If you want to go racing at the 24 Heures du Mans, Porsche gives you an easy way in. The German sports car maker will happily sell you the Porsche 911 RSR, a full-fledged race car that retails for at least $1 million.
But if you don’t want to get quite so hardcore and merely want a street-legal almost-racing car for the road, Porsche has you covered there too. And there’s even a new one this year in the form of the 2022 Porsche 911 GT3, which starts at a much more reasonable price of $161,100.
Here are five ways that Porsche infused race car tech in the new GT3 to bring high-end features to an affordable sports car.
5. The engine
With 502 horsepower from a high-revving, naturally aspirated 4-liter 6-cylinder boxer engine, the new GT3 can rip from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds. Then, it’ll continue on to a top speed of 197 mph thanks to an engine that revs to a wild 9,000 rpm. That’s motorcycle-quick.
There’s a reason for this. The engine is brought over nearly unchanged from the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, an actual racing car that Porsche sells. In a press release, the company calls the result “perfect for the circuit and superb for everyday use.”
It uses a dry-sump lubrication system with a separate oil tank, just like a race car would and the only significant differences between the GT3 and GT3 Cup is the exhaust and the ECU. “Everything else is identical,” says Thomas Mader, Project Manager GT Road Car Engines in a press release.
The engine ran for more than 22,000 hours (the equivalent of 2.5 years) on the test rig, simulating various circuit profiles and at full-throttle for much of the time.
4. The aerodynamics
The enormous “swan neck” wing and gigantic rear diffuser all came from the 911 RSR in a near-direct transfer of racing tech over to a road car.
Porsche says it generates more downforce without “noticeably” affecting drag. The wing can be manually adjusted to four different positions depending on what kind of driving you’re planning. The car spent more than 160 hours in Porsche’s wind tunnel, on top of hundreds of computer simulations.
3. Lightweighting and advanced materials
Weight savings is paramount, and Porsche was able to keep the new GT3’s weight the same as the old version, even while adding width, bigger wheels, and new features.
The hood is made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic and there is lightweight glass used in the windows. Lightweighting the exhaust system slices the weight by ten kilograms (which might as well be a ton in a race car).
2. The tires
And you can get your GT3 fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires, which are street-legal tires optimized for dry track use. Safety is important too, which is why there’s a full stabilizing roll cage installed behind the seats. There are no useless rear “seats” here, unlike the standard 911.
It all sums up to a 6:59:927 in a run around the 12.92 miles of the Nurburgring’s famed Nordschleife circuit.
1. The cockpit
A machine is only as good as its operator, and that’s why the cockpit of the GT3 is racing-inspired too. With a button press, it shifts to a track-screen mode to reduce information shown to the driver to just the essentials: tire pressure, oil pressure, oil temperature, fuel level, and water temperature. A shift assistant with colored bars around the rev counter and a shift light are brought over from a racing car too.
If you want to drop even more cash above and beyond the $161,100 starting price, Porsche is only too happy to oblige. There’s a lightweight roof option made of exposed carbon fiber, as well as more cosmetic options like painted wheel rims in red or blue, or body-colored seatbelts.
There’s even a watch offered up to 911 GT3 buyers who want to accessorize themselves in addition to their sports car.
The upshot is a ridiculously capable sports car that is as hardcore on the track as it is off. And if you find the enormous fixed wing a little excessive, Porsche just announced a new 911 GT3 Touring that swaps the swan neck for a far subtler retractable wing.
Whether you want to race at Le Mans or just have something rare to pull up at the club, there’s a 911 for you.