- the news with this newest 911 gt3 is a new front suspension setup featuring unequal-length control arms, rather than struts.
- then there's that wing. a more discreet touring version will be offered without it, which will make considerably less downforce.
- pricing has not been released, but it's safe to say it will be comfortably above the most recent price of $145,650 when the gt3 goes on sale this fall.
the porsche 911 gt3 changes, but it mostly stays the same. since the 996 generation launched the dynasty in 1999, the gt3 has remained true to its original form with a high-revving naturally aspirated flat-six, track-biased suspension, no back seat, and a commendable lack of fripperies and needless ornament. a new generation of porsche's most focused sports car doesn't need to be different to earn enthusiasts' attention and respect.
yet the gt3 has also made some major leaps as it has evolved over the years. with the arrival of the fourth main iteration, the gt3 jumps to an unequal-length control-arm front suspension. that makes it the first roadgoing 911 to eschew struts in front. the new setup is heavily influenced by the suspension that porsche pioneered in the 911 rsr race car in 2013. the arrangement improves camber stability, better maintaining the wheels' negative-camber orientation and thus the shape of the tires' contact patch through turns and as the suspension compresses and rebounds. spring rates are more than double, but ride quality hasn't diminished, per porsche, thanks to new adaptive dampers that adjust valving in as few as 10 milliseconds. also contributing to chassis performance is an increased number of ball joints in the suspension at front and rear. so much is different with the gt3's suspension that not a single part is shared with the 911 carrera.
the new car also hangs its rear wing from swan-neck pylons as seen in sports-car racing and on the mclaren senna. a wing generates downforce when the air flowing across the underside moves faster than the air going over the top of the wing (the same as an airplane wing, only the orientation is upside down). with a conventionally mounted wing, the column-like pylons disrupt the airflow below the wing, creating pockets of slow-moving, turbulent air that detract from the downforce potential. swan-neck pylons not only increase the underside of a wing's surface area, but they are designed with an aerodynamic profile that minimizes the airflow disruption across the wing's lower surface, increasing downforce.
porsche says that in its most aggressive aerodynamic setup, the new gt3 generates 150 percent more downforce than its predecessor. but to get in that setup, one must turn a wrench and manually set the rear wing and two front diffusers (located in front of each tire) to their raciest of four positions. a more discreet touring version will also be offered without the wing, and it will make considerably less downforce. we don't have a final weight figure, but porsche says the new gt3 weighs almost exactly the same as its predecessor—which in svelte spec was 3262 pounds on our scales—but has a stiffer body shell.
the gt3 continues to use a naturally aspirated 4.0-liter version of porsche's 9a1 flat-six. that means six independent throttle bodies and a 9000-rpm rev limiter, plus—we're making an assumption here—a soundtrack that encourages its driver to push it to redline as often as possible. peak output is 502 horsepower at 8400 rpm and 346 pound-feet of torque at a lofty 6250 rpm. porsche does not expect this to be the last 911 with a naturally aspirated engine, but ultimately this decision isn't up to them as it is ultimately in the hands of the regulators.
the standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission carries over from the prior gt3, saving 40 pounds compared to the eight-speed unit in other 992-generation 911s. it also replaces the 911's nubby gear selector with a more conventional-looking lever that allows for manual gear selection (there are shift paddles as well). but if you plan to pick the gears yourself, it'll be the optional six-speed manual that you really want. performance is barely changed over the 2017 gt3: porsche is claiming a 3.2-second zero-to-60-mph time for the pdk and a 3.7-second time with the stick. (we ran the old car through that benchmark 0.2 second quicker, manual or auto.) top speed is 197 mph with the pdk and 198 mph with the manual. reining in all that speed are brake rotors built for a feast. rotors measuring 16.1 inches in diameter are fitted to the front axle whether you opt for the standard cast-iron set or the pricey carbon-ceramic set—a.k.a. pccb—of stoppers.
bigger differences should emerge on racetracks, where the new suspension and aero improvements will pay lap-time dividends. porsche confirms the new gt3 lapped the nürburgring nordschleife in less than seven minutes. in fact, with a 6:59.927, it is less than a handful of hundredths below the hallowed mark. and if you're well versed in 'ring lore, you'll balk when we say this is faster than the 6:57 and 6:56 laps set by the 991.2 911 gt3 rs and 918 spyder. those lap times were set using the old benchmark that wasn't an actual complete lap. using the old standard, the new 992 gt3 turned a 6:55.2.
to lap that quick, though, you'll need the optional michelin pilot sport cup 2rs, as pilot sport cup 2s come standard on 20-inch front and 21-inch rear wheels.
we can safely predict the gt3 will cost more than the $145,650 porsche asked for the last version, and that there will be no shortage of willing buyers—and envious fans—when deliveries begin in the fall.