Porsche has finished testing with the GT3 Cup version of its current 992 911, the race car that will succeed the 991.2 version in the 2021 season. While the track machine has closer ties with the roadgoing GT3 than even before, the development and testing of the Cup car ran independently on race tracks all over Europe, where technicians and drivers alike were tasked with extracting maximum usability and performance from the new package.
The 992 car is said to be a big step forward, not least because - as we know from the road car - the structure itself is five per cent stiffer before modification. Porsche has remained tight lipped on details of the 2021 Cup car's powertrain, but a 4.0-litre naturally aspirated flat-six seems inevitable, keeping the GT3-badged road and race machines closely tied. No less important, atmospheric power provides race teams with a proven recipe that, since the Cup lineage was born in 1990, has continually evolved, and produced 4,251 examples.
In fact, both iterations of the 991 generation 911 saw GT3 Cup sales grow, with 673 and 737 units produced respectively. Naturally, Porsche very much wants to keep up this trend in the 992, so its year-long development has included the building of a primary prototype, nicknamed TC01 and used in the windtunnel, followed by a sprint prototype and then a long-distance machine. Lessons and data from each were combined to create the pre-production prototype you see here, with Le Mans retiree and Porsche driver Jorg Bergmeister's stating that the GT3 Cup "has taken a giant leap forward".
That ought to be music to the ears of professional squads and privateer entrants alike, with Porsche's new racer intended both for its one-make series and also races the world over, including demanding endurance ones like the 24 Hours of Nurburgring. Indeed, the car has spent much of its development time simulating these sorts of events, while also being subjected to high-speed runs at Monza and laps on the Lausitzring's technical layout.
Expect to hear plenty more from Porsche about its progress with the production phase before competition restarts in 2021. After a season of uncertainty, next year appears to signal a return to normality - at least in terms of calendar fixtures - and therefore the perfect opportunity for the 992 Cup car to hit the ground running. It also coincides with the arrival of the firm's roadgoing GT3, a car that in rear wing alone does a good job in aligning itself with the motorsport programme.
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