New Models: Porsche 991 GT3 R

Porsche Motorsport has launched the all-new Porsche 911 GT3 R at the Nürburgring 24-Hour. The new 991 GT3 R joins the current factory race car lineup of 919 LMP1 Hybrid and 991 RSR, and the customer 991 Cup, which is built on the Stuttgart production line.

Based on the 991 GT3 RS, the 991 GT3 R comes with a four-litre flat-six making 500bhp and costs an impressive €429,000 plus VAT: almost $500,000 plus applicable taxes, according to fxtop.com. In comparison, the 991 Cup (GT3 based) with 460bhp from its 3.8-litre engine costs just €181,000* plus tax. So what do you get for your half-million dollars?

Porsche 991 GT3 R 911 race car-3

“In developing the latest 911 race car, special attention was paid to lightweight design, better aerodynamic efficiency, reducing consumption, improved handling, further optimised safety as well as lowering service and spare parts costs,” says the Porsche press release.

That lightweight design starts with aluminium, carbon fibre and polycarbonate: all the glazing – including the windscreen – is now polycarbonate (EB Motorsport sells a similar polycarbonate windscreen for early Porsche 911s if you’re in the market). The roof, front panels, doors, rear quarters and tail section are all carbon fibre.

Porsche 991 GT3 R 911 race car-4

Lowering body and suspension weight across the 991’s longer wheelbase (83mm longer than a 997) means an ‘optimised’ centre of gravity has been achieved. I presume that optimised means lower and further forward than the 997: no doubt one of my race engineer friends will fill me in on this over a beer some night.

One big change on the new GT3 R is a move to a centre front radiator. Anyone who has watched Supercup racing at Monaco knows that even a small hit to one front corner can wipe out a radiator and then a race motor too, as the damaged car limps back to the pits with soaring engine temps.

Porsche 991 GT3 R 911 race car-6

Going to a centre rad (as seen on older Porsche 911 race cars with centrally-mounted oil coolers) helps airflow and aerodynamics too, allowing more control of the hot air beneath the front wings and around the front axle. The 991 GT3 R brings in the same front wing vents from the 991 GT3 RS to reduce front end lift, but then the 997 GT3 R also had front wing vents: not a great deal is different.

Brakes at 6-piston 380mm front/4-piston 372mm rear are the same as GT3 Cup, and the wheels are also the same 310mm width at the rear. Paddle shift of the six-speed sequential transmission, direct injection, variable valve timing, 120-litre fuel cell: it’s all as one would expect from a top-flight Porsche racing car costing £370,000 including VAT.

Porsche 991 GT3 R 911 race car-7

Deliveries start in December this year, so we won’t see the Porsche 991 GT3 R on race tracks before 2016. How competitive will it be? That depends on who decides to run it, and what the competition does in the meantime. See below for some Porsche video of the new 911 GT3 R in action.

*latest available price – Dec 2012

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