Since 1964, Porsche has perfectly mastered the art of serving a broad range of customers ranging from those who simply love driving to ambitious sports pilots with the 911 model series. Technology transfer from motor racing to series production (and vice-versa) forms a firm part of the Porsche philosophy which is held in high regard by sports car drivers around the globe. No wonder, because the 911 is not only the world’s most frequently built racing car but also currently the most successful GT racing car ever.
The Italian term “Gran Turismo” – shortened to GT – denotes a traditional motor sport category. GT translates as “grand touring”, because relatively comfortable, enclosed two-seater sports cars built for endurance races were originally registered according to the GT regulations. Due to the technical proximity to series production, Porsche exploited GT motor racing as a proving ground for production development at a relatively early stage. The type 356 A 1500 GS Carrera GT from 1957 was the first Porsche sports car to bear the characteristic letters that were soon destined to become a huge sensation on race tracks worldwide. Other outstanding Porsche GT vehicles included the Porsche 356 B 1600 GS Carrera GTL Abarth and the 904 Carrera GTS, for instance.
In the mid-90s, the supreme motor racing body (FIA) once again reshuffled the various racing categories. Besides the top-performance GT1 class, GT2 and GT3 classes have also been in existence since then. For Porsche, the GT2 class increasingly became the Zuffenhausen racing cars’ main area of commitment thanks to its near-production regulations. By building GT racing cars such as the GT3 RSR, GT3 R, GT3 R Hybrid and the GT 3 Cup, Porsche has to this day continued the tradition of offering its customers vehicles with which they can successfully compete in motor racing around the world. In addition to numerous races under the FIA umbrella, Porsche customers from all corners of the globe also use their near-production racing cars in the Porsche brand trophies.
At Porsche, the close relationship between motor sport and series production has resulted time and again in the construction of road-legal homologation models which thrill with their uncompromising sportiness. Latter-day 911 models containing the letters “GT” in their name, the 911 GT3, 911 GT3 RS or GT2 RS, are uncompromisingly sporty production vehicles oriented closely to motor racing thanks to their outstanding power-to-weight ratio, high agility and extraordinary efficiency. Completely in keeping with Porsche Intelligent Performance, they are continuing a success story which began with the legendary 911 Carrera RS back in the early 70s.
Porsche 911 Carrera RS (1972)
The close ties between series production and motor sport have long been the tradition at Porsche: the 911 Carrera RS, introduced in 1972 as a road-legal basis for GT motor racing, was a milestone in the history of Porsche. Initially available as a type approval batch of 500 cars, the “RS” was soon in such high demand amongst customers that Porsche produced a total of 1,525 units of this high-performance sports car, which carried a price tag of DM 34,000. No wonder, because the performance offered by the world’s first production sports car with a front and rear spoiler were extraordinary in the early seventies. Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) took just 5.8 seconds, with well run-in vehicles reaching a top speed of almost 250 km/h (155 mph). These values were attained through consistent lightweight design. Besides using thin panels and thin glass plus plastic hoods and bumpers, the Porsche engineers also managed to reduce weight elsewhere, not least in the interior. The driver and passenger sat in light bucket seats, the doors were opened using a loop and the clock and glove compartment lid were absent from the dashboard due to weight reasons. However, the experience of driving in the Carrera RS, which weighed under 1,000 kg in the sports version, was even more impressive than the data looked on paper. The free-revving flat engine was capable of extremely spontaneous acceleration and developed a sound which gave sports car fans goose bumps in the upper engine speed range. Many Carrera RS customers also used their vehicles intensively in motor sport, where they proved victorious in rallies, hill climbing events and on racing circuits.
911 Carrera RS 3.0 (1973)
In the form of what was known as the “G Series”, the Porsche 911 took on a new appearance in September 1973, retained by the model series up to the end of the eighties. With the 911 Carrera RS 3.0, Porsche also immediately presented a road-legal competition version of the re-engineered 911: like its predecessor, this was also equipped with a lighter-weight body with thin sheeting used in the outer roof and door skins. Consistent lightweight design actually enabled the weight to be reduced to 900 kilograms. Flared wheel arches, a plastic front spoiler with integrated oil cooler and an enlarged rear spoiler drew optical attention to the Carrera RS 3.0’s use in motor sport. To improve its stability, the vehicle was fitted with the flat-six engine, uprated to a displacement of three liters, with an aluminum crankcase. In view of the engine’s increased output of 230 hp (169 kW), the extensively tested four-piston aluminum fixed caliper brake system from the Porsche 917 was installed. However, this RS variant was only rarely seen on the road, because the majority of vehicles were used on the racetrack by private customer teams. A total of just 110 911 Carrera RS 3.0 vehicles were built, with 50 of these being converted to even higher-performance RSR versions.
