Originally produced to satisfy homologation rules for FIA competition, the 911 GT3 has had an intrinsic connection to Porsche’s racing efforts since the model debuted in 1999. With the introduction of the 992-generation GT3, the shared DNA is more evident than ever. Yet Porsche has somehow managed to strike a balance between capability and pragmatism, resulting in a performance machine that will mercilessly hunt down apices on a track while delivering an enjoyable driving experience outside a curated road course.
But don’t think for a moment that the GT3 has gone soft. Developed alongside its racing counterparts by Porsche’s GT division, the new car’s sub-3,200 lb (1,451 kg) curb weight remains virtually unchanged from its predecessor despite the transition to the larger 992 platform thanks to a strong focus on reducing mass throughout the car. A new exhaust system saves 22 lbs (10 kg) here, a lithium iron phosphate battery shaves off a few pounds there—it all adds up. And that approach is a recurring theme in the 992 GT3.
New adjustable aerodynamic elements allow downforce to be increased by as much as 150 percent over the previous generation GT3 (known as the 991.2). And in a first for any road-going 911, the new GT3 adopts the 911 RSR racing car’s double-wishbone front suspension configuration to enhance handling precision. According to GT division boss Andreas Preuninger, the design improves contact patch stability as the suspension absorbs bumps and other imperfections in the road surface, allowing Porsche engineers to stiffen the chassis while retaining ride compliance. New adaptive dampers, which can react to road conditions in roughly half the time, further aid that mission.
But as the sole naturally aspirated model in the current 911 lineup, the engine is arguably the centerpiece of the GT3 formula. Ostensibly an updated version of the 4.0 L flat-six used in the 991.2 Speedster, its soaring 9,000 rpm redline is the stuff dreams are made of. Peak output numbers of 502 hp (375 kW) and 346 lb-ft 469 Nm) of torque are marginal increases over the previous generation, but the outgoing GT3 wasn’t exactly lacking for straight-line thrust. The 992 platform’s new electrical architecture allowed engineers to outfit the GT3 engine with six individual throttle bodies for even more immediate response.
That engine is paired with a seven-speed PDK automatic gearbox in the GT3, and the combination is capable of rocketing the rear-drive coupe to 60 mph from a standstill in 3.2 seconds. For those who like to row their own, however, a six-speed manual gearbox with automatic rev-matching is also available as a no-cost option. Our tester was outfitted with the latter, and we’d consider it worth the extra half-second it takes to reach that velocity. American Porsche buyers would seem to agree, as over 70 percent of them opted for three pedals with the last generation GT3.