Parallel to the new Le Mans prototype 963, Porsche is also preparing intensively for its GT3 future. The racing offshoot of the 992 type has undergone an intensive test program in recent months and will be launched next year. As part of the 24-hour race in Spa, Porsche presented the Über-911.
Sports car motorsport is currently undergoing massive change. New regulations mean numerous new cars and programs for both the prototypes and the GT racing cars. From the year 2023, Porsche will face off against the diverse competition with two long-awaited racing cars. Because in addition to the LMDh prototype for Le Mans, Daytona and Co., the people from Zuffenhausen are also bringing the latest representative of their successful GT3 dynasty.
In the run-up to the 24-hour race at Spa, Porsche presented the new Type 992 GT3 racer. The still current Porsche 911 GT3 R based on the discontinued 991.2 model series notched up victories in the 24-hour classics on the Nordschleife and in Spa and was the champion vehicle of the ADAC GT Masters in the 2020 season. Sebastian Golz, the project manager for the successor, explains: "The predecessor was a hit, the bar is high. We've been working on the new car since 2019. The regulations have been even tighter since 2022, so there's not much leeway for technical things Optimizations."
Special requirements due to customer sport
Since the 911 GT3 R of type 992, in contrast to its big prototype brother, is intended exclusively for customer sport, the engineers faced other challenges during development. In addition to improved performance, it was also important to keep costs down. Golz explains: "At Porsche, we are driven by the business case with the GT3 car." Nevertheless, numerous improvements were considered.
"We drive with a high-revving suction cup with a narrow rev range, which is tricky for the pilots, especially when the revs drop too much in traffic," explains Golz. "Our goal was an engine with better drivability through a wider usable window. So we pushed in more torque at the bottom." Despite the greater focus on torque, the finely tuned six-cylinder of the 992 racer is said to have gained between 25 and 30 hp. In a press release, the Stuttgart-based company speaks of 565 hp (BOP-dependent) that the boxer engine delivers. The speed range should be usable in a wider window than the old GT3. The displacement increases by 200 ccm to 4.2 liters.
Special look because of the 911 character
There were other major changes to the aerodynamics. Golz explains: "The predecessor was aerodynamically sensitive, especially with the underbody." Here, the engineers were able to increase not only the stability but also the efficiency of the downforce through a revised aero philosophy."With the diffuser, we are limited by the concept because of the rear engine," Golz notes. "We can't start the diffuser tunnel as early and we can't set it up as steeply as the competition, we don't have the space because of the rear engine. And that's why we need the big rear wing."
Another classic disadvantage of the otherwise popular rear-engined racer is the higher load on the rear tires and the associated wear. Several factors come into play here: weight distribution, aero load, wheelbase, differential. "By moving the components, we were able to relieve the rear axle," says Golz. The window for the set-up settings opens up more leeway with the kinematics. The large rear wing is designed to provide stable downforce. As a result, the more constant aerodynamics would relieve the rear tires and a weak point of the rear-engine concept would be reduced. Compared to its predecessor, the new 911 should have better handling.
Same DNA, but still everything new
Although the new 911 GT3 R looks like a heavily refined version of the current 911 in many areas, it is more than just a facelift. The car is a completely new development. A suitable example are the new service and maintenance concepts that Golz and his team were able to set up as a result. Your goal: faster part changes. "In the case of important replacement parts, there are no longer screws, but so-called quarterlocks," explains the GT3 project manager. Set-up changes are possible by using shims without measuring the chassis. "That increases the track time. If you stand less long, you can drive longer."
Test pilot Matt Campbell, who benevolently put the four-wheeled newcomer through his paces together with colleagues in Monza, Barcelona and Spa, among other places, reports: "The predecessor had a few small weaknesses on various tracks, which were specifically addressed. Now we have one Larger working window during set-up and thus better driveability. Balance and driveability have improved particularly significantly on medium and high-speed tracks."
More improvements can be found in the cockpit. The driver's seat moves further into the center of the vehicle. This enables an ergonomically better seating position for the pilot. The steering wheel has also been refreshed with new controls that have already proven themselves in the 911 GT3 Cup and the 911 RSR.
In a duo to Le Mans
Even if it doesn't hurt that top drivers like Campbell feel comfortable in the 992 GT3 offshoot, improved driveability for amateurs was the main goal of the model change, which was accompanied by comparison drives with the old 911 . Campbell provides a suitable example of the successful development balancing act: "In the predecessor, Eau Rouge was always a small test of courage.During the first test with the new GT3 in Spa, I filled it up after three laps - and since then on every lap."
The final fine-tuning and the final homologation of the vehicle are due in the coming months. As with its predecessor, test races are on schedule The Nürburgring Endurance Series (NLS) and the 24H Series are conceivable, where you can compete outside of the competition. Classically, the first deliveries then take place in winter. Customers should finally have access to it by 2024 at the latest: GT3 cars will be available from this season also allowed in Le Mans