Maximum emotion: the normally-aspirated GT3 revs to a howling 9,000rpm. Picture: SUPPLIED
Maximum emotion: the normally-aspirated GT3 revs to a howling 9,000rpm. Picture: SUPPLIED

The previous generation 911 GT3 was such an adept track car, it was difficult to believe Porsche could make the new one any better.

But here it is, fresh out of the box posting a Nurburgring lap time of 6:59.9 — a full 17 seconds quicker than its predecessor, and just 3.5 seconds slower than the outgoing GT3 RS (6min 56.4sec).

Uncovered internationally this week, the GT3 will start local deliveries in the fourth quarter of this year as the first GT model of the 992-generation 911. As per tradition it is a more hardcore, sporting version of the 911 with a high-revving normally-aspirated engine and track-bred handling. And yes, it’s available with a manual gearbox to satisfy the purists.

Developed together with Porsche Motorsport, the seventh-edition of the GT3 has double wishbone front axle instead of the MacPherson strut on the standard 911 Carrera, and a high-downforce swan-neck rear wing that originate from the 911 RSR race car.

The 4.0l six-cylinder flat six (boxer) engine produces 375kW of power and 470Nm of torque, and revs to an acoustically exuberant 9,000 rpm.

It’s all sent to the rear wheels via either a seven-speed PDK dual clutch auto gearbox or a six-speed manual. The PDK version’s quicker off the mark with a quoted 0-100km/h sprint of 3.4 seconds, with 3.9 seconds for the manual. The manual has a slightly higher 320km/h top speed (318km/h for the PDK) — both faster than the outgoing 312km/h Porsche GT3 RS.

Despite the lack of all-wheel drive, the driven rear wheels provide plenty of grip thanks to 315/30 tyres on 21-inch rims, and optionally available are the sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tyres on which the Nurburgring lap time was set.

The giant rear wing is adjustable for track-clawing downforce. Picture: SUPPLIED
The giant rear wing is adjustable for track-clawing downforce. Picture: SUPPLIED

Road-clawing ability is enhanced by two-stage electronic stability control, and Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV+) which ensures the grunt is always sent to the wheel with most grip — the PDK version by means of an electronic rear differential lock and the manual with a mechanical one.

The GT3’s ride height is lowered by 20mm compared to the regular 911 Carrera, and adjustable sports suspension with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) variable damping allows the car to be razor-sharp on racetracks while still useably comfortable in normal driving.

Rear-axle steering provides more agility in corners and better high-speed stability, while enlarged brakes (optionally ceramic composites) ensure epic stopping power.

The weight is about the same as the outgoing GT3 — at 1,418kg for the manual and 1,435kg for the PDK — despite the car having grown in size. Mass-saving was achieved by using lightweight carbon fibre reinforced plastic in the bonnet, rear decklid and rear wing, lightweight glass for the windows, forged light alloy wheels and a lightweight sports exhaust.

There are no rear seats, and their place can be taken by the roll cage that comes as part of the optional Clubsport package.

The prominent rear wing, a feature that has always made the GT3 so instantly recognisable, is adjustable and so is the front air splitter, allowing the car to be set up for either road or track use. In its most performance-oriented setup the car has around 150% more downforce than the outgoing GT3, and about 50% more in the street setting.

The cockpit features a new track screen which can reduce the digital displays to the left and right of the rev counter to essential information needed for track driving. It also includes a shift light derived from motorsport.

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