Here it is folks, the first GT variant of the 992 Porsche 911, the 911 GT3. And it packs just about everything a Porsche-fanatic could want: a screaming naturally aspirated flat-six, an available manual transmission, and a chassis tuned for track performance. Then, as a bonus, it's more closely related to Porsche's race cars than any past GT3.
Visually, there aren't too many surprises, thanks to the copious spy photos we saw during development. It is distinctive with its no-nonsense front grille, air vents in the leading edge of the hood, and the race car-inspired wing supports. The front track is wider than a standard 911 by 1.9 inches. The wing, front spoiler and front diffuser are all adjustable with four settings. They produce anywhere from 50% to 150% more downforce than the previous GT3, depending on position.
The whole car rolls on 20-inch front wheels and 21-inch rear wheels, all of which are forged and collectively weigh 3.5 pounds less than the old set. The fronts are shod in 255-mm wide tires, and the rears get 315-mm tires, and Porsche will offer an extra sticky, street-legal track tire as an option. Besides the wheels, the GT3 also gets a carbon fiber hood, rear wing and rear spoiler, plus lightweight glass that all help to keep the car about the same weight as the old GT3, which is a smidgen over 3,100 pounds. The interior gets a couple of additions, too, such as a simplified instrument display mode for track duty, an available Chrono Package that adds stopwatches with lap functionality, and available carbon fiber seats that can save 26 pounds over the stock seats.
Of course, the real attraction of the GT3 is under the skin. At the back, it gets a 4.0-liter flat-six engine that's nearly the same as what was used in the 911 Speedster, but with different pistons. Porsche says it's nearly the same as what's used in the GT3 Cup car, and since the GT3's 502 horsepower and 346 pound-feet of torque are down just 8 horsepower and 1 pound-foot to the Cup car, we're inclined to believe them. Other engine highlights include the individual throttle bodies for each cylinder, a dry-sump oil system and a 9,000-rpm redline.
As standard, the engine is coupled to a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission that features unique tuning and an actual shift lever that can be used for manually selecting gears. Regular 911s have lost this in favor of a small toggle paddle. But don't worry, purists, you can also equip the GT3 with an old-school six-speed manual transmission. The PDK is the fast one, though, with a 0 to 60 mph time of 3.2 seconds. Top speed for the GT3 is 197 mph.
In the handling department, the GT3 adopts a double-wishbone front suspension that is based on the system used in the 911 RSR race car. The rear suspension is a multi-link setup that doesn't come from the race car, but it also doesn't share a single piece with the regular 911 Carrera models. For stopping, the front brakes have increased by an inch to 16 inches in diameter. Carbon ceramic brakes are an option, featuring 16.1-inch front rotors and 15.4-inch rear rotors.
All of these components work together to make the new GT3 quite a bit faster on track than the old one. The best illustration of that is in the new car's Nürburgring lap time of 6:59.927. It's roughly 17 seconds than its predecessor, and a sub-7-minute time for any car is mighty impressive.
The 911 GT3 will go on sale this fall. Pricing hasn't been announced. We expect it will hover around the $150,000 mark based on the old car's price.