Usually we see anniversaries coming from a mile away, however the 20th anniversary of Porsche’s venerable 911 GT3 blindsided us; let’s chalk it as much as “time flies while you’re having enjoyable.” Sure, 20 years have handed for the reason that legendary “GT3” badge first graced the sloping rear hatch of the 1999 911. To have a good time what’s arguably the purest ongoing translation of motorsports tech right into a street automobile, we’ve compiled the GT3’s historical past, technology over technology, to your perusal.
Earlier than the GT3
Shock, shock—the 911 GT3 was removed from Stuttgart’s first stripped-out, hunkered-down, motorsports-inspired 911. In some respects you possibly can hint the GT3’s lineage again greater than 50 years to the 1967 Porsche 911 R, an precise, real-deal competition-spec 911 that was extra track-ready than road authorized. After all, lots occurred within the 32 years between the primary 911 R and the 1999 GT3, in order sacrilegious as it could appear, let’s quick ahead over rennsport legends just like the 1973 Carrera RS 2.7, Carrera Clubsport, and 964 Carrera RS for the sake of relative brevity.
In 1995, Porsche launched the 993-generation Carrera RS, the ultimate RS-ified 911 earlier than the primary 996 GT3. Like RS fashions of yore, Porsche created the 993 Carrera RS primarily for homologation functions; on this case the three.Eight-liter Carrera RSR for the BPR GT3 and GT4 collection. In distinction to the refined and street-ready 996 GT3, the 993 Carrera RS is punishing, extra akin to a contemporary GT3 RS than the common base-level GT3.
A strong 296 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque come from a competition-ready three.Eight-liter naturally aspirated air-cooled flat-six. Except for the additional Zero.2 liter of displacement, the three.Eight-liter options upgraded cast pistons, twin oil coolers, light-weight rocker arms, magnesium consumption plenum, upgraded injectors, and a single mass flywheel in comparison with the common Carrera’s three.6-liter.
Every part underneath the pores and skin was reworked. A entrance brace was added, together with ball-joint damper mounts, adjustable entrance and rear antiroll bars, a decrease and stiffer suspension setup, a limited-slip differential, and brakes from the 993 Turbo.
All tinsel, trim, and nonessential objects had been ripped out, together with central locking, power-adjustable seats, energy home windows, the sound system, the sound insulation, airbags, rear-window defroster, and headliner. What couldn’t be taken out was changed with one thing higher, together with thinner window glass, sport seats, thinner door panels, an aluminum entrance hood, and aluminum doorways. After this crash weight loss program, the Carrera RS weighed simply 2,821 kilos.
In case you’re U.S.-based and have by no means seen one in individual, we’re not shocked. Porsche made simply over 1,000 993 Carrera RSs between 1995 and 1996, and none of these ever made it to our shores—not less than not till hungry Porsche collectors imported a handful over time.
Photographs courtesy of RM Sothebys
2000–2003 Porsche 996.1 GT3: The Ur-GT3
These are fairly the light-weight, high-revving footwear to fill. Looking back, whereas the all-new 996.1 GT3 was seen because the next-step within the evolution of the Carrera RS timeline, its ethos was markedly totally different. As an alternative of being a homologation particular, the GT3 arrived as a totally baked driver’s 911, incorporating classes realized from motorsports however not permitting the track-only facet to dominate the expertise.
A unbroken theme for the GT3 by means of to at the moment’s 991.2 mannequin, the automobile’s engine proved to be the standout characteristic. The 996 GT3’s three.6-liter Mezger flat-six is a watered-down variant of the six discovered within the unbelievable 911 GT1 Le Mans racer, although the modifications did little to muffle the keen and punchy character. It delivers 360 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, due to a nitride-hardened crankshaft, titanium connecting rods, and light-weight pistons. Maintain your foot in it and also you gained’t hit redline till 7,800 rpm.
