Porsche's powered-up GT3 lands in North American showrooms in August, providing buyers with a hardcore $106,000 alternative to a raft of 911 models.
Set to make is public debut alongside the fifth-generation 911 Turbo at the Geneva motor show, the new car continues an illustrious tradition of race-bred Porsche models, running a reworked version of its predecessor's naturally-aspirated 3.6-liter flat six engine that has been tuned to deliver 415-hp.
Like earlier GT3 models, this new one has been created to support Porsche's sports car racing programit homologates new mechanical and aerodynamic components to meet the latest FIA GT sports car regulations. It's no bare bones special, though. Heeding buyer demands, Porsche has poured greater levels of standard equipment and comfort into the new car, while keeping a careful eye on weight, which rises only 33 pounds above the previous GT3, to a curb weight of 3069 pounds.
The new GT3 is distinguished from lesser 911 models by a body kit honed in Porsche's Weissach wind tunnel. It includes a complex front bumper offering increased cooling for the front-mounted radiators, a prominent bi-plane spoiler, centrally mounted tailpipes and a new rear bumper designed to draw hot air away from the rear-mounted engine. A lowered ride height and towering 19-inch alloy wheelsthe rears shod with generous 305/30 profile tires, add a menacing touch to the appearance.
Inside, GT3 adopts the latest 911 dashboard and interior trim. There's a thick grip steering wheel and gear lever, both covered in Alcantara, along with warning lights to indicate the optimum shift point.
A standard model with comfort seats and Porsche's Communication Management system will likely be joined by an RS successor with more circuit-specific hardware like racing seats and lightweight door trims.
Porsche motorsport engineers have thrown all of their know-how into the GT3 engine. Based on the 1998 Le Mans winning GT1 powerplant, the four-valve-per-cylinder 3.6-liter flat six incorporates a revised variable intake system with a wider throttle valve opening. This, along with a raft of as yet unspecified internal changes that lighten the engine's reciprocating masses, push Porsche's latest racer to 415-hp at 7600rpm55 hp more than the proceeding model, while boosting specific output of from 100.0 hp per liter to 115.3-hp per liter. At the same time, max rpm increases by 200 rpm, to an 8400 rpm redline before electronic intervention retards the ignition to safeguard the engine. Improved breathing and reduced exhaust back pressure also sees torque increase by 14-lb-ft to 298-lb-ft at 5500 rpm.
Thanks in part to lower ratios in second through sixth gears, 0-60 mph acceleration improves by half a second to 4.1 seconds. The 0-100 mph time of just 8.7 seconds and 193 mph top speed better the old model by 0.6-second and 5 mph.
As GT3 tradition dictates, drive is sent to the rear wheels via a close ratio six-speed manual gearbox boasting slightly shorter travel than in the standard 911 and a fully mechanical limited slip differential. Underpinning it all is a heavily upgraded McPherson strut (front) and multi-link (rear) suspension fitted for the first time with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM). It offers the choice between two damper settings; the standard one said to closely match that of the previous model, with a sport mode tuned to deliver greater body control and a more a more responsive throttle action. Also included is a switchable traction control device with so-called traction-slip and drag torque control functions from the soon-to-be discontinued Carrera GT.