For as long as there’s been GT3 racing, there’s been a Porsche 911 in it. So the arrival of a new one is a big deal, especially when the 992-based GT3 R looks like this. Black is never a great colour to photograph, but it does make the new Porsche race car look mean as hell. Imagine those red lights blazing in your rear-view mirror…
The significant news for this GT3 R is under the hood; Porsche hadn’t confirmed the engine size in its teasers, and now we know all the juicy details. This car now shares a dry-sumped 4.2-litre engine flat six (4,194cc, in fact) with the GTE-spec RSR, which means a maximum output of 565hp and 9,250rpm potential. Which ought to sound pretty good, and shift along 1,250kg pretty well, even with Balance of Performance in play.
Additionally, the new engine is meant to be more about drivability than outright speed, with power and torque apparently optimised ‘across the entire rev range’. Porsche says this ensures the GT3 R is ‘better suited to gentleman drivers’ - always good to keep customers happy. Those gentlemen will also be pleased to know that engine overhaul intervals are now up to 70 hours of running, from 60. Power reaches the racetrack via a six-speed sequential derived from the GT3 Cup and an evolution of the old car’s carbon clutch.
Chassis upgrades for the 992 also aim to make this latest racer easier to drive, as well as offering more precise steering and reduced rear tyre wear. The introduction of a double wishbone front end, as per the road car, is almost guaranteed to have contributed to the steering improvements. Damping is by KW, again said to be evolved and better from before with five adjustment settings and a ‘blow-off function’ - if any gentleman racers out there know about that, please say.
The whole car focuses on optimising this and finessing that, it seems, from extending the wheelbase (from 2,459mm to 2,507) and nudging just a little bit more weight forward, to pinching steering bits from the RSR and further improving the traction control. The GT3 R’s steel brakes are from AP, 390mm at the front and 370mm behind, with three sets of pads offered: one for sprints and two long-distance options. Up to 12 hours racing is possible on one set of pads, incredibly, and fifth-generation ABS is said to reduce wear on tyres and brakes.
That wild look isn’t just for show, either, with usability again top of the list of priorities. Obviously downforce is increased from before without a drag penalty (the engine has even been tilted 5.5 degrees forward to make more diffuser room), but Porsche also claims that this 992 is less susceptible to disturbances from dirty air than before thanks to the revisions, which all racers will surely appreciate. ‘The result is greater aerodynamic stability in a wide range of racing scenarios. Moreover, this enhances driveability and ‘raceability’ as it also makes overtaking easier’ says the press release. Plus, of course, there’s a swan neck spoiler to match your road-going GT3.
The interior follows a similarly obsessive approach to infinitesimal gains. This sort of thing, for example: ‘The pivot hinges of the six-point safety harness were reinforced and the Porsche specialists took another close look at the belt buckle: the tongues now slide even faster into the clasp via special ramps – which save about a second during pit stops for driver changes.’ Of course, you ask any racer, any real racer, and it doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile - winning’s winning. And a second could be all the difference. The seat is now closer to the centre of the car, the information displays are now from the Cup and - this being a Porsche and all - there are plenty of options for GT3 R buyers to choose from. There’s an endurance package, for example, with illuminated race numbers, interior lighting and a drinks bottle holder.
There isn’t a price yet for the cupholder, though there is for the whole car: 511,000 euros, or very nearly £430,000 at the current exchange rate. Still, there’s plenty of racing possible for that outlay. As well as the Nurburgring Endurance Series, IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship, Porsche Sports Cup and British GT, GT3-spec cars will be eligible for Le Mans come 2024.
“We hit the bull’s eye with the enormously successful predecessor. Accordingly, the bar for its successor is high,” said Sebastian Golz, 911 GT3 R Project Manager. Which is one of the cooler job titles. “Our task was less about making the new 911 GT3 R even faster… For us, it was primarily about our customers being able to drive the racing car fast for longer. This requires durability and that’s why we focused predominantly on improved driveability.” Which all sounds tremendously sensible for a car that looks like a 911 from the underworld, but durability and driveability are what counts if this GT3 R is to continue with the 911’s endurance success. Having just been unveiled at the Spa 24, we’d expect Porsche will be gladly accepting deposits on a 2023 race car very soon. Powerfully built company director gentleman racers of PH, assemble!
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