A six-speed handbook transmission initially developed for the 993 GT2 gives the facility switch to the rear wheels and limited-slip differential, which is helpful contemplating the gearbox options quick-swap gear ratios to tailor your GT3 for a specific observe. The suspension is noticeably stiffer and decrease than an everyday Carrera’s, incorporating a bolstered construction, adjustable coil-overs, uprated entrance wheel bearings, beefier rod ends, and adjustable anti-roll bars. The brakes are greater, and a particular “taco” rear wing works with a novel entrance fascia and facet skirts for decreased drag and extra downforce.
Porsche saved plenty of the same old elements on the shelf, too. The rear seats, spare tire, sound deadening, air-con, and sound system had been all left behind on the manufacturing facility flooring; a 2,976-pound curb weight was elevated by 66 kilos of extra reinforcement on the brakes, suspension, transmission, and physique shell.
The results of all of this difficult work was a Nürburgring lap time of lower than eight minutes, a zero-to-60-mph dash within the low-four-second vary, and a high pace of 187 mph. Not dangerous for the primary swing, however the first GT3 sadly by no means made it to the States.
2004–2005 Porsche 996.2 GT3
It wasn’t till 2004 that America bought its first style of GT3 magic. Up to date and refreshed for the 2004 mannequin 12 months, it arrived with extra of some stuff and fewer of others. Energy elevated to 381 horses and 285 lb-ft by way of longer titanium connecting rods, lighter pistons, and an upgraded VarioCam system, dropping the zero-to-60 time to four.three seconds and elevating the highest pace to 190 mph.
The entrance fascia was redesigned, as had been the rear wing and the wheels. Talking of wheels, regardless of wider tires entrance and rear, the brand new wheel set reduces weight by 2.2 kilos every. The brakes are additional enlarged and carry out higher with six-piston calipers, whereas ceramic discs sourced from the 996 GT2 had been an possibility for the primary time.
2003–2005 Porsche 996 GT3 RS: The Purist’s Dream
Late one evening, over drinks and steaks in Monterey, California, a higher-up on the Porsche Museum advised us the 996.1 GT3 is as near a contemporary Carrera RS 2.7 as there ever has been. That’s about as excessive of reward we’ve ever heard for any 996, and this gentleman ought to know, as a result of he owns a Carrera RS 2.7. If the primary GT3 was one of many all-time greats (and maybe one of many all-time underappreciated, too), what does that make the following 996 GT3 RS?
Mechanically, it’s virtually the identical because the common 996.2 GT3 apart from reshaped consumption and exhaust ports. Output is identical 381 horsepower, however the determine is taken into account conservative; in actuality, the three.6-liter places out nearer to 400 horses. Every part else is stripped, upgraded, or futzed with ultimately, beginning with progressive and stiffer damping, wheel carriers, adjustable entrance and rear management arms, and a a lot bigger fastened rear wing. In step with the RS moniker, a few of the physique panels are even lighter than these of the common GT3, together with polycarbonate rear home windows, a carbon-fiber entrance hood, and carbon-fiber rear wing—modifications that shed a powerful 110 kilos versus the workaday automobile.
Photographs courtesy of RM Sothebys
2007–2009 Porsche 997.1 GT3
Subsequent got here the 997.1 GT3, and by now Porsche had established the GT3 household as an integral a part of the 911 mythos. The primary 997-generation GT3 is basically a translation of what made each 996 iterations so nice: extra energy, extra downforce, much less weight, extra grip. Contemplating the 997 911 is an evolution of the 996, it’s no shock a lot of the 996 GT3’s hardware carries over, together with that wonderful three.6-liter Mezger flat-six.
The engine now places out 409 horsepower and 298 lb-ft of torque, and the redline now tops out at a screamin’ Eight,400 rpm. Efficiency is predictably incremental, with zero to 60 mph taking four.1 seconds, whereas Vmax is 193 mph. Shifter throws are 15 p.c shorter on the identical six-speed handbook transmission. With a brand new entrance finish and reworked rear wing, that is the primary GT3 to don’t have any noticeable aerodynamic elevate.
