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History of the Porsche 911 GT3

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History of the Porsche 911 GT3

Porsche had used many alpha-numeric designations before but in 1999 the Porsche faithful were puzzled at the introduction of a name they never seen before, the GT3. Little did they know it would become one of the most sought after of Porsche's models.

During the 964 RS and 993 RS era, the comfort and hardcore versions both carried the RS badge. In fact many who ordered the comfort spec version had also replaced many of the “unnecessary” weight-bearing items like the power windows, radio and air-conditioning something which was instrumental in helping Porsche decide in the future of their RS models. Also the price range was similar within the RS family limiting Porsche's profits. However much had been learnt during this time to mass produce these special models on the production line instead and Porsche planned to do this during the 996 model especially with the new product, the GT3. You could say the genetic mother for the GT3 was the 964 RS Touring.

History of the Porsche 911 GT3

Ostensibly the Porsche 911 GT3 was made for the purposes of FIA homologation to race in the GT3 category as well as become their Porsche Supercup race car. Porsche's Motorsport arm was tasked to develop this new special “hot” model, essentially in essence the comfort version of the aforementioned RS models as the GT3 sold with all the creature comforts of the 911 Carrera range. But the plot was really thicker than that because Porsche actually wanted to return to GT1 racing and had engineer Hans Mezger design a new race engine for GT1 racing. The cost for this new engine was far too much to get Boardroom approval. They had to come up with a clever plan.

That plan involved using the Mezger flat six on all future production high-powered 911s to help defray the development and manufacturing cost over what they hoped would be thousands of engines. That list would include the Turbo, Turbo S, GT3, GT3 RS, GT2 and GT2 RS models (and not forgetting all the GT3 RSR, Cup, Supercup versions) in the 996 and 997 series. At least that was the plan but the last 997 Turbo and Turbo S got the new DFI engine from the normal production line spelling the end of the Mezger engine era with a deserving send off with the GT3 RS 4.0.

History of the Porsche 911 GT3

1999-2000 - Porsche 911 GT3 (Type 996 mk I)

So fortunately for the 996 GT3 mk I, it was the an early recipient of this marvellous engine. When it was first introduced it was a puzzle as to what this GT3 really stood for as it did not go through any lightening and chassis rewelding like the previous 964 RS and 993 RS cars. But Porsche had already planned for a much stiffer standard 996 chassis reaching 30,000 Nm per degree of torsional stiffness which is more than a match for a rewelded 993 chassis even in its standard form. For the GT3 models Porsche chose to use the C4 body as it was a bit stiffer thanks to the forward transmission tunnel design.

Porsche by now had decided that no longer were normal production specials to be made at their Weissach Motorsport facility, using up Motorsport technicians' and engineers' precious time. All the GT3s, and RS's were to be made and assembled at Zuffenhausen. Motorsport was to plan and design the engine and chassis components that could be assembled like any other model on the main production line.

History of the Porsche 911 GT3

The GT3’s technical ingredients originated from the Weissach motor racing department: separate oil tank for the dry sump lubrication system, GT1 crankcase, dual-mass flywheel, differential lock, titanium connecting rods plus modified engine and transmission mounts and an 89-litre fuel tank. The result was an output of 360 hp (265 kW) from a displacement of 3.6 litres, accelerating the 1,350 kg GT3 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.8 seconds. With a top speed of 302 km/h (188 mph), the 911 GT3 was also optionally available with a Clubsport package for use in motor racing.

Of course we now know that Porsche had planned for an RS but for some reason not with the GT3 mk I. The GT3 would become the Comfort version of the RS but now it would not carry the illustrious RS moniker. That would be reserved for something rather more special and far more expensive(more profits), a rather clever piece of marketing. The GT3 then would not cost to much more than a normal Carrera S but would still qualify for homologation under GT3 regulations and still sell in significant numbers without costing Porsche too much to make. Between 1999 and 2000 numbers of the 996 GT3 hit 1868 with many buyers believing this was the RS incarnate.

They were not completely wrong as the GT3 made all the right moves and all the right noises. Thanks to what they have learnt over the years, the GT3 was the essence distilled from the original rough and ready 2.7 RS. But after so many years Porsche Motorsport had developed a few tricks of their own and was ready to put it to use in the GT3 mk II as the GT3 RS, marking the return of a most iconic name in the annals of Porsche history.

History of the Porsche 911 GT3

2003-2004 - Porsche 911 GT3 (Type 996 mk II)

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