GT3 is a racing series of touring cars governed by the FIA where a wide variety of cars from numerous makes entering various powertrain configurations compete so long as power-to-weight ratios are upheld.
So what can you take away from all of this? You may have guessed it: The 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 is a street-legal racecar. And I freakin’ need one.
Grip to the 3rd degree
I fancy myself an experienced on-track driver with dreams of taking it further... I’m no Stig or Chris Harris for that matter, but I can turn a wheel, mash a throttle pedal, and stomp the brakes roughly as well as any weekend track addict. As such, the 911 GT3 truly speaks volumes to me.
I’d spent some time behind the wheel of 997 GT3 in Monterey a few years back, and the car reshuffled all that I’d held true where the limits of grip and handling were established. In a matter of minutes, the GT3’s immense grip made fun of a 911 Turbo S’ massive power and AWD traction. The laws of physics changed that day.
The 991 GT3 is an evolution on the theme, but this time around more emphasis was put on speed solely based on the fact that the GT3’s authority remains tremendous. Although a serious balls-out crazy car, under “controlled” high-speed driving the Porsche’s grip will not be overwhelmed by horsepower.
The 991 Porsche 911 GT3 is, as you might expect, the most sophisticated of its lineage that traces its roots back to the fabled 2.7 RS. The first 911 to carry the GT3 moniker was the 360-horsepower 1999 996 911. As fantastic as that car was, the 991 so much better.
The list of included super-chassis goodies on this GT3 reads like the new Apple Watch’s list of features and functions; it’s drool-inducing.
The 911 GT3’s chassis is 30mm lower than that of a regular 911 and the track-tuned suspension features extra ball joints on the front and rear axles for a more direct feel. The GT3 is equipped with dynamic engine mounts that vary in stiffness conveying improved NVH control, and drivetrain tautness.
The other two elements key in making the GT3 stand head and shoulders above the competition: Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) -- modifies damping on the fly -- and optionally, the driver can manually select between Normal and Sport; the other is Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus), which varies braking force and power from one drive wheel to another depending on driving conditions.
Does it work? Dumb question.
Like nothing else: precision of motion and doing only what is asked is what this car is about. So flat and squat is this car that it will not step out of line without the driver’s input. The expression “as though it drives on rails” best describes how well the 911 GT3 covers ground.
Despite the car’s clear vocation for crushing personal lap-time records, the GT3 is not utterly unpleasant on a daily basis. The ride is not supple, but it is far from punishing. Damn, it’s a GT3 man!
The 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 sticks to tarmac like tarmac to itself. It will also rip it to shreds if desired. Revised saying: Hell hath no fury like a 475-horsepower 3.8L flat-6 revving to 9,000 rpm. When this engine rises in speed, nothing can stop its astronomical rage-induced climb to redline. It is incredible, both in speed and in the fear that all will die once 9k is attained.
As the 325 torques build up to 6,250 rpm, the temptation to pull back on the right-hand flappy paddle is strong but the reward comes as the event begins at 6k, continues at 7k and reaches maximum orgasmic state at 8,250 rpm when peak power arrives. The metallic raucous cacophony created by the four cams, 24 valves and six hardworking pistons and rods is tremendous.
Pounding through 7 gears is Porsche’s dual-clutch automated manual gearbox: PDK. There’s no other way to put it. This transmission is as erudite as it efficient, smooth and lightning-quick. The absence of a 7-speed manual ‘box may be a tragedy that this most driver-oriented of cars cannot be had with a 3rd pedal, but the PDK functions without reproach. Period.
Quick, fast and efficient
The 991 GT3 will crush the 100km/h sprint in only 3.5 seconds on its way to 200km/h in 11.4 seconds. That’s respectively 0.6 and 0.9 faster than the 997 GT3. Quick.
Every shift drops engine rpms with uncanny immediacy -- #neverlift. Downshifts are equally heart-stopping and it is, without a shadow of a doubt, how and why the new GT3 generates those numbers. One more: Top speed is 315 km/h. Fast.
This is a supercar, on par with the Lamborghini Huracan and Ferrari 458. Keeping the performance numbers in mind, the GT3 can average under 12L/100km. This makes it a sensible choice, kinda.
Outer shell, inner workings
The 911 is one of the most recognizable cars ever and as such makes the “special looking” GT3 even more noticeable. The lowered ride height, centre-locking wheels, massive rubber, and that fantastic rear spoiler that cuts outward visibility in half are all signs of something great.
The cabin is 911 fare with sublime sport seats, Alcantara, and matching red accents throughout. You won’t want to stop rubbing your hands all over the steering wheel or red stitching on the dashboard and door pulls.
This car is all that. Substitutes are few if any. The only thing better than a GT3 is a GT3 RS -- expect it to be boosted this time around. Gonna be epic.