Issues grew to become somewhat extra technologically superior at this level. That is the primary GT3 fitted with Porsche Lively Suspension Administration (PASM), together with a “Sport” button. Lastly, there are the requisite greater wheels and larger brakes, plus an electronically managed exhaust.
2008–2009 Porsche 997.1 GT3 RS
Right here’s the primary GT3 RS to formally make it to U.S. shores. Once more, take the identical formulation of the 996 GT3 RS and superimpose it onto the 997 mannequin. Weight drops 44 kilos over the non-RS, thanks primarily to a carbon rear wing and a polycarbonate windscreen. The automobile can also be a bit wider due to the shared Carrera 4S shell, and options colours and graphics unique to the RS.
Photographs courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
2010–2011 Porsche 997.2 GT3
We’ve heard some well-respected Porsche collectors point out offhandedly that the 997.2 GT3 is the place all of it turns into a bit, effectively, dreamy. For some, the refreshed 997 GT3 is “it,” the perfect all-around GT3 in each efficiency and driving expertise.
Now the engine is punched-up to three.Eight liters, boosting energy to 435 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque. Modifications go far past the displacement enhance, after all. There are reworked oil pumps, cast pistons, titanium connecting rods, hole camshafts, and light-weight valves, and a redline of Eight,250 rpm. Within the identify of weight financial savings, even the A/C compressor and flywheel are shaved and starved.
Our favourite half? Every 997.2 GT3 comes with a set of near-perfect center-lock wheels that complement the general aesthetic facelift. Identical to earlier GT3s, many of the modifications happen underneath the pores and skin. That is the primary time stability management was built-in with traction management, and the primary GT3 with an non-compulsory front-axle elevate system. For main spec-sheet dorks, non-compulsory dynamic engine mounts made their first debut.
The sum of all these modifications can also be incremental, however spectacular. Zero to 60 mph is achieved in four.Zero seconds flat, whereas the automobile can now hit 194 mph. The ’Ring time dropped to a then-blistering 7 minutes, 40 seconds.
2010–2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RS
This was the tipping level. It was round this time when new GT merchandise and low-production 911s started to considerably admire in worth proper from the dealership flooring. It wasn’t practically with the identical voracity as it’s at the moment, however Stuttgart started to battle with demand, capping some unit runs just like the 997.2 GT2 RS, Sport Basic, and Speedster. The GT2 bought far quicker than the latter two, however when the 997.2 GT3 RS was nonetheless in sellers, Porsche fever started to ramp up in full swing.
Trying over the modifications of the 997.2 GT3 RS in comparison with the 997.1, it’s not onerous to see why. With a lift in compression, output from the three.Eight-liter jumps an additional 15 horsepower to 450 to go together with 317 lb-ft of torque. Energy is augmented by shorter ratios and shift throws within the six-speed handbook gearbox, returning a examined zero-to-60 time of three.Eight seconds and a high pace of 193 mph. Fifty kilos are shed from the common 997.2 GT3, due to a brand new light-weight lithium-ion battery and titanium for each the muffler and exhaust ideas.
The entrance and rear tracks are wider by 1.7 and 1.Zero inches. The suspension receives an RS-specific tune, and the tires are upgraded to mega-sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cups. These non-compulsory, trick lively engine mounts from the common GT3 are actually commonplace.
Photographs courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
2011–2012 Porsche 911 997.2 GT3 RS four.Zero
Earlier than the 991.1 911 R got here alongside, this RS four.Zero was arguably essentially the most fascinating water-cooled 911 ever constructed. It holds the excellence as the primary particular version from the GT household, adopted quickly after by the 997.2 GT2 RS.
