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Bewinged beast: facelifted 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 RS spied

Published: 04 July 2017

► Facelift for 911 GT3 RS
► Spied testing in Germany
► Power increase to c. 525bhp

Days after the Porsche GT2 RS was unveiled at the 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed, our man with the long lens has snapped its (marginally) less sledgehammery brother, the GT3 RS.

The Porsche 911 GT3 has already been updated earlier this year, with a minor 991.2-generation facelift and a host of cumulative tweaks to performance, handling and refinement. You can read our review of that car here.

Now it’s the turn of the faster-still RS model to get an upgrade patch of its own. We caught it on test near the Nurburgring in Germany, bristling with cooling ducts and aero addenda to cool it down and stick it to the tarmac.

Click here for CAR's review of the existing Porsche 911 GT3 RS

What do the latest spy pictures tell us?

Like the regular GT3, there’s a new front bumper treatment. This test car appears to be fitted with the tail-lights and rear bumper from the current RS, but they’re likely to change for production.

Porsche GT3 RS: the new 2018 facelifted car

Gigantic Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres are still crammed beneath the arches, and the hallmark vents above the front wheels return – Porsche GT boss Andreas Preuninger says they practically double front-end downforce.

The 4.0-litre naturally aspirated flat-six’s power output is expected to climb to between 520-540bhp. The current GT3 RS is conservatively rated at 500bhp, a figure estimated at homologation.

Preuninger says in reality it develops something closer to 510-515bhp – ‘we always find something else in the [development] process.’   

Will the GT3 RS get a manual gearbox option, like the updated 911 GT3?

Pre-facelift, both the GT3 and the GT3RS were equipped with dual-clutch PDK paddleshift only, in keeping with their remit as the fastest, most track-focused GT3 variant.

New 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 RS spy photos near the Nurburgring

That’s changed for 2017, with the GT3 being offered with a manual gearbox as a no-cost option for those who want it – and the latest whispers from Weissach suggest the GT3 RS too will be offered with three pedals and a lever if you tick the right boxes on the order form.

Our sources suggest the new 911 GT3 RS will launch in March 2018, but we’re likely to see the car in full before the end of 2017, judging by our latest spy photos.

Meanwhile, work continues on the 911’s next generation of models, due in 2019 – click here for our scoop dossier on the Porsche 992.

Read all our Porsche car reviews

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, automotive design graduate, Radical champ