Porsche's bitey GT3 receives a complete track makeover for 2014
What’s red and German and goes 200 mph … a Bavarian frog in a blender. The other more legitimate side to that joke is Porsche’s new 2014 track thumper, the GT3 (geeteethree), which recently premiered at the Geneva Auto Show. The new fifth generation GT3 is tagged as a complete makeover from previous generations. New chassis, powerplant, fuel delivery system, gearbox and body fill out the grocery list of track star upgrades in the 2014.
Just back from the Nurburgring, the new GT3 posted a most impressive time of under 7 minutes and 30 seconds. With a top track speed of 195 mph (314 km/h) and capable of sticking to most anything but a silicon baking sheet, the GT3 is ready to make a most definite impression once the snow retires to Arizona for the summer.
Other stinking fast personality traits of this track device include Porsche’s first active rear-wheel steering system. Depending on speed, the system is designed to turn the powering wheels in the same or opposing direction of the front wheels. Two actuators manage the rear wheels where they can be turned up to 1.5 degrees. Below 30 mph (48 km/h) the hind rubbers turn opposite to the front, similar to a skateboard, thus improving maneuverability. Above 50 mph (80 km/h) the actuators advise the rear tires to go the same direction as their forward counterparts, which works to increase high speed stability and cornering.
Another big departure from previous models is the inclusion of an electric-assist steering system. Premised off the Carrera's steering setup, it will remain to be seen how this new system is accepted given drivers' fondness for the previous system.
Making the GT3 go like an angry German on fire is Porsche's highly evolved 3.8 liter boxer engine. Along with a reputation for being of a generally accepted bullet proof design, the flat-sixes low center of gravity keeps engine weight low to improve handling and weight transitions. Developing 475 hp at 8,250 rpm and 324 lb. ft. of torque, the GT3 puts 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h) figures into the stopwatch at a time shifting rate of only 3.3 seconds. Impatiently challenged need wait only 12 long dreary seconds to reach 125 mph (200 km/h).
Weighing in at 3,152 lbs (1,430 kg), the GT3 is slightly heavy for a pure track racer but manages to retain a daily driver civility, unlike most track racers.
With a 9,000 rpm redline, the flat-six uses a myriad of racing/performance tricks to get the job done. A new direct fuel injection system delicately places droplets of fuel ever so gently into the explosion control chamber. Four overhead cams with variable valve timing, a three-way catalytic converter per bank and a hydraulic valve clearance compensation system all work together in a beautifully chaotic unison to put the twisting motion to the tires. Titanium connecting rods and forged pistons amongst other components help differentiate the GT3’s inner workings from other 911s.
Porsche's dual-clutch gearbox, or PDK, has also been specifically messed with in the new 2014 model. Predicated off a sequential racing box of gears, the new configuration includes shorter gear ratios spaced more comfortably together, faster shifts, and shift-paddles with even shorter travel than previous models. The new box provides two drive modes: sport and racetrack.
Keeping the GT3's ride in check is Porsche's Active Suspension Management system or (PASM). Riding 1.2 inches lower than the Carrera, the system employs stiffer springs and damper settings as to be expected from a track-bred device. Stopping the GT3 shortly before flying off the track are 380 mm braking discs. A six-caliper aluminum setup holds down the fort on the front, while out back four aluminum calipers try to maintain the friction discussion with the internally vented discs.
Out back, between the oversized rubbers, sits a new electronically controlled, variable rear differential system that has also been added to the 2014. To further impress the track kids comes a new set of 20-inch forged alloy wheels with center locking hub. None of that old-world five lug retention stuff for this car.
In comparison to its sleepy slow siblings, the GT3 employs specific front and rear body parts to improve performance capabilities. The lightweight body is composed of an aluminum-steel construction, where fenders, doors, the trunk and engine compartment lids are made only of aluminum.
The 3 of GT is also wider than its skinny siblings, with an extra 1.7 inches (4.32 cm) across the hind quarters. Rubbers come in the form of 245/35 ZR 20s out front and Formula One sized 305/30 ZR 20s at the back. And, of course, there’s a big angel wing on the back, which you’ll need when you’re praying to God to please hold that corner as you crest at 124 mph.
Set to go on sale late 2013, the new track star will list out for US$130,000.