Who needs Turbos? GT3 is still naturally-aspirated, still surely the drivers’ choice. Here are five reasons why
1 IT HAS THE BEST START IT’S EVER HAD IN LIFE
The current-generation 992 platform is the strongest base the 911 GT3 has ever had to work from, literally. Its aluminium-intensive bodyshell (only 30 per cent of it is made from steel) and extensive use of precision die-cast aluminium parts, including the front and rear suspension mounts (key areas for any sports car, but particularly a GT3 given the increased loads), makes it the most torsionally rigid 911 yet. Helping still further on this front are the engine mounts – the flat-six is mounted directly to the chassis members. The upshot is a 5% increase in torsional rigidity on the (hardly floppy) 991 ’shell, together with a handy weight reduction. Upon this blank canvas, Porsche’s GT department will then have worked its magic, unencumbered by engineering straitjacketing and able to dip into Porsche’s motorsport expertise wherever it fancies: ‘Our leash is from here to America,’ GT division boss Andreas Preuninger told CAR earlier this year.
2 THE TURBO-FREE SIX GETS A STAY OF EXECUTION
While most of the 911 range is now turbocharged (and has been for some time), expect the GT3 to retain its bewitching 4.0-litre naturally-aspirated flat-six. While this crucial detail is yet to be officially confirmed by Porsche, but it makes perfect sense.
Porsche’s GT engineers went to great lengths to modify the engine for 2019’s 911 Speedster to cope with the latest emissions regulations (no mean feat), developing more power and retaining its 9000rpm redline despite the addition of suffocating petrol particulate filters. Slipping it into the GT3 is the logical next step.
‘It’s 10kg lighter and we didn’t lose any power. In fact we got 10bhp more!’ says Preuninger of the Speedster. ‘We used individual throttle bodies, which help a lot, but it wasn’t easy…’
3 IT’S STAYING IN SHAPE
While the 992’s platform spaces its wheels wider apart than ever before for standard Carrera models, for increased grip and stability, that doesn’t mean the GT3 will expand its tracks even further. Preuninger has promised the new 992 GT3 will be neither wider nor heavier than the outgoing GT3. That’s good news: threading a GT3 down a narrow, twisting road is one of the most special driving experiences going. Were it to grow broader it’d become something of a liability on UK B-roads…
4 THERE’S A VERSION FOR SHRINKING VIOLETS, TOO
Find the GT3’s trademark cloud-scudding wing a little OTT? As before, a more demure, wing-free Touring version is expected, and prototypes have already been spotted at play on the Nordschleife with an active pop-up tail in place of the fixed scaffolding at the rear. Last time around, the Touring was available only with a manual gearbox. Reading between the lines, that may have a second coming, although the ultimate RS version is likely to remain paddles-only.
Preuninger says demand for the manual only Cayman GT4 ‘proved the manual is still alive’. ‘That gave us the tailwind for the [manual-only] 911 R project, and for the [991 GT3] Touring,’ he says. ‘So it’s built up, step by step, and we’re now in a pretty good situation where everyone is pretty aware of the needs of the GT customer.’
5 EXPECT IT TO SOUND GREAT
Will the new GT3 sound as sharp as the previous car, the fabulous metallic shriek of which was a real USP? The Cayman GT4 has become a little more muffled since the advent of particulate filters. If that’s the case with the GT3, it won’t be for lack of effort. For the Speedster, the motors for active flaps in the exhausts were specially positioned in the airflow to survive the heat and allow more precise modulation of the exhausts’ vocal chords.
‘There will be stricter noise regulations to come in three years or more,’ Preuninger says. ‘It’s not really affecting the 992 GT3 – it’s for the cars that come after that. We will find solutions for them too. In my cars there won’t be any loudspeakers, believe me. Too heavy!’
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Big wing, big shoes to fill: there hasn’t been a duff GT3 yet.
OWNER’S VIEW ROB MUNRO-HALL CAR EDITOR 1997-1999
A manual gearbox is a reason to buy the car. I changed from a Gen 1 991 GT3 with a PDK gearbox for a Gen 2 manual to have that extra degree of involvement. The thought of a turbocharged GT3 isn’t heresy. Progress marches on, and modern turbo engines are interesting to drive. But I’m glad this one’s not a turbo yet. The final thousand revs to the redline in the old GT3 are really special. You’re not actually making more power after 8250rpm, but the sound…