Further developments make the new 911 GT3 even better.
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