Back in March, Porsche invited us to the New York International Auto Show to see the all new Porsche GT3 for the first time and to sit down and chat with Andreas Preuninger, the man behind Porsche's track focused street car. Knowing that many of you had an interest in what he would have to say we reached out asking for your questions. Well, we did get to see the new GT3 and even took some great interior shots that everyone was clamoring for. Unfortunately, Mr. Preuninger was a bit under the weather, health wise, and our interview needed to be rescheduled.
Eventually, we were able to speak with him via email and had most of your questions answered. We would have preferred the face to face in order to dig deeper, but chances are the answers would remain the same. Below is an uncut version of how Mr. Preuninger responded to your questions.
FLATSIXES: Will the new engine in the 991 GT3 make it to Porsche motorsports? If so, can you say when and where?
Andreas Preuninger: Sure, it was developed with this exact focus by the same engineers that did all of the flat-6 race and street engines in the past. The reason for not having the engine in the new 991 Cup is mainly timing, because Cup cars are already in production and the streetcar development is still ongoing, now in its last phase.
Secondly, it is a totally different engine and as such, the education of the race teams on how to deal with the new technology is complex and has to be done right and in time.
Future use of this engine in other 911 race cars is planned but in which form the engine will be used depends strongly on future regulations (for example turbo or non turbo).
FS: What happens when "race track" mode is selected? How will it differ from "Sports Plus"?
AP: Since we made the announcement, the function has been renamed to "PDK Sport" and only has influence on PDK shift programs. GT philosophy is "one button, one function" (not multiple functions—too confusing!) It is programmed for track use only and at very high load operation as it holds the gears longer and does not adjust to a lower performance level. It makes no sense on the street. Harder Shifts as well in manual mode.
FS: Can Rear Wheel Steering be turned off and how much weight does it add?
AP: It was planned to make it switchable and so I stated this already in earlier interviews. This is still under discussion at the moment because of the influence on ESP systems, which was not so clear some weeks (months) ago. So my initial statements might have been a little premature, sorry.
Well see what we do, but it is definitely very cool proof positive when you can compare back to back. Weight of the system is easily compensated by improved agility and stability, as well as more "feel" for the car. System weight is about 7 kgs, the need for a bigger battery adds another 6.
FS:Enthusiast and current 911 GT3 owners understand the new GT3 will outperform the previous generations by a wide margin, but still lament the lack a manual transmission for “driver involvement” purposes. Would you like to comment or address this?
AP: PLEASE - Drive it before you judge it. Some people on the internet have such a strong opinion on that issue. Based on what? Surely not from experience.
[The PDK] System is fun, fun, fun AND faster and a lot different to 991; another galaxy to 997 PDK. Parking in tight spots and getting out of garages etc. might be easier with a clutch that can be modulated, that’s true. But parking and getting out of garages is not the main development target on a GT car.
When a huge part of our customers still insist on a manual we will not ignore this. But, a manual will be not only slower in acceleration but the car will also be less capable in cornering because we cannot combine the electronic e-diff with a manual, because there’s no hydraulic pump in the manual to feed the e-diff. Positive influence of e-diff is significant on turn in, under steer (none at all) and brake stability.
BTW Car has not gotten "softer" or less focused. For example my own wife, used to a lot of GT cars in the past, considers the new one too loud, too hard and too race car-like... that should sound good to most
FS: Will the 90 liter fuel tank add any weight? if so, how much? Does it alter trunk capacity, or is there no difference as in the previous versions?
AP: The 90 liter tank is a non-cost option. We wanted to offer that option for the first time in the U.S too, because people complained about not being able to spec it in the US. System weighs maybe 1 kgs more that’s it. And no difference in trunk capacity against the smaller tank.
FS:What has been done to address the center locking wheel issues? Do you anticipate any needed/scheduled maintenance on the new CL wheel?
AP: [The} System is completely new, although the nut looks similar. It was developed with a focus on additional safety for hard track use but will still need replacement after a certain amount of "serious" tracking, that means at the limit of the cars capability.
We don’t mean lapping the car at 50% of its potential, we are talking about maximum stress on all parts (as in a race or qualifying lap).
As in every race car some components have to be replaced from time to time. This goes for 5 lug systems as well! If the GT3 is used similar to a race car its only logical that similar maintenance schedules will have to be applied. No race customer that buys a new 911 Cup car complains about that, because its "normal common sense." In street use ( incl. some "hobby tracking" without serious racing or consistent hot lapping) the normal maintenance routines are applicable, if the car is tracked regularly as its "number one purpose" then it has to undergo specific maintenance schedules, similar to those of a race car. Logically.
The overhaul intervals (hard racetrack miles) of the new system will be higher than on the 997 system as some components are the exact same part as in the 991 Cup car.
FS: Why are sport bucket seats not offered in the USA?
AP: Unfortunately, the sport bucket seats in the communication car and shown at the New York Auto Show do not meet applicable homologation regulations and thus cannot be offered for sale at this time. PCNA is aware of the GREAT interest in this option and is working to find a solution to offer in the future. [we read this to mean that something SHOULD be available in the fall, but that's only our interpretation based on reading between the lines and a few "off the record" conversations.]
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