With the 997 series in full production, Porsche is preparing to roll out even more new 911-based vehicles in the next year and a half. The first fruits of the company’s labors will be the highly anticipated 911 GT3, as can be seen in these spy shots.
At first glance, the GT3 is distinguished from a standard 911 through its lower ride height, a prominent double deck rear spoiler and an air dam which practically kisses the ground. This latter feature cools the radiator via three large air intake ducts.
In the 911 model range, the abbreviation GT3 stands for pure, unadulterated driving pleasure. With its uncompromising dynamics, this model impresses not only in normal day-to-day driving but also on the racetrack. The 305-kW (415-bhp) 3.6-liter flat-six engine produces a specific output of 84.7 Kilowatts (115.3 bhp) per liter of displacement. This performance places the new-generation GT3 in its displacement class at the pinnacle of road-legal production sports cars with naturally aspirated engines.
It uses the same 3.6-liter flat-six as the standard Carrera, but larger throttle bodies and a freer-flowing exhaust allow it to send up to 409 horsepower and 298 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission and a variable limited-slip differential. And they aren’t just any wheels, they measure 19 inches in diameter and come wrapped in 305/30 rubber.
Underneath the big rims are brake rotors over 13 inches in diameter, front and rear, with six-piston calipers in front, four-piston binders in back. Porsche’s ceramic composite brakes are available as a big-ticket option for serious weekend racers.
There are substantial suspension upgrades as well. This is the first GT3 model to use Porsche’s Active Suspension Management (PASM), a system that allows for two driver-adjustable levels of sport. Hitting the dash button varies the throttle sensitivity, damper settings, brake calibrations, and stability control systems. On the standard 911, it goes from comfortable to firm. On the GT3, it goes from firm to mouthpiece-required stiff.
You can opt for a set of factory-approved, carbon-fiber racing seats which are half the weight of the standard buckets if the standard setup’s claimed 4.3-second 0-to-60 time and 192 mph top speed aren’t fast enough for you. Alcantara trim covers most of the interior, and that too can be changed of course. All will be in addition to the $106,000 base price. Deliveries start in August.
The six-cylinder engine reaches its nominal output at 7,600 rpm. At 8,400 rpm, the engine speed limit again lies 200 revolutions higher than for the previous model. This makes it a world leader in its engine-size class. In addition to this high engine speed concept, the optimized airflow rate considerably improves performance. This is made possible by the variable intake system with a throttle valve enlarged from 76 to 82 millimeters, the optimized cylinder heads and an exhaust system with low backpressure.
The driver has a revised six-speed transmission at his disposal. It impresses with its very short gearlever travel and, thanks to the lower ratios of gears 2 to 6, ideally complements the racy engine.
New for the GT3 is a change-up display, which lights up on the rev counter shortly before the relevant engine speed is reached. It provides an additional signal at the best time to change gear. The measured values prove just how well the engine and gearbox are harmonized: the GT3 accelerates from 0 to 160 mph in 4.3 seconds, and reaches 160 km/h from a standing start in 8.7 seconds. Its top speed is 186 mph.
The new 911 GT3 boasts an active chassis for the first time. Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) offers two sporty chassis in one: the basic configuration is largely similar to that of the previous model and is suitable for driving on alternating road surfaces. In sport mode, the system switches to harder damping, thereby enabling even better dynamism on the racetrack.
For the best-possible transmission of engine power to the road, the GT3 is equipped with a comprehensive traction package, which includes not only the standard-equipment 19-inch sports tires but also a mechanical limited slip differential. In addition, the new electronic Traction Control adapted from the Carrera GT high-performance sports car ensures safe traction under any driving conditions. It features traction-slip and drag-torque control functions, and can be switched off completely if required.
Regardless of whether the enthusiast wishes to drive the new Porsche 911 GT3 at Clubsport events on the track or in normal road traffic - in either case the car’s dynamism and performance is simply mind-boggling. The reason, quite simply, is that the normal-aspiration power unit offers maximum output of no less than 305 kW (415 hp) from 3.6 litres, marking a record level among production sports cars. Starting in autumn 2006, the GT3 will also be available as an RS version.
Consistent, all-round improvement for supreme performance
The six-cylinder power unit of the GT3 reaches its maximum output at 7600 rpm, its maximum engine speed limit is 8400 rpm. Again, these figures place Porsche’s flat-six power unit right at the top in the world of production sports cars. And apart from this high-speed engine concept only made possible by consistently reducing the moving masses in the engine, further optimisation of air flow also makes a significant contribution to the increase in output. Variable intake manifold length together with the throttle butterfly measuring 82 millimetres 3.23" in diameter, optimised cylinder heads and the exhaust system with lower counter-pressure are the essential ingredients significantly reducing flow resist-ance versus the former model and once again improving the cylinder charge cycle.
