Since its debut in 1964, the Porsche 911 has dominated and defined the sports car genre. The “GT3” nameplate began on the 996 chassis back in 1999, with the “GT3 RS” variant being added in 2003 as a more track focused version. The GT3 RS cars did not come with any accessories that were not necessary to lap a racetrack. Air conditioning, sunroofs, radios/speakers, and many other features that were the norm in a typical Porsche, were removed in the name of weight savings in the GT3 RS.
Over the years, the GT3 RS formula has stayed much the same, but as technology advances, the car has become a different beast entirely. The original 996 GT3 RS boasted a generous 381 HP and 284 LB/FT of torque from its naturally aspirated 3.6 liter flat six. Not particularly mind-bending figures by today’s standards, but they were certainly respectable at the time. The only computers in the car, controlled the fuel injection and anti-lock brake systems. No traction or stability control, no adaptive dampers, and no fancy active aero. Just a pure and simple sports car purpose built for the racetrack.
As we said before, the recently released GT3 RS follows mostly the same formula. A Porsche 911 chassis with a naturally aspirated flat six, enhanced aerodynamics for downforce, all with as much weight reduction as possible. Though features like radios and other creature comforts have made their way back in. The current 992 GT3 RS uses a 4 Liter flat six making 518 HP and 343 LB/FT of torque. Again, not mind bending by today’s standards with many production cars making double that, but with a 0-100 time of just 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 296 KM/H, this GT3 RS gets around just fine.
Powertrain aside, the chassis is where all GT3s are meant to come into their own. The 992 GT3 RS is no longer the simple, no frills, go kart of the 90s. The new GT3 uses nearly every trick in the book to shave those precious milliseconds off every lap. The well-known Porsche Adaptive Suspension Management (PASM) makes an appearance, alongside Porsche Stability Management (PSM), Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus), Porsche Active Aerodynamics (PAA), and other track focused changes. Ball bearings in place of rubber bushings in the suspension so you feel each and every crack and bump in the pavement, front wishbones that are shaped so they actually produce their own downforce, and all wheel steering to get the GT3 around the tightest hairpins faster than ever before without breaking traction.
One of the most notable additions over the 991 GT3 RS is the Porsche Active Aerodynamics system. This system continuously takes in data from the cars longitudinal acceleration, lateral G-forces, and throttle/brake pedal inputs to determine the optimal position and automatically adjust the front diffuser and rear wing elements to reduce drag on the straights and improve downforce in corners, all in real time. At 284 KM/H, the monster gooseneck wing on the 992 GT3 RS can produce a bone-breaking 1900 Lbs of downforce. That’s about double the downforce of its 991 predecessors.
Perhaps the most impressive stat that really puts all of this into perspective is the lap time on the legendary Nurburgring in Germany. A 20.6 Kilometer track consisting of 154 separate corners, used to benchmark all kinds of performance cars from around the world.
The previous generation of 911 GT3 RS, the 991 chassis, lapped the ring with a time of 6:56.4, which is no slouch for a performance car. Anything under 7 minutes is quite impressive by modern standards. The current 992 chassis, however, beat it by a whopping 10 seconds with a time of 6:44.8. That’s an incredible difference from one generation of car to the next, and a testament to the incredible engineering that has gone into the latest iteration of such a legendary car.