By Steven Cole Smith / Hagerty.com
The new 2023 Porsche 911 GT3 RS is clear in its intentions, Porsche says. It is uncompromisingly designed for maximum performance. The 518-horsepower road-legal high-performance sports car takes full advantage of technology and concepts from motorsports. Even beyond the high-revving naturally aspirated engine with racing DNA and intelligent lightweight construction, it is, above all, the cooling and aerodynamic systems of the 911 GT3 RS that connect it most directly with its motorsport brother, the 911 GT3 R.
The basis for a significant performance boost is the concept of a central radiator—an idea that was first used in the Le Mans class-winning 911 RSR and subsequently in the 911 GT3 R. Instead of the three-radiator layout seen in previous cars, the new 911 GT3 RS relies on a large, angled center radiator in the car’s nose, positioned where the luggage compartment is located on other 911 models.
This innovation has made it possible to use the space freed up on the sides to integrate active aerodynamic elements. Continuously adjustable wing elements in the front and on the two-part rear wing, in combination with a number of other aerodynamic measures, provide more than 900 pounds of downforce at approximately 124 mph—twice that of the 991.2-generation predecessor and three times as much as a current 911 GT3.
At 177 mph, total downforce is 1895 pounds, or the equivalent of an entire Porsche 356 A. A drag reduction system (DRS) is fitted in a production Porsche for the first time. To achieve low drag and higher speeds on straight sections of the track, the DRS allows the wings to be flattened out at the push of a button, within a specific operating range. During hard braking at high speeds, the airbrake function positions the wing elements at the front and rear to support deceleration by maximize aerodynamic drag.
The purposeful look of the new 911 GT3 RS is characterized by the large number of functional aerodynamic elements. The most prominent feature of the GT sports car is the swan-neck-supported rear wing, which is significantly larger in all dimensions than the wing of its predecessor.
The rear wing consists of a fixed main wing and a hydraulically adjustable upper blade. For the first time on a Porsche production vehicle, the upper edge of the rear wing is higher than the roof. A front splitter divides the air flowing over and underneath working in parallel with side blades on the front fascia that deflect air outwards. Front wheel-arch ventilation is provided via louvered openings in the front quarter panels.
Inlets behind the front wheels inspired by the iconic Le Mans-winning 911 GT1 reduce the dynamic pressure in the wheel arches. Air from the centrally positioned radiator flows out of large nostrils on the front lid – further back, fins on the roof direct the air outwards, ensuring cooler intake temperatures in the rear. In the new 911 GT3 RS, the openings in the rear side panel are used exclusively to improve aerodynamics and not to draw in combustion air. The rear wheel arch also features an intake and a side blade for optimized airflow. The rear diffuser is a modified version of that fitted to the 911 GT3.
Even the suspension is modified for improved aerodynamics. Because the wheel arches of the new 911 GT3 RS are subject to powerful airflow, the components of the double-wishbone front axle are designed with teardrop-shaped profiles. These aerodynamically efficient links increase downforce on the front axle by around 88 pounds at top track speed and are otherwise only used in high-end motorsport applications.
The 911 GT3 RS offers three driving modes: Normal, Sport, and Track. In Track mode, the basic settings can be individually adjusted. Among other settings, the rebound and compression damping of the front and rear axles can be adjusted separately and in several stages. The rear differential can also be adjusted via rotary controls on the steering wheel. This is done quickly and intuitively, Porsche says, with an operating and display concept also borrowed from endurance racing. Four individual rotary controls and a button for the Drag Reduction System (DRS) are located on the steering wheel.
The 4.0-liter high-revving and naturally aspirated engine has been further optimized compared with the 911 GT3. The increase in power to 518 horses (from 502 in the 911 GT3) is achieved primarily via new camshafts with modified cam profiles. The single-throttle intake system and the rigid valvetrain are derived from motorsports. Like the 911 GT3, this engine also has six individual throttle bodies; one per cylinder. The seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) has a shorter overall gear ratio than the 911 GT3 and is aided by air intakes on the underbody to ensure that the transmission can withstand even extreme loads during frequent use on track.
The 911 GT3 RS goes from 0 to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds (911 GT3 – 3.2 seconds) and reaches a top speed of 184 mph in seventh gear. Six-piston aluminum monobloc fixed-caliper brakes and brake discs with a diameter of 408 mm are used on the front axle. The optional Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) use 410-mm discs on the front axle and 390-mm discs on the rear axle. The new 911 GT3 RS also comes standard with forged light-alloy center-locking wheels. Tires measure 275/35 R 20 at the front and 335/30 R21 at the rear.
Thanks to an array of lightweight construction measures such as the extensive use of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), the 911 GT3 RS weighs in at only 3268 pounds.
The Weissach package, which is available as an option, includes a considerable number of changes to the standard vehicle. The hood, roof, parts of the rear wing, and the upper portion of the side mirrors housing feature visible carbon fiber. The front and rear anti-roll bars, the rear coupling rods and the shear panel on the rear axle are made of CFRP.
Another highlight of the Weissach package is the pair of shift paddles with motorsport-derived magnet technology. This makes gear changes feel especially precise thanks to a pressure point and a clearly perceptible click. Forged magnesium wheels are included in the Weissach package and save 17.6 pounds of unsprung weight compared to the standard wheels.
The 2023 911 GT3 RS is expected to arrive at U.S. dealers by Spring 2023. The starting MSRP is $223,800 excluding $1450 for processing, delivery, and handling. If the 911 GT3 is anything to go by, the even spicier RS will be a hot-ticket item for Porsche diehards, and considerable dealer markups at this point seem inevitable.
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