But both will eventually be usurped by mega-power hybrid model
T[/dropcap]he paint has barely dried on the basic 992 Carrera models, but Porsche is pressing on with all-new high performance variants including Turbo with a capital ‘T’, GT3 and GT2. As ever with products that have yet to be announced, nothing is official.
However, revelations from the LA Auto Show plus these fantastically realistic renders help to build a picture of what Porsche has planned for its premium 911 models based on the 992 platform.
To cut to the chase and answer perhaps the biggest question of all, development mules of the upcoming 992 GT3 have been captured on video circulating at various test tracks around Europe. Wouldn’t you know it, but they have been accompanied by the absolutely unmistakable howl of a screaming naturally aspirated motor and the characteristic sonic report of manual gear shifts. Contrary to numerous online rumours, therefore, the GT3’s stellar atmospheric engine lives to fight another day.
As it happens, Porsche’s GT boss Frank Walliser indicated at the LA show that the car would indeed be naturally aspirated, though he wouldn’t be drawn on its power output. However, he did give some insight into the car’s chassis. Speaking in LA, Walliser said the GT division had “some really cool ideas on the suspension side.” He also indicated that saving weight was a major priority and one reason why turbocharging isn’t a good fit. “Turbo adds another 40kg,” he said.
For future generations after the initial 992 GT3, however, Walliser does see a role for hybrid power. “Normally aspirated and hybrid fits together very, very well. The 918 Spyder was hybrid and normally aspirated. It’s the most emotional thing we have, and we have to stay emotional,” he explained. Given the mass increase of the standard 992, it’s good to hear that weight remains a priority for the new GT3. The new WLTP emissions regime will be making life hard for Porsche when it comes to the engine output of the GT3’s naturally aspirated engine, so keeping the weight off could well be key.
As for the Turbo and GT2 models, well, pick a number. The outgoing 911 Turbo S cranks out 580hp, while the GT2 RS develops a faintly preposterous 700hp. Their 992-based follow ups will almost certainly develop significantly more power. A 911 with the thick end of perhaps 800hp is a sobering thought. However, when it comes to power output, it looks like the upcoming hybrid 911 will be the real game changer.
It’s not due until Porsche gives the 992 a mid-life update for the 2023 model year. But Porsche’s head honcho Oliver Blume recently revealed Porsche’s intentions with the model. “The 911 plug-in must be a very strong performing car,” he said, “it will be the most powerful 911 we’ve ever had.” That the hybrid 911 is slated to be the most powerful model in the range shouldn’t be a surprise, of course, given that Porsche has applied just that strategy to the Panamera. Broadly speaking, Porsche is pitching electrification as the premium alternative to conventional combustion powertrains.
The GT models are coming. Expect the 992 GT2 (left) to be packing an 800bhp punch. Purists will prefer the 992 GT3 (above), which will retain its normally aspirated engine for now.