► A ride in the new Porsche GT3
► Onboard the 991.2 purists’ 911
► First impressions before full review
CAR magazine’s European editor Georg Kacher has been for an early ride in the new 2017 Porsche GT3, traditionally the purists’ model of choice in the 911 pack.
You can read the full seven-page feature in the April 2017 issue of CAR magazine, available on physical and digital newsstands now.
This is what we learned during our blast from Weissach into the Stuttgart and Pforzheim hinterland in the passenger seat of the new GT3.
1) Porsche has reneged on PDK-only transmissions for the GT3
Unlike the last GT3, which was twin-clutch auto or nothing, the new 991.2 version comes with a choice of manual or PDK. ‘The seven-speed PDK version is 0.5sec quicker off the mark and thus the better choice for trackway use,’ the boss of Porsche’s GT division Andreas Preuninger tells us. ‘But the manual gearbox makes for a more emotional 24/7 driving experience.’ The stick shift operates a six-speed gearbox with what feels like a quicker action than more humble seven-speed overdriven Carreras.
2) The non-turbocharged flat six kicks hard
‘For the first time, Porsche’s naturally aspirated flat-six matches its turbocharged sibling in terms of punch and urge,’ notes Kacher after his white-knuckle ride in the new GT3, during which he experiences the 0-62mph in 3.9sec claim on the open road. The inhouse 4.0-litre six-cylinder is closely related to the engine in the latest GT3 Cup racer and is an iteration of the last GT3 road car’s motor. Pepped up with modified pistons, bearings, crankcase and a dual-mass flywheel, power rises to 493bhp at a shrieking 8250rpm, while torque swells to 339lb ft at 6000rpm and maximum engine speed rises by 500rpm. Make no mistake, this car loves to rev…
3) The new Porsche GT3 no longer chunters at idle
The last GT3’s single-mass flywheel made for a noisy idle, Porsche admits. The new 2017 one ticks over much more smoothly, thanks to that dual-mass flywheel on the manual model. It reflects an increased focus on mechanical refinement.
4) The wing is so big it now has its own wing
The aero on the Porsche GT3 is worked hard to keep the familiar 911 silhouette squashed firmly into the tarmac. The 991.2 GT3 has the most delicately sculpted fixed rear spoiler, framed by black winglets designed to channel air for maximum effect. The Carrera 4’s wide body helps, as do ram-style air scoops inhaling air from the trailing edge of the rear window, vertical air curtains at the front end, a 25mm drop in ride height and a heavily sculpted front spoiler. Downforce is improved by up to 20%, says Porsche.
5) The 991.2 GT3 handles like a hero
Our ride alongside Porsche engineering chiefs suggests that the new GT3 has met its brief. The front end feels planted - you’ll trust it like your best mate, and the signals are that the purest of 911s hasn’t messed one jot with the brief of purity, feedback and clarity of response. The suspension is remarkably compliant considering the chunky 245/35 front and 305/30 rear Cup tyres - and the four-wheel steering lends an extra dose of agility and stability during high-speed cornering. We’ll be able to test these impressions when we get behind the wheel ourselves in a few weeks’ time.
6) It’s probably already sold out…
Porsche claims the new GT3 is not a limited-edition model, but privately admits there is a capacity limit in the competition car department where it will be built. Our sources indicate that most of the 3000-4000 GT3s likely to be made were spoken for even before the GT3’s debut at the 2017 Geneva motor show. Better be prepared to pay overs if your name isn’t on the list…
7) The new GT3 pioneers a new sporting niche for Porschekind
Our Kacher (below left, with Porsche GT chief Andreas Preuninger) was impressed by his ride in the new GT3. ‘I’m trying to figure out - as well as you can from the passenger seat - whether this new car is a toned-down RS, a more extreme GTS, a ninja Turbo or an extrovert 911 R. In truth it has an identity all its own: it’s a more emotional yet softer-edged GT 911, an accessible yet utterly involving road racer, a special yet perfectly docile sports car. It’s the most complete GT3 yet.’
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