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Porsche 911 GT3: An icon from inception

Friday, February 19, 2021

On February 16 this year, Porsche debuted the seventh generation of the 911 GT3 model to the worldwide press.

“This was the biggest, most complex, and most demanding GT project so far,” said Andreas Preuninger, director GT product line — Porsche, at the virtual launch.

As with the original 911 GT3, which began life as a street version of a race car for the international GT3 cup series in 1999, the new model encompasses all the transferable technology from the current 911 RSR. The 911 RSR is Porsche's current production race car having won its class at the famous 24 hour Le Mans endurance race.

The 911 GT3 engine's is the same as the race car, save for the engine management and the exhaust systems. The four-litre six-cylinder boxer naturally aspirated engine makes 510bhp, ten more than the outgoing model. The car can be fitted with either a six-speed manual gearbox or Porsche's seven-speed PDK automated transmission. Power is fed to the rear wheels alone for 100km/h in 3.4 seconds.

“This is the most extreme, most exciting GT3 that Porsche has ever developed,” Preuninger explained.

That is because the focus of the GT3 has never only been straight-line speed or extreme horsepower numbers. The aim is driver involvement, bringing and replicating the excitement of a race car in a street car. To that effect the trickledown from motorsports continues throughout the 2022 911 GT3. The car is lightweight by design using thinner glass, a stainless steel exhaust, lighter brake rotors, and battery. The base body is made of aluminium and steel, but there is a liberal use of carbon fibre reinforced plastic all around including the rear wing, bonnet and roof. The weight target meant that Porsche could put even more technology into the new car without losing the delicate balance associated with a lightweight sports car. The new GT3 gains a Porsche first, a redeveloped double-wishbone front suspension taken directly from the 911 RSR. It further increases the agility of the car.

“We are always in a constant race between street car homologation and putting as much racing technology as possible, and I think we did a big step with the car. A huge effort, maybe the highest effort we ever put in such a car,” Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, vice president model line 911/718 — Porsche, addressed the media.

In the rear, the race technology download continues with a five-arm suspension beefed up by additional ball joints on the lower wishbones and special shock absorbers. The GT3 has rear-wheel steering that turns the rear wheels two degrees in the same or opposite direction to the front wheels for high speed stability and tighter turning circles.

Despite only having 10bhp more than the outgoing GT3, the 2022 version is 17 seconds faster around the famed Nürburgring Nordschleife than its predecessor. The original GT3 shocked the world when it lapped the circuit in less than eight minutes in 1999, posting seven minutes 56 seconds. Seven generations later that lap time now stands at six minutes 59.927 seconds, done at the hands of Porsche development driver Lars Kern.

A huge part of this faster lap time is due to the technology at the rear of the new 911 GT3, created to increase aerodynamic downforce. Factory box fresh, the GT3 produces 50 per cent more downforce and in the performance settings that number can go as high as 150 per cent at 200km/h. This is all due to the functional rear diffuser and what will become a signature styling cue, a swan-neck mounted rear spoiler.

According to Walliser, the GT3 carries not just the DNA of a 911, but also of the Porsche brand in a single car. For those planning to use their GT3 on track there is a no-cost Clubsport package adding a certified half roll-cage in the rear section of the vehicle, a six-point harness for the driver, a fire extinguisher, and a battery disconnect switch.

The 2022 Porsche 911 GT3 is now available for pre-order at ATL Motorsports, the arm of the ATL Automotive Group responsible for the Porsche brand of vehicles.