We all know that the Porsche 911 has an enviable history in competition. However, though 'motorsport' and '911' might conjure up images of early cars on the great road races or iconic rallies, don't forget about the Cup cars in that heritage. Since 1990 Porsche has made 4,251 of them for the various Mobil 1 Supercups and Carrera Cups across the world. With this new 992 GT3 Cup, the plan is to break through the 5,000 threshold - as well as introduce Carrera Cup racing to North America for the very first time.
While many will see what they expected of a 992 race car, there are a host of notable tweaks under the skin to distinguish this new car. Porsche says the project aims were to "further improve performance, achieve a more aggressive design, easier handling and greater durability with less outlay in terms of time and maintenance." And although 510hp at 8,400rpm from the 4.0-litre flat-six is an obvious example of that - up 35hp and, interestingly, 900rpm from the 991 peaks - there's a lot more to the new car than just sheer power.
It uses what Porsche calls a 'turbo-spec lightweight body' for the first time, making the Cup wider than ever. That additional width means fatter tyres can be fitted, with 12-inches possible at the front and 13-inches on the rear axle, said to bring "a positive effect on the handling and driveability of the racing car." Another significant inclusion for this 992 Cup, as for the upcoming production GT3, is the use of double wishbones on the front axle, replacing the MacPherson strut used on all previous version. This should provide "more precise turn-in behaviour" as well as a "better feeling for the front axle". Interestingly, Porsche has now ditched hydraulic steering for the 911 Cup car, with electro-mechanical steering taking its place. Expect all the racers to be whingeing about the car has lost its traditional 911 feel soon enough...
The new, wider body is also fitted with updated aero parts, yielding "noticeably more aerodynamic downforce." That swan neck rear spoiler is another shared element between GT3 road and race car, and the new front apron has been adapted specifically for motorsport use. The body itself is markedly lighter than before: where the old Cup car was 70 per cent steel and 30 per cent aluminium, this 992 is 30 per cent steel and 70 per cent aluminium. Overall dry weight is 1,260kg.
There's more, too. The 992 Cup can run on synthetic fuel, the Rubber Switch Panel inside is heavily influenced by the 919 Hybrid, the new brake calipers make a pad change quicker and even the fire extinguisher system is more efficient. This is a much more thorough overhaul of the Cup car than it might seem, and with the data logger and control units moved from the passenger footwell, there's even chance now for a second occupant to be harnessed in to see what the fuss is all about.
The new 911 GT3 Cup is on sale to race teams now, priced at 225,000 Euros plus the applicable local taxes. It'll reach customers in February, an ex-works car now delivered with a complete accessory kit ensuring it's ready to race immediately. For the 2021 season, the 992 will be used in the Mobil 1 Supercup, plus the Carrera Cup series in Germany, France, Asia, Benelux and North America. Expect it in the UK competition from 2022.
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