Porsche's lighter, more fuel efficient 911 GT3 R racer
Just when you thought Porsche's 911 range couldn't be expanded further, the German marque has managed to squeeze another model into the lineup. The latest addition isn't another road-going special, however. Instead, Porsche has taken the production 911 GT3 RS and turned it into a fully-fledged GT3 racer, designed to be quicker and easier on the wallet than the car it replaces.
Interestingly, the GT3 R package is mechanically very similar to the setup in the road-going GT3 RS. The racecar is powered by a lightly modified version of the RS' 4.0-liter six-cylinder boxer engine, which can produce over 368 kW (500 hp) depending on how tightly or loosely the FIA's balance of performance rules restrict it. Just like the road car's motor, the GT3 R's engine is chasing improved fuel efficiency by using direct injection running at pressures of up to 200 bar. Porsche claims the new R's motor is also more driveable than the unit it replaces thanks to its power being available across a broader rev range.
As is the case in the road-going GT3 RS, drivers needn't worry about a gearstick. Instead, the car is fitted with a six-speed sequential paddleshift gearbox that channels power to the 310/710 R18 rear wheels through a mechanical limited-slip differential. As a racecar, Porsche has afforded owners a lot more flexibility in the GT3 R's setup, with both the front and rear suspension's height, camber and toe able to be tweaked to suit the track it's on.
Although the GT3 R's body is based around the road-going RS' aluminum-steel construction, the racecar's CFRP bodykit is far more dramatic than the setup on the road-going car, while the racer's windows and windscreen are both made of weight-saving polycarbonate. More extreme it may be, but the GT3 R's aerodynamics package still follows the example set by its road-going stablemate, with the front wheelarch vents from the GT3 RS also making an appearance for improved downforce over the front wheels. The race car's two-meter (6.5 ft) wide rear wing is more focused than the unit on the road car, however, as is the rear diffuser.
In a feature drawn directly from the 911 GT3 RSR that sits above it in Porsche's range, the GT3 R's radiator is positioned centrally to improve weight distribution, although the move also makes the radiator less likely to get damaged if the car gets knocked around on the track.
The GT3 R's brakes have also been given the full race treatment, with Porsche claiming that the system's extra stiffness and more precise ABS actuation improve its endurance racing credentials over less focused road-going systems. Up front, six-piston monobloc racing calipers clamp on 15 inch (380 mm) ventilated and grooved steel discs, while the 14.6 inch (372 mm) rear discs are grabbed by four-piston calipers. To let drivers tweak the brake balance on the move, the front and rear systems are on separate circuits, and can be adjusted from the cabin.
For safety in potential crashes, the 911's larger fuel cell has been reinforced over the unit on its predecessor, and the tank is now fitted with a fuel cut off valve. The R's doors and side windows can now be removed, and the roof escape hatch is larger as well.
The 911 GT3 R is on sale right now, so if you've got a spare US$487,000 (€429,000) you can have your car delivered in December.