After months of waiting to see just how good Porsche’s new 911 GT3 R would be under racing conditions against other GT3-spec machinery, we finally know. This car has been under development since 2019, and in typical Porsche fashion was not about to be released on the world without being properly developed. After three years of pounding around Porsche’s own test tracks, as well as testing stints at Spa Francorchamps, Monza, and Sebring, the 992 GT3 R is finally ready to compete against GT3 racers from other manufacturers. You better believe it’s ready.
On Saturday, Manthey Racing put Frederic Makowiecki and Julien Andlauer in a new generation of “grello” racer and set them loose on the Nürburgring Endurance Series (otherwise known as NLS) in the special SP-X class for cars that have not yet gained homologation. With nary an issue in the three and a half hour race, the car clocked up an impressive 7:58.942 fastest lap of the combined Nordschleife and Grand Prix Strecke on its way to finishing third place overall. This race was treated as an in-season test, and will return for the final NLS race of the season on October 22, to prepare the car for its biggest challenge next year, The Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.
“All in all, we experienced a very successful race premiere with our new Porsche. I’m proud of everyone who has worked on this project,” said Project Manager Sebastian Golz. “Yesterday’s test laps on the Nordschleife and today’s race show that the basis of the vehicle is correct. Thanks to the great preparation and cooperation with the ADAC, we performed well and managed to get a positive picture with loads of data. After a very consistent performance, we finished in third place and secured a podium spot, even though new racing cars like our 911 GT3 R must wait 30 seconds longer per pit stop at test races.”
“The new 911 GT3 R has big shoes to fill,” says Michael Dreiser, Sales Director at Porsche Motorsport. “Its forerunner has won almost everything there is to win in the GT3 scene in four seasons since 2019. Its stand-out successes include overall victories at the 24-hour races at the Nürburgring and Spa-Francorchamps as well as at the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring. The new model will face a broad range of tasks in the hands of the Porsche customer racing teams.”
“After the start, the track was very wet at first then it gradually dried up. For my second stint, I opted for slicks and I managed to turn a few quick laps,” describes Julien Andlauer. “I think Porsche has developed a pretty good racing car. It drives nicely. Everything went according to plan. The car is already a little better than its predecessor in every aspect – especially in its braking behaviour, cornering characteristics and greater torque thanks to its 4.2-litre engine. We still have some work to do but the performance is already there and it’s heading in the right direction.”
“The conditions today with changeable weather were somewhat tricky,” explains Frédéric Makowiecki. “All in all, the new Porsche ran very well. Our goal was to learn as much as possible – for example, how to lap slower traffic with the car. Now we have a comprehensive idea of where we stand with the new 911 GT3 R. The car has many positive qualities and a very good basis. However, we still have some issues to solve.”
This new car has been developed with non-professional drivers in mind, as many of the people who get behind the wheel will be so-called ‘gentlemen drivers’ in pro-am classes. To do that, Porsche has created a new 4.2-liter flat six engine with more tractable torque across the powerband, as well as more peak horsepower and torque to make it just a little bit faster than the outgoing 991 GT3 R. The engine has been canted forward by 5.5 degrees to allow the car a deeper and more effective diffuser for more rear downforce. The alternator and air conditioner have been moved forward to mount in front of the gearbox, bringing that weight balance toward the center of the car. The suspension setup has been developed with tire longevity in mind, as well as more precise steering feel, again with an eye toward driveability for the non-pros.
It seems like this new car will be a winner in no time flat. I simply can’t wait to see this new body shape in plaid livery with Porsche’s pro aces behind the wheel for 24 Hours on the high banks at Daytona. Here’s hoping for a repeat GTD Pro victory.