Porsche celebrates 20 years of the 911 GT3
Porsche is celebrating 20 years of the legendary 911 GT3, the model that spread over two decades and featured six generations. Around 80 per cent of all 911 GT3 ever produced are regularly driven on race tracks across the globe says Porsche.
First unveiled in the year 1999 at the Geneva motor show, the 911 signalled the start of the new era for discerning sports car drivers. Since then every new generation that has come has been faster, dynamic and precise. Be it a naturally aspirated engine, manual transmission or rear wheel drive, it still remains one the most popular athlete of all times.
Apart from its road legal version, there was also a track only version on offer. These track versions of the 911 GT3 have rewritten motorsport history with numerous wins and countless victories in the major endurance races such as 24 Hours of Spa and the 24 Hours of Daytona. The legendary 911 GT3 also went on to win the 24 Hours Nürburgring at a record 7 times in a row.
The 911 GT3 more than any other 911, embosses hallmarks of Porsche motorsports. Designed and developed by two-time World Rally Champion Walter Röhrl, race engineer Roland Kussmaul and the Porsche Motorsport specialists from Weissach, the Porsche 911 GT3 brought race track agility to the road.
The successor to the 911 Carrera RS 2.7, featured an even more advanced racing technology and continued with the tradition that started in the 1970’s. For the first time, however the new model skipped the RS moniker but held on to GT3 branding directly referring to the GT class in which the motorsport versions were to complete.
It was hardly a surprise that the 3.6 litre six cylinder engine churned out 360hp and as such it was hardly a surprise that the Porsche 911 GT3 had already earned its first laurels before its debut in Geneva. It also completed a 20.8 kms journey at the Nürburgring Nordschleife in less than eight minutes, setting a new benchmark for street-legal sports.
The exceptional performance was made possible not just by race proven boxer engine, but also due various other parameters. These include lowered chassis by 30 millimetres, uprated brakes, six speed manual transmission originated from the 911 GT2. Further the gearbox rations, axle geometry, anti-roll bars and springs could be adapted depending on the circuit conditions.
Lightweight construction came before comfort; a distinctive sign of its motorsports origins was the fixed rear wing of the 911 GT3. Customers also had the option of specially ordering their 911 GT3 as a Clubsport variant which also had a built-in roll cage.
Newer generations which arrived in quick succession after the great success of the first 911 GT3 and successful race versions of the 911 GT3 were also built which included the 911 GT3 Cup, 911 GT3R and the 911 GT3 RSR. It presented a new evolution stage of the street legal sports car with racing genes every three to four years. The use of VarioCam or variable camshaft control system boosted the power output to 381hp, while the next increase followed three years later to 415hp.
However it was in 2009, that the engineers at Porsche introduced the sporty Porsche Active Suspension Management and also increased the displacement of the engine to 3.8 litres and 435hp on tap. The new rear wing and full under body panelling produced a substantial increase in downforce almost double in comparison to its predecessor.
For the celebrations of its 50th birthday in 2013, Porsche had a world premiere of the 911 GT3 at the Geneva Motor show. It had a completely new engine, transmission, body and chassis. The drivertrain consisted of a 3.8 litre naturally aspirated engine churning out 475hp and featured active rear axle steering and a dual clutch transmission. For the first time, the model secured 7.25 seconds time lap around the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife which is half a minute faster than even the first every 911 GT3.
The most recent one however focussed on development on six cylinder boxer engine, while displacement increased to 4.0 litres and power output to 500hp. Customers had the option of choosing between a manual six speed transmission and a PDK automatic. In addition, a special Touring Package was also introduced which replaces the fixed rear wing with an automatically extending spoiler.