The Porsche 911 GT3, which will also be available in an RS version as of autumn 2006, is the outstanding link between a road-going sports car and a race car for the track. Conceived, designed and built for supreme driving dynamics, the drivetrain, suspension and aerodynamics of the car provide a unique synthesis of everyday driving qualities and thoroughbred racing technology.
The heart of the new Porsche 911 GT3 is, of course, the six-cylinder boxer engine which now offers even greater performance following further refinement for even more power and muscle. Developing specific output of 84.7kW or 115.3bhp per litre, this supreme power unit ranks right at the top of all normally-aspirated engines in cars homologated for road use. This performance is the result of a far-reaching process of ongoing development seeking to increase engine output without increasing the size of the engine itself. Displacing exactly 3.6 litres, the six-cylinder featured in the new 911 GT3 capitalises in full on the displacement limit allowed in its category of motorsport, developing 305kW (415bhp) at 7,600rpm and reaching a maximum engine speed of 8400rpm. Again, this figures places the six-cylinder right at the top among the ranks of production cars homologated for the road.
Over and above the high-speed engine concept, further optimised air flow into the six-cylinder power unit makes an important contribution to the car’s output and performance. Enlarged in diameter from 76 to 82mm (2.99 to 3.23 inches), the throttle butterfly reduces flow resistance and improves the charge cycle. The new, variable intake manifold made of aluminium comes with two connection pipes featuring resonance butterflies between the air collectors on the two rows of cylinders. Carefully and precisely interacting with one another, these control flaps ensure both a broad and powerful torque curve across a wide rev range as well as immense maximum output.
The exhaust system of the new 911 GT3 is also designed for optimum flow conditions with resistance reduced to a minimum. Despite this sophisticated, cutting-edge technology, the overall weight of the exhaust system is down by approximately 10kg or 22lb. The system consists of fan-type manifolds, two individually controlled pre-silencers, and an extra large main silencer. The exhaust flaps open and close as a function of engine load and speed, opening up a bypass around the pre-silencers when required in order to reduce exhaust gas counter-pressure to a minimum.
The six-speed gearbox featured as standard keeps gearshift travel to a minimum and matches the fast-revving power unit ideally thanks to extra-short increments from second to sixth gear. A shift-up display lighting up in the rev counter shortly before the engine reaches the gearshift points helps the driver find the optimum transition from one gear to the next.
Just how well the engine and gearbox are matched is borne out by some straightforward facts and figures: the 911 GT3 accelerates from 0-100km/h (62mph) in 4.3 seconds and reaches 160km/h or 99mph from standstill in 8.7 seconds. Top speed, in turn, is an impressive 310km/h or 192mph.
Equipped with PASM Porsche Active Suspension Management for a particularly sporting set-up, the new 911 GT3 comes for the first time with active suspension. The two damper programs at the driver’s disposal comprise the Standard mode which corresponds to the former passive suspension and the new Sports mode which reduces body movement to an absolute minimum for an even higher standard of dynamic performance particularly on tracks with a smooth surface. And for racing purposes the chassis and suspension of the GT3 can naturally be set up individually as required on each circuit.
To transmit the full potential of the engine and suspension to the road at all times, the 911 GT3 comes on specially developed 19-inch sports tyres running on 8.5 and 12-inch-wide light-alloy rims. Brake disc diameter front and rear, in turn, is 350mm or 13.78 inches. At the front the discs are retarded by six-piston callipers, while four-piston caliper act on the rears.
Newly configured brake force distribution now conveys even more brake power to the rear axle right from the start when applying the brakes, thus reducing stopping distances even further. And as an option, the 911 GT3 is available with PCCB Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes. Brake disc diameter on PCCB is 380mm or 14.96inches at the front and 350mm or 13.78 inches at the rear.
The new 911 GT3 comes with a comprehensive package of special features for superior traction at all times. The limited-slip differential, for example, offers asymmetric limited-slip action of 28 percent under load and 40 percent in overrun. The new, on-demand, Traction Control carried over from the Carrera GT serves additionally to ensure safe traction particularly on wet surfaces. To provide such superiority, Traction Control combines three electronic control systems with one another: ABD Automatic Brake Differential, ASC Automatic Slip Control, and EDC Engine Drag Control.
