Top Gear South Africa
Progress Report Porsche 911 GT3 Image Credit: Top Gear South Africa
Progress Report Porsche 911 GT3 Image Credit: Top Gear South Africa

Progress Report Porsche 911 GT3

20 years of road and track development have ensured that Porsche has focused on exactly what the GT3 should be

In 1998 Porsche won Le Mans with the 911 GT1. This may seem an irrelevant way to start a story about the GT3, but it reveals just how close the link is between road and race at Porsche and also why the GT3 has such a stellar reputation. Winning Le Mans required a new engine, but the cost of developing it was prohibitive – unless Porsche could use that same engine in its road cars…

This was the fabled Mezger flat-six. In the GT1 it was a 3.2-litre twin-turbo; for the 996 GT3 that arrived the following year, it lost the turbos, had modified heads and a 3.6-litre capacity. And the road car’s influence stretched in other directions – it allowed the homologation of the GT3 racecar, it formed the basis of the Supercup racer. Basically the GT3 was the lynchpin that held Porsche’s motorsport programme together.

It was also the starting point of a new strategy. Until now, Porsche’s hardcore RS models had been built at the Weissach motorsport centre, but from the arrival of the first GT3 onwards, they would be developed at Weissach but built on the regular 911 production line at Zuffenhausen. That’s not to say it wasn’t as special – based on the 911 C4 body because it was a bit stiffer than the C2, it had a GT1 crankcase, titanium conrods, dual-mass flywheel, bespoke suspension and so on. The GT3 badge was new as well, felt to suggest a motorsport vibe, but the car itself was designed to be more in t

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