Don’t let the identify idiot you; this can be a entire lot extra than simply an additional Zero.2 liter of displacement. Based on Porsche, the four.Zero-liter holds some quite gnarly internals plucked from the up to date 911 RSR race automobile, together with cast pistons and titanium connecting rods and crankshaft. Energy is up a powerful 50 horses to a complete of 500. Torque sits at 339 lb-ft, too, permitting for a three.Eight-second zero-to-60 dash and a 193-mph high finish. These numbers seem equivalent to the three.Eight-liter GT3 RS, but when the up to date evaluations are to be believed, the expertise between the 2 couldn’t be extra totally different.
Each the entrance fenders and trunklid are constituted of carbon fiber, as are the hard-core bucket seats. These modifications, together with light-weight carpets (sure, actually) add as much as a 2,998-pound curb weight. Porsche made solely 600 of those vehicles, and current values hover across the $500,000 mark.
2014–2016 Porsche 991.1 GT3
Curiosity for the outgoing 997.2 GT3 and GT3 RS was sturdy, however the debut of the 991.1 GT3 in 2013 sparked a 997.2 shopping for frenzy. It was fairly the controversial automobile for Porsche. Except for dropping the long-lived and much-beloved Mezger engine, the 991.1 GT3 ditched the handbook in favor of Porsche’s dual-clutch PDK computerized transmission.
Whether or not you chalk it as much as casting a wider web for a bigger demographic or just chasing the bottom lap occasions, the PDK remodeled the 991.1 GT3 into an undeniably quicker dual-purpose street/observe weapon than ever earlier than. The three.Eight-liter naturally aspirated flat-six relies on the 991.1 Carrera S powerplant, although it shares few elements. There are reworked camshafts, titanium connecting rods, and cast pistons bespoke to the GT3, modifications that permit for a 9,000-rpm redline. Its 475 horsepower and 324 lb-ft of torque are despatched to the rear wheels by means of an lively rear differential, working parallel with lively torque vectoring and rear-wheel steering.
It’s greater, wider, and heavier than the 997, but it surely’s considerably faster. It takes a claimed three.5 seconds to get to 60, and tops out at 195 mph. With all this techno-wizardry working behind the scenes, the ’Ring time drops to 7 minutes, 25 seconds.
2016–2017 Porsche 991.1 GT3 RS
It’s best to know what to anticipate by this level. The RS is lighter, quicker, sharper, harsher, and wing-ier than the common GT3, although there’s a little bit of a curveball with this 991.1 GT3 RS. For the primary time, there’s a displacement differential between the bottom and the RS, the latter now up by Zero.2 liter to four.Zero. Energy climbs roughly 25 hp to a good 500 and torque output stands at 338 lb-ft, the identical figures discovered on the beguiling 997.2 RS four.Zero. Although they share displacement and energy figures, these two engines will not be associated.
PDK stays the one transmission accessible, however efficiency is all the higher for it. Acceleration to 60 drops to a surprising three.1 seconds, though the highest pace lowers by 2 mph to 193 mph. (Blame the massive ’ol rear wing for the discount in Vmax.) The Nürburgring is dispatched in 7 minutes, 20 seconds.
Going ahead, the 991.1 RS and future vehicles all have rear-wheel steering, lively restricted slip (for PDK), torque vectoring, and adaptive suspension. Carbon-ceramic stoppers are nonetheless non-compulsory, as are the front-axle elevate system, lithium-ion battery, and crucial Sport Chrono bundle.
2016 Porsche 911 R
Alright, alright, this isn’t a “actual” GT3. Nonetheless, the physique, chassis, powertrain, and enormous parts of the inside are straight from the GT3 household’s playbook. In some regards, the R could be seen as a heritage-inspired, de-winged GT3 that sits between the GT3 and GT3 RS, using the identical four.Zero-liter within the RS with carbon-fiber physique panels and wider observe.
