The next Porsche 911 GT3 RS has been spied at the Nurburgring and even let out of the bag in the form of a scale model but these are the first pictures of the complete 2015 Porsche 991 GT3 RS in finished form.
As their relatively low quality shows, these aren’t hand-out pictures. Instead they’re the photos used to patent the car’s design elements, which include a host of changes when compared to any existing version of the 991.
Normally such images, while filed with patent offices well in advance, aren’t published until well after a car’s official launch. But it seems someone has slipped up in this instance, giving us an early sneak peek at the new 2015 Porsche GT3 RS.
Porsche 911 GT3 RS: the patent pictures
So, what do they tell us? It’s clear that virtually every panel is new, including the double-bubble roof to give more headroom for helmeted drivers. There's a new front bonnet with a distinct dip in the middle leading to an even more extreme version of the 'regular' 911 GT3’s front panel, complete with a larger splitter.
A wider track has led to distinctive front wings that bulge out more than any other 991 this side of the race-only RSR. The gills above the front wheels emphasise the change and presumably help to reduce pressure inside the wheel wells, just like the slatted air outlets on old flat-nose 911s and 935s. Interestingly, these have been covered with disguise panels on every prototype spotted testing so far to keep the detail hidden from prying eyes.
The old 997 GT3 had a narrow body, leaving the 997 RS to use the wider Carrera 4 shell. Today's 991 comes in three sizes: regular Carrera, 991 GT3 using the C4 body and the RS and Turbo's widest silhouette.
Turbo-style body for 2015 GT3 RS
While the Turbo-style rear wings, complete with air intakes, might give the impression that this could be a turbocharged GT2 model rather than a GT3 RS, videos of the car on test at the Nurburgring have been accompanied by a soundtrack that befits a high-revving normally aspirated engine rather than a muffled turbo flat six.
There are twin, central exhausts at the back, just like those on the standard 911 GT3. Rear wing intakes have traditionally been reserved for Turbo models, but the current, normally aspirated RSR racer already has them and it seems the RS is going to follow suit. At the rear, the high-rise wing, with a smaller ducktail underneath, is also similar to the RSR’s.
How powerful is the Porsche 991 GT3 RS likely to be?
Even with engine tweaks to take its power beyond the 469bhp of the GT3, the RS isn’t likely to be able to match the Turbo S – currently the most powerful of the 991 clan with 552bhp. Something in the region of 500bhp is likely, and the weight savings of the RS mean it’s likely to outperform any other off-the-shelf, roadgoing 991 derivative in acceleration while the race-style aerodynamics will also make it unbeatable around corners.
And to answer the inevitable question, no, there won’t be a stick-shift version – the RS is all about performance, and that means a seven-speed PDK paddle-shift 'box will be the only transmission offering.
Weight will be trimmed everywhere: a new titanium exhaust will be fitted to the RS, and a new lithium battery is in development - with enough juice to power the electrically assisted four-wheel steering system.
Andreas Preuninger, Porsche's head of GT production cars, told CAR: 'We've opened up a wider field of usability with the new GT3, so maybe that gives us more reason to push the RS towards a more extreme side. The differentiations between the two models has always been increasing, and it's going to be like that in the future.'
Read our full interview with Porsche's Andreas Preuninger here.
Porsche 991 GT3 RS: prices, specs
At the moment, there’s no official word on the car’s price or release date. The old 997 GT3 RS was around 20% more expensive than the GT3; similar maths would put the new one at around £120,000.
Although these patent pictures have now leaked suggesting the official launch can’t be far away, CAR magazine understands the GT3 RS is a 2015 car. Looks like we'll have to wait a while longer to see the hard-core 911 variant favoured by many enthusiasts.