The Porsche 911 GT3 has had six generation iterations in its two decades of existence
Porsche had unveiled the first version of its 911 GT3 sports car in March, 1999, at the Geneva Motor Show, making 2019 the 20th anniversary of the brand, which began a new era for sports car drivers. The Porsche 911 GT3 is claimed to embody the hallmarks of Porsche Motorsport more than any other 911 model in the company’s product line-up.
DEVELOPMENT & DEBUT
The Porsche 911 GT3 was developed by two-time World Rally Champion Walter Röhrl, race engineer Roland Kussmaul and experts from Porsche Motorsport at Weissach. This car brought race track agility to the road, and since its first generation model has become faster, and features more dynamic driving characteristics with every generation upgrade. The GT3 is the successor to the Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7, the company noted.
The 911 GT3 featured advanced racing technology, which continued the tradition that had begun in the 1970s with the 911 Carrera RS 2.7. However, the model was not given the designation ‘RS’ for Race Sport for the first time, but rather the name GT3, referring the GT class in which the motorsport versions were to compete. The 911 GT3 featured by a water-cooled, 3.6 l, six-cylinder boxer engine that delivered 360 hp of power. An important achievement of the car was in completing the 20.8 km Nürburgring Nordschleife in less than eight minutes with Walter Röhrl at the wheel, setting a new benchmark for street-legal sports cars. This brought about a great deal of reverence for the car.
While the engine of the Porsche 911 GT3 was exceptional by itself, it was complemented by a precisely-tuned overall package. The chassis was lowered by about 30 mm and the brakes upgraded. The six-speed manual transmission in the GT3 originated from the GT2. However, gearbox ratios, axle geometry, anti-roll bars and springs are capable of being customised depending on the circuit conditions. The car also features lightweight construction, which was prioritised ahead of comfort. A trademark feature that brings out the car’s motorsport origin was the fixed rear wing. An optional extra was the possibility of ordering the 911 GT3 as a Clubsport variant, which included a built-in roll cage.
SIX GENERATIONS IN SUCCESSION
The Porsche 911 GT3 continues to feature a naturally-aspirated engine, manual transmission and rear-wheel drive, continuing to remain as the most popular Porsche 911 among purists to date. The company noted that about 80 % of all 911 GT3 cars ever produced are regularly driven on race tracks across the globe.
The race versions of the Porsche 911 GT3 have also claimed multiple mentionable spots in motorsport history. The car has been credited with numerous class wins, in addition to many overall victories in major endurance races, including the 24 Hours of Spa, the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 24 Hours Nürburgring. The company accepts that a main success contributor to the 911 GT3 is the fact that innovations and experience gained from motorsport have been incorporated into the development of the road versions of the car.
Over the development of the six generations, the engine capacity, power output, as well as the overall technological prowess of the GT3 has improved drastically over time. The latest version of the Porsche 911 GT3 was launched in 2017. The focus of development had been on the six-cylinder boxer engine, with its displacement having been increased to 4 litres, and the power output at 500 hp. In this new iteration of the GT3, customers can choose between a manual six-speed transmission and PDK dual clutch gearbox. In addition, a Touring Package has also been made available, which replaces the fixed rear wing with an automatically extending spoiler.
RECENT PORSCHE INNOVATION
From the manner in which the German sports car manufacturer has been making developments in its automotive journey, it is clear that Porsche is upgrading its vehicles with the latest in mobility technology, while trying to maintain the purity offered in terms of driving experience. Porsche is also focussed on having its footprint in multiple vehicle segments, including SUVs, saloons and electric vehicles. In its path, it continues to offer as much control and experience to the driver as possible, since that is the basis on which Porsche cars have been built over the years.
Therefore, the ability to offer customers the latest innovations for driver assistance, connected driving, vehicle autonomy and outright performance is something that the company will continue to work on improving in times to come. The fact that it is continuing to offer existing models in newer generations and keeping them in production over decades is a testament to Porsche’s ability to innovate within its product range to keep customers engaged and loyal.
TEXT: Naveen Arul