Porsche created a storm when it produced the 911 R. With a six-speed manual gearbox and an exterior devoid of spoilers and scoops, it was pared-back fun for a set of privileged purists, and the motoring world couldn't get enough. Now, the same manual-only formula has been applied to the new 911 GT3, creating the (slightly) more affordable GT3 Touring Package in the process.
The 911 R has already had an impact on the new GT3. When the previous (991-gen) 911 GT3 RS launched, it was only available with a double-clutch gearbox. Although the transmission is objectively better than the manual – faster to shift, more convenient in traffic – a vocal group of purists still wanted a stick shift option. The 911 R gave 991 lucky owners the chance to enjoy the GT3 RS' engine through a manual gearbox, and the response was predictably positive.
As a result of this overwhelmingly positive reaction, Porsche announced the manual gearbox would be an option in the new (991.2-gen) GT3. The new Touring Package takes things a step further, coupling the manual 911 GT3 powertrain with a clean exterior inspired by that of the 911 R. Depending on who you ask, it could just be the perfect Porsche.
Power comes from the same 500-hp (373-kW) flat-six you get in the 911 GT3, coupled with the six-speed manual gearbox. That's right, no dual-clutch gearbox option here. Top speed is 196 mph (315 km/h), and 60 mph (97 km/h) will be showing on the speedo in just 3.8 seconds from standstill.
The car might not have the same big wing as the GT3, but it has the same motorsport-inspired tweaks under the skin. That means it has the wider rear track from the 911 Carrera 4, and sits 25 mm (1 in) lower than the regular 911. You get rear-wheel steering as standard, along with a locking differential and active engine mounts, and the Touring Package rides on 20-inch wheels wrapped in 245/35 rubber up front and 305/30 tires at the rear.
Although the nose looks the same, with gaping air intakes and an ankle-breaking splitter, the rear of the Touring Package is now home to a flip-up spoiler like the one you'd find on the Carrera S. The engine cover now houses a unique logo, and the design highlights you'd usually see finished in black on the GT3 are now glossy chrome. Porsche says the changes are more in tune with the road-focused, grand-touring character of the Touring Package.
The interior has also been treated to a more refined, luxurious makeover. Leather has been used in place of Alcantara, and the fabric-trimmed bucket seats are similar to the houndstooth pews from the 911 R. They certainly look comfortable, and should hold you in place when the urge to properly push the chassis becomes too much to ignore. For those determined to do track time, the Porsche Track Precision system is standard, and allow live lap-timing.
The 911 GT3 with Touring Package was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It'll cost US$143,600 when it arrives, just like the regular GT3.