link set up that features new “special” shock absorbers and, for the first time on the GT3, rear-wheel steering as standard.
Saving weight was a major focus on the development team, with the latest generation 911 running the ‘wide body’ previously reserved for all-wheel drive models across all models. Despite this Porsche’s engineers have managed to keep it the same weight thanks to greater use of carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP). The bonnet, rear wing and spoiler are all made of the lightweight material as standard, and you can option the roof in CFRP if you want to save even more kilos.
But that’s not all that was done to save weight, every detail was examined. The starter battery is now 10kg lighter, the glass in the windows is lighter too and there’s a new stainless steel sports exhaust to save precious grams.
The brakes are also lighter than before but are still incredibly powerful and big – measuring 408mm at the front, replacing the old model’s had 380mm rotors.
Porsche claims the new GT3 will do the 0-100km/h sprint in just 3.4 seconds and run to a top speed of 320km/h. But that’s not the most impressive statistic. Porsche test and development driver Lars Kern lapped the fearsome 20km Nurburgring Nordschleife (the benchmark for performance cars) in just 6:59.92 seconds – a massive 17 second improvement over the out-going GT3. That’s faster than claimed times for the Ferrari 488 Pista, Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro and McLaren 720S – all more powerful cars.
The other good news is you won’t have to wait too long for the new GT3 to arrive locally. Porsche Australia has confirmed it’s due to hit showrooms in the second half of this year; with pricing and final specifications to be announced before then.