The new 911 GT3 also sets new, unprecedented standards when it comes to aerodynamics. Although the car develops superior downforce on both axles at all speeds, the sporting design and contours of the body ensure an outstanding drag coefficient of just 0.29. This superiority is made possible by a number of new features including a revised upper air discharge vent on the central radiator, smooth panels covering the underfloor of the car for optimum air flow, and the newly designed rear wing.
The interior of the new 911 GT3 is based on the current 911 Carrera models, but additionally features high-quality, sophisticated alcantara lining even in standard trim. As an option the sports seats fitted as standard may be replaced straight from the factory by lightweight bucket seats made of carbon-fibre, reducing the weight of the entire seat system to less than half the original figure. A wide range of further options then allows the customer to personalise his car in virtually every respect, choosing features extending all the way from leather upholstery to a Clubsport Package for motorsport events.
The GT3 RS is distinguished by its performance capability and an unadulterated driving experience similar to that of a racing car. But while particularly suited for use on the track, the car also meets all requirements for road-legal sports cars.
The reference "RS" will quicken the pulse of Porsche connoisseurs. Models such as the legendary Carrera RS 2.7 of 1972 and the 1991 Type 964 911 RS were also sports cars that stood out on account of their extreme degree of maneuverability and handling. That tradition is continued with the new 911 GT3 RS. In common with its predecessors, it provides an homologation model for use in a range of racing series.
The exceptionally powerful, normally aspirated engine boasts a displacement of 3.6-litres to generate 305kW (415bhp) at 7,600rpm. Maximum revs are reached at 8,400rpm. The power output per litre of engine capacity is 115.3bhp. These figures are shared with the recently-announced 911 GT3, but bespoke drivetrain components in the RS ensures it puts in an even better performance. Thanks to a close-ratio six-speed transmission with a single-mass flywheel and 20kg lower vehicle weight, the engine revs up even more freely, thus enabling the 911 GT3 to sprint from zero to 100kph (62mph) in 4.2 seconds. That’s one tenth of a second faster than the GT3. And it takes just 13.3 seconds to hit 200kph (124mph). Maximum speed is 310kph (187mph).
One characteristic of the new RS is the body, which is 44mm wider at the rear (a legacy from the Carrera 4 models with which it shares its shell) by comparison with the 911 GT3. The muscular-looking rear end conceals a wider track that not only improves directional stability but also increases the potential cornering grip of the two-seater coupe.
Despite its specialised body, the RS is 20kg lighter than the GT3, weighing in at just 1375kg. This weight-saving was achieved by the use, amongst other solutions, of an adjustable carbon fibre wing, the use of a plastic engine cover and a lightweight plastic rear window. As a consequence, the corresponding engine power to kerb weight ratio is over 300bhp per tonne.
With a view to the registration regulations for the important GT motor racing championships as future fields of application, the road version of the GT3 RS features technical attributes that will also appear in the racing version. These solutions will include the design of the entire wheel carrier and split wishbones on the rear axle, in addition to the carbon fibre components of the body.
The interior of the 911 GT3 RS lives up to the vehicle’s sporting aspirations: two lightweight bucket seats made of carbon-fibre composite materials come as standard, together with a bolt-in roll cage and pre-wiring for a battery master switch. A six-point seatbelt for the driver and a fire extinguisher are also provided. Internal trims are black, with the roof lining, steering wheel and gear stick trimmed in high-quality Alcantara leather.
The available exterior paint finishes are Arctic Silver metallic or Black; as an option, the GT3 can also be obtained in Orange or Green. All vehicle insignia and the wheels themselves are styled in orange or black to contrast with the body paintwork.
The retail price for the 911 GT3 RS is £94,280, including a Porsche Vehicle Tracking System (VTS), a sophisticated vehicle security package approved to Thatcham Category 5 standard, and a Porsche Driving Experience programme.