When the first GT car debuted as the 993 GT2 in 1993, it was a homologated race car, and the fastest 911 money could get you. What followed was generation after generation of GT cars. From the naturally aspirated 996 GT3 to the world stopping 997 GT2RS; GT cars have represented the apex of the 911 model lineup. These former GT cars have been the quickest, most exhilarating, and most out there 911’s available during their respective times. This is the goal of a GT car: to deliver an experience beyond what a normal 911 can.
As we venture into the 992 era, the goal of the GT car has become an incredible one to achieve. When the 996 GT3 came out, its C2 companion made just 296 horsepower and reached 60 miles per hour in a modest 5 seconds. As the 992 GT3 looks to make its place amongst a legacy of GT cars, its “lesser” 911 companions are already setting the bar outrageously high. The 992 C2S makes 443 horsepower and finds 60 miles per hour in under 3 seconds. The 992 Turbo S makes 640 horsepower… and can get to 60 miles per hour in as close to 2 seconds as your stomach can handle. The 992 is competent on track and can be had with a wing (along with any other aero bits you may wish to spec). With such an impressive baseline, where can the 992 GT3 improve? The answer to that lies in previous GT cars.
As part of the launch of the new car, Porsche invited journalists from across the US to the Porsche Experience Centre in Los Angeles to test drive a curated selection of GT cars. The common theme amongst them all is a connection to motorsport, and an almost intangible specialness that each generation has been able to achieve.
As we look at the changes made for this generation of GT3, we can see where Porsche has made changes to ensure that the GT car retains its significance in the 911 lineup. The new GT3 is now the only naturally aspirated 911 you can buy. With the same displacement as the outgoing car, it makes only 9 horsepower more than its predecessor. The engine is derived directly from the 992 GT3 Cup race car, and that is not the only race inspired addition to the new GT3. Starting from the front, the hood now has nostrils -- two vents borrowed from other 911 race cars that help draw air back to the high revving 4.0 litre straight six. In that hood you’ll find a carbon-plastic composite that is utilized elsewhere on the car, with that and some lightweight glass; the new car weighs the same as the previous despite growing slightly in size. Moving to the back and you will find the most visually noticeable change to the car - a swan neck wing.
This wing is utilized on the 992 Cup car, and clears the space of the underside of the wing where most of the aerodynamic work is actually done. On the inside you’ll find the same 7 speed PDK used in the previous generation, as the newer PDK in the other 992’s was considered too heavy for this application. Much else has been changed for the sake of performance in this car, but most notably is the move from a MacPherson setup to a double-wishbone design for the front suspension. This configuration is borrowed directly from the 911 RSR, and allows for increased performance and enough configurability to keep you satisfied under any track conditions.
The result of all of these changes is not the fastest 911 from 0-60 you can buy, or even the most ostentatious looking. The result of these changes is a truly special car. It’s the closest thing to a race car you can register under your own name, and for that it deserves its place amongst the infamy of Porsche GT cars.
Written June 2021