By Nathan Petroelje / Hagerty.com
Very few new cars offered today could be considered unabashed love letters to the fine art of driving. As the world increasingly favors tarted-up crossovers and electron-fed transportation pods, the list of holdouts is wearing thin. Despite diving head-first into EVs such as the Taycan, Porsche is very much committed to balancing the scales with magnificent, traditionalist sports cars from its hardcore GT lineup.
Now that we’ve gotten to know the 992-generation 911 a bit, all backroad barons and track day zealots can rejoice at having to wait no longer: The new 2022 Porsche 911 GT3 is here with 502 horsepower, six throttle bodies, and a sub-seven-minute ‘Ring time.
Think of the GT3 as everything great about the 911 GT3 Cup race car, distilled into a car that is laser-focused for on-road driving satisfaction. “With a soul that’s born in the Motorsport, the new 911 GT3 sends a driver’s heart racing,” said Kjell Gruner, President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America. “Whether it’s a customer enjoying their favorite twisty backroad or taking to the track, the new 911 GT3 promises to be among the most exciting and rewarding cars we make.”
The headliner for the new GT3 is its engine, which makes it the sole naturally-aspirated 911 remaining in Porsche’s lineup. The free-breathing 4.0-liter flat-six spins to a stratospheric 9000 rpm, producing 502 horsepower and 346 lb-ft of torque at peak output. This engine actually debuted in the ultra-rare 2019 911 Speedster, but it has been optimized for duty in the rump of the 911 GT3 with new pistons. More internal-combustion geekery: Just like the engine in the 911 GT3 Cup car, this flat powerplant uses six independent throttle bodies to sharpen engine response.
Even the slightest twitches on the loud pedal will send the GT3’s tachometer flicking towards frantic oblivion, which sounds all right by us. When equipped with the standard seven-speed PDK automatic, Porsche says this GT3 will crack off 0-60 mph sprints from a standstill in just 3.2 seconds, on its way to a 197-mph top speed. (Corollary: Neither of these numbers speak to why this car exists, as it’s the intangibles of these 911s that make them worth celebrating.)
The new GT3 is based on the body of the 911 Carrera, but the front track width grows by 1.9 inches. We’ve actually seen this car before-as a body-in-black prototype. Thanks to extensive use of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CRFP) on the hood, rear wing, and fixed rear spoiler, the new car nevertheless weighs almost the same as the outgoing 911 GT3. Porsche also used lightweight noise-insulated glass on all windows to further trim curb weight.
There are real aerodynamic advantages to the new bodywork, too. A revised front fascia features integrated cooling intakes as well as an adjustable front splitter that can be tweaked for road or track use. The most notable visual change comes at the rear, where the massive rear wing is now suspended via swan-neck connections, as in various race cars nowadays-911 GT3 Cup car included. The rear wing is manually adjustable, just like the front splitter, so that the two can work in concert with one another to press the car to the ground at high speed. Even in the default setting, the new GT3 produces 50 percent more downforce than the car it replaces. Set the front and rear wings to maximum attack and you’ll enjoy a 150 percent increase in downforce.
It’s not just tricky aero-work that has us eager to set this new car loose on an open mountain road. For the first time, a Porsche GT3 car will utilize a double-wishbone front suspension setup. Porsche says this arrangement-derived from the 911 RSR and 911 GT3 Cup car-will give the new car even more direct and precise steering than its predecessor, improving mid-corner behavior and high-speed cornering stability along the way. The rear suspension uses a multilink design, just like the previous version, and despite the fact that this GT3 is based on the 911 Carrera body, it does not share any suspension components with that model.
The new car features massive 16.06-inch front brake rotors, a 1.1-inch gain over the previous GT3. While the standard units are iron, Porsche will offer its powerful Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) as an option, for a surely hellacious fee. The PCCB brakes weigh roughly half as much as the iron ones and will offer better durability for hard track use. At all four corners you’ll find GT-specific forged alloy wheels measuring 20 inches in the front and 21 inches in the rear. Relative to the previous GT3, the front wheels are a half-inch wider so that you can stuff even more sticky rubber in those front wheel wells. Despite being physically larger, the wheels are actually a total of 3.5 pounds lighter than those on the previous-generation car. A Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 ultra-high performance summer tire comes standard, measuring 255/35 up front and 315/30 in the rear. For the first time, Porsche says it will also offer a street-legal track tire, the Pilot Sport Cup 2 R-an option previously reserved for the GT2 RS and GT3 RS.
Inside, a multifunction steering wheel includes a new drive mode switch, a first for the GT3. Going from cruiser to killer is now as simple as twisting the dial on the wheel. Four-way sport seats are standard, but for additional coin, you can spring for 18-way adjustable sport seats or hardcore, full-carbon-fiber bucket seats, the latter of which shaves another 26 pounds from the car’s curb weight. There’s a GT-specific “track screen” that reduces the amount of information displayed in the two screens either side of the centrally-mounted tachometer, helping keep the driver’s focus where it should be: the next curve. An available Chrono package will add an analog stopwatch in the center of the dashboard, as well as a digital stopwatch in the instrument cluster to keep tabs on your lap times.
Speaking of lap times, the new 911 GT3 clocked an astonishing 6:59.927 lap around the 12.944-mile configuration of the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. That’s an eye-watering 17 seconds faster than the previous-generation car. While the car is by no means designed purely to chase lap times, knowing that the car is part of the elusive sub-seven club will be a convenient bragging point for owners.
Pause a moment and bask in the noise and fury of the onboard footage from that lap, embedded below.
Just how much will it cost for the privilege to own the new GT3 when it arrives in showrooms this fall? Porsche hasn’t released any pricing details yet, but don’t expect it to come cheap given that the outgoing car stickered just shy of $150K.
If that seems like an outrageous price, consider this: Porsche is choosing to drag a deeply outdated formula-a rear-engine, free-breathing, manually-shifted, low-riding sports car-into the present day. While an EV-dominated future is creeping ever closer to the present, the 911 GT3 endures as an example of everything people love about driving fast, and for fun. Bravo, Porsche. We can’t wait to drive it.
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