Optimised exhaust gas system
An extra-large main silencer with central tailpipes and two pre-silencers controlled via the exhaust gas butterflies reduce the exhaust gas counter-pressure. Compared with the former model, overall capacity of the new exhaust system is up by no less than 12 litres. And at the same time the 911 GT3 not only fulfils all noise and exhaust emission limits under the Euro 4 and LEV II standards, but also offers an incomparable sound of sporting performance.
Six-speed manual gearbox with gear increments tailored to the car
The manual six-speed gearbox now comes with even shorter transmission ratio increments taking the wider speed range of the GT3 power unit into account. On the road or track, this means acceleration from 0-60 mph in just 4.3 seconds, with the GT3 charging on to 160 km/h or 99 mph in 8.7 seconds overall. Top speed is 310 km/h or 192 mph.
Active suspension for an even wider range of driving dynamics
With the active PASM suspension conceived also for motorsport, the new GT3 offers two sporting set-ups in one: The Standard set-up is fundamentally the same as on the former model, and is most suitable for roads with bumpy, unsmooth surfaces. In the Sports mode the system switches over to a firmer damper setting particularly well suited for track racing on a smooth, flat surface.
Traction improved to an even higher level
Highly efficient interaction of the sports tyres featured as standard, on the one hand, and the mechanical/electronic limited-slip differential, on the other, enables the driver to use all the power and muscle of the engine on the road, enjoying maximum traction at all times. Masterminded by an electronic "brain", the Traction Control offers two different control maps and may also be deactivated completely - and, in addition, it features both wheel spin and drag force management for extra smoothness.
Perfect aerodynamic balance
The new GT3 is naturally built for superior safety even at very high speeds. Powerful downforce is therefore ensured by both the front air dam and the rear wing, with the sporting design and shape of the body reducing the car’s drag coefficient to a very low 0.29.
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 consistently 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 now able to offer yet another superlative achievement following further refinement for even more power and muscle: Developing specific output of 84.7 kW or 115.3 bhp per litre, this supreme power unit ranks right at the top of all normal-aspiration engines in cars homologated for road use. This supreme performance is the result of a consistent, 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 305 kW (415 bhp) at 7600 rpm and reaching a maximum engine speed of 8400 revs. Again, this figures places the six-cylinder right at the top among the ranks of production cars homologated for the road.
New intake system with two resonance butterflies
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 supreme output and performance. Enlarged in diameter from 76 to 82 millimetres (2.99 to 3.23"), the throttle butterfly reduces flow resistance and improves the charge cycle to an even higher standard than before. 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 "beefy” torque curve throughout a wide speed range as well as supreme maximum output.
Smooth-flowing exhaust system with individual control flaps
The exhaust system of the new 911 GT3 is also designed for optimum flow conditions with resistance reduced to a minimum. 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 by-pass around the pre-silencers when required in order to reduce exhaust gas counter-pressure to a minimum.
Six-speed manual gearbox with extra-short gear increments
The six-speed gearbox featured as standard keeps gearshift travel to a minimum and forms an ideal team with the fast-revving power unit thanks to extra-short increments from second to sixth gear. Together with the higher engine speed when shifting gears due to the enhanced high-speed concept of the engine, the flow of power from one gear to another is even better than before. 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 to one another is borne out clearly by some straightforward facts and figures: The GT3 accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 4.3 seconds and reaches 160 km/h or 99 mph from a standstill in 8.7 seconds. Top speed, in turn, is an impressive 310 km/h or 192 mph.
Featuring active suspension for the first time
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 corresponding in its features to the former passive suspension and the Sports mode reducing 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.
Extra-large wheels and brakes
To convey the potentials of the engine and suspension to the road for full power, performance and traction at all times, the GT3 comes on specially developed 19-inch sports tyres. Brake disc diameter front and rear, in turn, is 350 millimetres or 13.78". At the front the discs run in six-piston, at the rear in four-piston callipers. 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 naturally available with PCCB Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes.
More traction with limited-slip differential and Traction Control
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 per cent under load and 40 per cent in overrun. The new, on-demand Traction Control carried over form 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.
Air resistance reduced to a minimum
The new 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 features optimised to an even higher standard than before, including the upper air discharge vent on the central radiator, the underfloor of the car covered by smooth panels for optimum air flow, and the newly designed rear wing.
Superior equipment with sports options
The interior of the new 911 GT3 is based on the current 911 Carrera models, but 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 approximately 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.