First look: Porsche 911 992 GT3
There are very few events that make the motoring enthusiast world sit up and take notice these days. New 1200hp/£2m hypercars are launched every other day and on the days in between it’s a new Ferrari, McLaren or Lamborghini. But one is always guaranteed to get attention – the launch of a new Porsche 911 GT3.
Ever since the first 996-generation 911 GT3 came out in 1999 it just captured the imagination and interest of everyone with even an ounce of petrol running through their veins. The highly strung 3.6 litre flat-six engine was based on the unit used in the 962 and 911 GT1 race cars and was designed by the man who gave his name to it – Hans Mezger. It produced 355hp and revved to 8000rpm, which if you don’t know, sounds amazing. The bodywork had additional aero, parts were lightened and it was basically as close as a Cup car for the road as you could get. Since then, there has been two iterations of each 911, getting even better, more accomplished and more appealing to drivers ever since.
And so we come to 2021 where Porsche has now launched the new 992-generation GT3. Now arguably this is the hardest job Porsche has had for a long time, as the 991.2 GT3 is quite simply one of, if not the best supercars of the last 10yrs. The combination of looks, driving and engine are unbeatable and are a revelation with ‘only’ 500hp when supercars now seem to have 700bhp as a minimum. But the GT3 is all about driver engagement, so outright power has never been the goal.
So it’s no real surprise then, that the 992 GT3 has the same engine (no longer a ‘Mezger’ as he’s passed on, but still a GT-only lump), now producing 510hp from the 4.0 litre naturally aspirated flat-six. Like the 991.2 GT3 this fabulous engine revs all the way to an ear-splitting 9000rpm as well, so you get to wring the engine right out to the redline through every gear getting extreme aural pleasure along the way. The new exhaust note isn’t quite as spine-tingling as the previous generation sadly, but we can thank particulate filters for that and pretty much every new car on sale suffers the same fate.
The Porsche 991 GT3 was a very pretty car, with the normal width 911 body (not the wider one form the Turbo) and a sleek front end – the 992 arguably is not as pretty, but more functional. This time, Porsche has gone all out on aerodynamics, as without a load more power the only way they could get the GT3 to go quicker around a track was by making it stick to the tarmac better – and they managed it too, generating 385kg of downforce which is 150% more than before. This is in the most aggressive settings though, as the spoilers are adjustable.
Speaking of which, that new rear wing has to be most standout feature visually – a pure racing-inspired swan-neck spoiler that sits higher and is wider than before. Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually the underside surface of any rear spoiler that actually does the work, so by mounting the spoiler on the top surface you get cleaner air and more downforce. There’s even a little ducktail spoiler – a duckling spoiler? – below the larger wing which joins the little aero touches all around the car. The rear bumper houses a huge diffuser, small winglets at the sides and vents above that to help hot air escape.
The nose has seen a lot of changes over the normal 992 as well, again all forced by aero needs. So the central lower bumper is one large black plastic intake, feeding air to the radiators, with ducting down the sides for the front brakes. The old vent at the leading edge of the bonnet seen on GT3s from 996 to 991 has gone, replaced by two ‘nostril’ vents either side of the Porsche badge. Look underneath and there’s a totally flat underside to direct clean air to the diffuser and loads of little aero parts for the brakes to aid cooling. It’s a very impressive attention to detail.
Next up on the list of improvements is weight saving – make a car lighter and those ponies can do a lot more. So there is a carbon fibre front and rear bonnet (and optional roof), forged wheels, thinner glass for the windows, a lightweight exhaust and a smaller, high performance lightweight battery which all help to make the 992 GT3 come in at 1435kg in PDK form – just 5kg more than the 991.2 GT3 despite the new car having a bigger body and wider track. Speaking of that gearbox, you can choose from the 7-speed PDK dual clutch ‘box, or a 6-speed GT manual gearbox at the same price which is refreshing – purely down to personal choice.
Arguably the biggest change for this 992 GT3 though is the front suspension – until now the GT3 has always has MacPherson struts at the front, but now there’s a race-inspired double wishbone setup entirely on ball joints. This usually means the suspension will be a lot more focused that normal which has been confirmed by early road tests of the car. Journalists have stated that it’s a much firmer ride than the 991.2 GT3, but the payoff being that it’s now so much more direct and reliable when going into a corner that you can throw it around the track with a whole level more confidence. The extra aerodynamics are felt in all but the very slowest corners too, pushing the GT3 into the tarmac and allowing mind boggling cornering speeds. Whether this is all a bit too much for the road has yet to be seen though as currently it has only been track driven.
It’s a staggeringly exciting car, the 992 GT3 – as has always been, a race car for the road and now even more so a track weapon too. Makes you wonder how extreme the GT3 RS will be.
But then just last week Porsche has revealed the GT3 Touring, which we first saw in the 991.2 model. That was a slightly softer setup, more leather inside and no big rear wing, with the manual gearbox being the only option. Well for the 992 GT3 Touring things have changed a little – the big wing has still gone, replaced by the normal 992’s pop-up wing. At the front the main difference is the large black plastic lower grille is now body coloured, which looks great on the darker colours but is a little jarring on say Racing Yellow or Guards Red. The suspension setup is the same too, which is surprising as most expected it to be softer, we’ll have to see how well it translates to the road. Another change is that you can have the Touring in manual or PDK for the first time too, it will be interesting to see the split between the two.
As before the GT3 is really aggressively priced, some say really under-priced for the car it is, at just under £130,000. But given how hard it is to get hold of a GT3 to your own spec from a dealer, that number is irrelevant. A 991.2 GT3 is still selling for over list price 3yrs down the line and the first 992 GT3 to come to market was up for over £300,000. It’s safe to say that after 6 months of deliveries, the second hand market is likely to settle to around £180-200,000 though, which if you ignore what the first owner actually paid, is about right for the type of car it is.
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