Not rev­o­lu­tion

Fur­ther de­vel­op­ments make the new 911 GT3 even bet­ter.

Top Gear (Philippines) - - Contents - WORDS BY FERMAN LAO

In a world where the pur­suit of ul­ti­mate speed has re­sulted in more things be­com­ing au­to­mated to take human er­ror out of the equa­tion, it’s a pleas­ant sur­prise to see that Porsche is mak­ing avail­able, as a no-cost op­tion, a six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion on the up­com­ing 911 GT3.

Cer­tainly, it wasn’t an easy de­ci­sion for Porsche, an au­to­mo­tive brand with a long her­itage of cre­at­ing iconic sports cars. But for 2017, the big news for the new 911 GT3 isn’t the re­turn of the man­ual trans­mis­sion—rather, it’s that Porsche has im­proved the name­plate in so many ways that it’s im­pos­si­ble to high­light just one par­tic­u­lar fea­ture. And rightly so, given that a truly iconic car is far greater than the sum of all its parts. It also has to have the spirit of a great ma­chine whose sole pur­pose is to bring out the best of its driver.

Porschep­hiles and ca­sual ob­servers alike will note that the sil­hou­ette of the 911 is still prac­ti­cally the same since the very first pro­duc­tion Porsche, the 356, rolled out the fac­tory al­most seven decades ago.

The new 911 GT3 starts out with a more in­tu­itive and easy-to-use 360mm di­am­e­ter steer­ing wheel that feels nei­ther awk­wardly small nor cum­ber­somely over­sized. It also has 40mm of height and reach ad­just­ment. The Sports Seats Plus that come stan­dard have elec­tric height and back­rest ad­just­ments and man­ual for­ward/back ad­just­ment. An op­tional adap­tive ver­sion of th­ese seats is avail­able for those who want to find the per­fect fit eas­ily via 18-way power ad­just­ment. Car­bon­re­in­forced buck­ets are also avail­able for the race-ori­ented own­ers.

As men­tioned, there’s a six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion that’s the same as the one on the lim­ited-pro­duc­tion 911 R, for driv­ers who want to be more in­volved in the gear changes. Oth­er­wise, opt for the mo­tor­sports-de­rived seven-speed PDK that of­fers ul­tra-fast gear changes, and which even Mark Web­ber prefers. Al­can­tara leather cov­ers most of in­te­rior sur­faces that en­counter di­rect human con­tact.

Aside from the front airbags, there are twostage ad­vanced airbags to bol­ster the out­board sides of each seat in the event of a col­li­sion, as well as up­wardly de­ployed head airbags in each door. Avail­able at no ad­di­tional cost is a Club Sport Pack­age, which adds a roll cage bolted in be­hind the front seats, a driver-side six-point har­ness, a fire ex­tin­guisher, and pro­vi­sions for a bat­tery mas­ter switch.

Stan­dard brakes are 380mm in di­am­e­ter, with a two-piece ro­tor con­struc­tion for op­ti­mal weight and brak­ing per­for­mance. The monobloc alu­minum calipers, six pis­tons for the front and four pis­tons for the rear, are de­signed to re­sist de­for­ma­tion un­der heavy brak­ing loads, and come with a specif­i­cally matched brake booster. For those who de­mand more, there’s the op­tional Porsche Ce­ramic Com­pos­ite Brake or PCCB (410mm front, 390mm rear) to en­sure the short­est stop­ping dis­tances pos­si­ble un­der the most gru­el­ing con­di­tions. Be­ing half the weight of stan­dard discs of the same size, the PCCB re­duces un­sprung weight, re­sult­ing in bet­ter han­dling, road­hold­ing, and ride com­fort on less pris­tine roads.

The rear-axle steer­ing seems to mag­i­cally shorten and ex­tend the wheel­base by turn­ing the wheels counter to the front wheels at low speeds for im­proved ma­neu­ver­abil­ity, and keep­ing them in the same di­rec­tion at high speeds for bet­ter sta­bil­ity. It doesn’t ac­tu­ally change the wheel­base, but you’ll swear it feels that way. Han­dling is fur­ther en­hanced by dy­namic en­gine mounts that use mag­netic-fluid-filled en­gine sup­ports. Th­ese be­come com­pli­ant and soft on un­even roads, but stiffen up when the con­di­tions de­mand it to en­able max­i­mum per­for­mance and sta­bler han­dling in fast cor­ners.

The heart of the GT3 is a dry-sump-equipped 4.0-liter flat-six en­gine with di­rect-in­jec­tion, also shared with the 911 R. It’s a 9,000rpm mon­ster. The max­i­mum 493hp is gen­er­ated at 8,250rpm, while peak torque of 456Nm is achieved at 6,000rpm—with­out any form of su­per­charg­ing. The secret lies in the re­duc­tion of un­nec­es­sary en­gine-com­po­nent re­sis­tance. Do­ing away with hy­draulic valve lifters, to re­duce in­ter­nal oil pres­sure, net­ted a gain of al­most 10hp. Lubri­ca­tion to the bear­ings is in­ge­niously fed from in­side the crank­shaft to fur­ther re­duce in­ter­nal drag.

And the most ex­cit­ing de­tail about the new 911 GT3? It was born in Flacht, home of the Porsche Mo­tor­sport Cen­ter. It’s only fit­ting for the lat­est and great­est it­er­a­tion of this model.

‘The GT3 was born in Flacht, home of the famed Porsche Mo­tor­sport Cen­ter’

The 4.0-liter flat-six has a 9,000rpm red­line

05 03 04 The rear wing is fur­ther up and back for bet­ter down­force

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