The social gathering piece is the return of the six-speed handbook transmission. Up till this level, lovers had been uncertain if the handbook would ever make a comeback on a GT product, so secondhand values of the R had been stratospheric. Within the months following the 911 R’s manufacturing begin, experiences pegged some overenthusiastic collectors dropping near $1 million on well-optioned examples.
2018–2019 Porsche 991.2 911 GT3
Porsche underestimated demand for manual-transmission GT3s. So for the refreshed 991.2 GT3, the stick is right here to remain subsequent to the non-compulsory PDK. Except for a number of minor visible modifications, the usual engine is now the four.Zero-liter from the 991.1 GT3 RS. Its output stays at 500 hp and 339 lb-ft, with a redline pegged at a mighty 9,000 rpm.
Efficiency is stellar: Persist with the handbook, and three.Eight seconds is all you’ll have to hit 60 mph in your strategy to a 198-mph high pace. PDK vehicles hit 60 in three.2 seconds, and obtain 197 mph. Manuals get the mechanical limited-slip, whereas PDK manages energy by means of an lively diff with torque vectoring.
Porsche wasn’t too glad in regards to the 991 R speculators, so it launched a brand new Touring bundle with the 991.2 technology. Just like the R, the Touring drops the rear wing and provides a pleasant leather-based inside, although the R’s carbon-fiber physique panels and heritage touches don’t carry over.
2019 Porsche 991.2 911 GT3 RS
Lastly, we find yourself at at the moment’s GT3 RS. Cue the music: It’s lighter, quicker, extra highly effective, and so forth. The identical four.Zero-liter is tuned as much as 514 horsepower and 346 lb-ft, some 14 hp and seven lb-ft greater than the usual GT3. PDK is the one selection right here, as observe rats presumably favor quick lap occasions over the tactility of the handbook. Efficiency clocks in at three.Zero seconds for the zero-to-60-mph run and 193 mph for the highest pace.
For further lightness, the entrance hood and fenders are carbon fiber, and the roof is magnesium. A superb portion of the aero equipment is pulled from the badder 991.2 GT2 RS, significantly the hood’s NACA ducts and the big entrance splitter. Except for the same old RS-specific suspension modifications, there are new helper springs entrance and rear, working with upgraded ball joints.
The toughest of the hard-core spring for the $18,000 Weissach bundle that provides carbon-fiber entrance and rear antiroll bars, a carbon-fiber roof, and carbon trim for the steering wheel and shift paddles, slicing a grand complete of 13 kilos. Don’t cease there, although; be sure to choose up the $13,000 magnesium-wheel bundle. How else are you going to avoid wasting these 25 kilos?
2019 Porsche 911 Speedster
Since we included the 991.1 911 R, we have to point out the brand new Speedster. Just like the R, this isn’t actually a GT3, however once more, if it has a GT3 engine, GT3 transmission, GT3 suspension, GT3 entrance fascia . . . you get the thought.
Sure, the identical four.Zero-liter pushes out 502 horsepower and 346 lb-ft of torque, a slight bump up from the GT3 thanks primarily to particular person throttle our bodies from the GT3 R race automobile and a brand new titanium exhaust system. Just like the R and the GT3 Touring, a handbook transmission is the one possibility. Zero to 60 mph takes three.Eight seconds, and the Speedster speeds no extra as soon as it hits its limiter at 192 mph.
Beneath a Carrera four cabriolet–derived physique shell lies the GT3 chassis, although the Speedster sports activities distinctive suspension tuning. Its three,230-pound curb weight is heavier than the GT3 by round 114 kilos, however lighter than the Carrera four cab by roughly 200 kilos. It’s actually visually faraway from the aforementioned cabriolet, particularly with a particular, conventional rear double-bubble “hump” the place the rear seats can be, together with GT3-style entrance and rear fascias and exhaust retailers.
Porsche says it would construct just one,948 Speedsters, and as is nearly all the time the case with particular Porsche variants, they’re all bought.