Today at the Nurburgring, ahead of the 2015 running of the 24 Hour sports car race there, Porsche brought a future competitor out to show to the world. The brand-new, hotly-anticipated, 991-generation GT3 R. The GT3 R is homologated compliant to the FIA GT3 regulations, and will compete directly against other GT3-spec cars from Aston Martin, Nissan, Bentley, Lexus, BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Cadillac, Dodge SRT, Ferrari, and more. There are GT3-spec endurance and sprint races all over the world, and as of 2016, the GTD category of the TUDOR United Sports Car Championship will be converting to those same specifications, making the current 991 GT America obsolete. The 997 GT3 R has continued to carry the mantle in FIA GT3 for Porsche, but a new wave of competition is coming, and Porsche needs to get ahead of it. Thanks to the 991 GT3 R, they can do just that.
Ostensibly based on the 911 GT3 RS, Porsche’s new GT3 R has a bit more racing pedigree than it’s street-going sibling. Unrestricted, the car produces in excess of 500 horsepower, though this will likely be toned down for racing based on individual series Balance of Performance air restrictors. Special attention was paid to lightweight design, increasing aerodynamic efficiency, reducing fuel consumption, improving handling, and further optimizing safety. As an added benefit, Porsche has also paid attention to lowering service and spare parts costs, and maximizing ease of swapping parts in the case of on-track incidents.
Through lightweight solutions for the body work, components, and suspension bits, the engineers have optimized the center of gravity position of the GT3 R compared to the outgoing 997-generation GT3 R. The lightweight philosophy of the new GT3 R includes several components crafted of carbon-fiber reinforced plastics, including the roof, front bumper cover, wheel arches, doors, rear quarter panels, and rear bumper cover. For the first time in a GT3 compliant Porsche, all of the windows, including the windscreen are crafted of polycarbonate. Needless to say, it’s light weight.
Powering the new 911 GT3 R is a 4.0 liter flat-six engine, derived largely from the production road-legal GT3 RS engine. This engine uses direct gasoline injection, and variable valve timing to optimize fuel usage rate, focusing on efficiency for endurance racing. As an added benefit, the large displacement naturally aspirated engine improves tractability and provides a larger, more usable rev range. Power from the rear engine is transferred to rear wheels via a Porsche sequential six-speed constant-mesh gearbox. As in the GT road-going models of the 911, the driver changes gears via steering column mounted shift paddles.
The aero profile of the 911 GT3 R is also influenced by the street car, or perhaps vise-versa. The front fender wheel arch air vents on the increase downforce at the front. Measuring 6-feet wide, and more than a foot deep, the rear wing makes sure the wide wheels grip into the tarmac as much as possible. From its Le Mans 24-conquering 911 RSR big brother, the GT3 R has adopted a more conventional single large central radiator, rather than twin side-mounted radiators. With this move, the center of gravity was improved, aerodynamics were improved, the radiator is better protected against collision damage, and cooling was actually improved by venting the hot air through louvers in the front bumper cover.
Massive Leap Forward
Effectively a replacement for the obsolete-at-the-end-of-the-year GT America, the new GT3 R is a massive leap forward in terms of speed and technology. The new car is allowed to use tech we’ve had on street cars for decades, like Anti-Lock Braking, and traction control. The braking system is definitely up to the task, with six-piston aluminum monobloc racing brake calipers clamping 15 inch grooved steel brake discs at the front and four-piston calipers over 14.6 inch discs out back.
With stiff competition from all of the major sports car manufacturers, you can bet that Porsche hasn’t pulled any punches on this one. This car should be bang-on quick right out of the starting gates. Look out 2016, the GT3 R is coming!
The new Porsche 911 GT3 R is available for order right now at $487,000 USD (429,000 Euro) plus country-specific VAT. Deliveries will begin in December of this year, just in time to take part in the Roar Before the 24 at Daytona, I should think.
Technical description Porsche 911 GT3 R (991)
Single-seat customer race car based on the Porsche 911 GT3 RS
- Water-cooled six-cylinder boxer engine (rear mounted)
- 4,000 cm3; stroke 81.5 mm; bore 102 mm
- Output: over 368 kW (500 hp) subject to FIA BoP (air restrictor)
- Four-valve technology
- Direct fuel injection
- Dry sump lubrication
- Porsche sequential six-speed constant-mesh gearbox
- Mechanical slip differential
- Pneumatic gear-shift activation (paddle shift)
- Lightweight body featuring intelligent aluminum-steel composite design
- Integrated (welded) roll-cage according to FIA Appendix J
- Removable escape hatch in roof
- Lightweight exterior design:
- CFRP doors, rear cover, rear wing, wheel arches, front and rear fairing
- Polycarbonate glazing
- Removable polycarbonate door windows
- FT3 safety fuel cell, approx. 120 liters, with fuel cut off safety valve in accordance with FIA regulations
- Air jack system (four jacks)
- Front axle McPherson strut, adjustable in height, camber and toe
- Wheel hubs with centre-lock wheel nuts
- Adjustable anti-roll bar blades (left and right)
- Power-assisted steering with electro-hydraulic pressure feed
- Multilink independent rear suspension, adjustable in height, camber, toe
- Wheel hubs with center-lock wheel nuts
- Adjustable anti-roll bar blades (left and right)
- Two separate brake circuits for front and rear axles; adjustable by driver via brake balance bar system
- Six-piston aluminum monobloc racing brake caliper
- Ventilated and grooved steel brake disc, D = 380 mm, aluminum disc bell
- Four-piston aluminum monobloc racing brake caliper
- Ventilated and grooved steel brake disc, D = 372 mm, aluminum disc bell
- One-piece BBS alloy wheels according to Porsche specification and design, 12.0J x 18 offset 17, tire dimension: 300/650-18 front; 13J x 18 offset 37.5, tire dimension: 310/710-18 rear
- COSWORTH power module IPS32
- Race ABS
- Traction control
- Total weight: 2,690 lbs/1,220 kg (subject to BoP)
- Overall length: 15.1-feet (4,604 mm)
- Overall width front axle: 6.4-feet (1,975 mm)
- Overall width rear axle: 6.57-feet (2,002 mm)
- Wheelbase: 8.08-feet (2,463 mm)
- $487,000 USD (429,000 Euros plus country-specific VAT)
[Pictures and Specs provided by Porsche]