911 SC/RS (1984)
In the autumn of 1983, Porsche presented a further exclusive motor sport variant of the 911: the 911 SC/RS. The objective of homologation for group B led to the construction of 20 911 SC/RS vehicles, available exclusively in white, with an impressive list price of DM 188,100. Although the new series production model, the 911 Carrera 3.2, was already coming off the assembly line in Zuffenhausen at this point in time, the 911 SC’s three-liter engine was used as the technical basis. Increased compression, forged pistons, a Kugelfischer fuel injection system and the cylinder heads fitted in the Porsche 935 raised the engine’s output to 250 hp (184 kW), more than ample for dealing with the 911 SC/RS, which weighed a mere 1,057 kg when fully fuelled. Oriented towards rally sport, the 911 SC/RS placed virtually all of its road-legal competitors in the shade with acceleration from zero to 160 km/h (0-99 mph) in just 11.7 seconds. The Porsche engineers took the vehicle’s suspension and brakes from the 911 Turbo. Further lightweight components such as plastic bumpers, aluminum parts and thin glass served to reduce weight. Bearing the colors of cigarette manufacturer Rothmans, the 911 SC/RS immediately demonstrated its abilities the first time it was unleashed: in 1984, Saeed al Hajri won the approx. 6,000 kilometer (3728 mi) long Qatar Rally, part of the Middle East Championship, in his 911 SC/RS.
911 Carrera RS (1991)
At the Birmingham International Motor Show in 1990, Porsche presented a new Carrera RS version, with which the 911 model series’ type 964 was to be homologenised for the N/GT group. As in previous RS vehicles, the Weissach-based engineers attached great value to a low vehicle weight, tipping the scales at 1,220 kg, 10 percent less than the series production variant. To achieve this, the bonnet was manufactured from aluminum, thin glass was used in the rear and side windows, and savings were made in both vehicle insulation and underbody protection due to weight reasons. Both the power steering system and the dual-mass flywheel were additionally sacrificed to optimize weight. The most important welding spots were also reinforced to attain higher body stiffness, enabling very sporty handling in combination with the vehicle’s very hard, 40 mm lower suspension. The vehicle was powered by a re-engineered 3.6-litre 260 hp (191 kW) engine fitted with stiffer rubber bearings instead of hydraulic engine mounts. The 911 Carrera RS was available in three different versions: as a purist basic version with bucket seats, as a comfortable version with sports seats and power windows, and as an N/GT racing version with roll cage for sporting use on the race circuit.
911 Carrera RS 3.8 (1993)
Launched in 1993, the 3.8-litre variant of the type 964 was a particular highlight in the evolution of the 911 Carrera RS. As a limited series of just 90 units (including the RSR version), this rare “RS” was built by hand at Porsche’s motor racing department in Weissach. The most eye-catching features of the 911 Carrera RS 3.8 were its Turbo-width body, its additional front corner spoilers and its large, 6-fold adjustable double rear wing. Due to weight reasons, the interior was stripped of all but the essentials: no airbags, no rear seats, no rear side trims. Instead, pure lightweight design resulting in a weight of 1,210 kg. With its output of 300 hp (221 kW), the rear-mounted 3.8-litre flat engine ensured plenty of driving enjoyment, further underpinned by the emphatically taut suspension. The range of colors was reduced to a few particularly sporty shades such as Grand Prix White, Indian Red and Speed Yellow. As type approval for the 911 Carrera RS was not available for the USA, the 911 RS America was built for this market. As standard, this vehicle was fitted with a fixed rear wing and 17” cup wheels. Black, Indian Red and Grand Prix White were available as standard colors. The occasional seats had made way for a luggage storage compartment, and the lightweight door linings were taken from the Carrera RS.
911 Carrera RS (1995)
The 911 Carrera RS version of the type 993 series also offered pure sportiness. In 1995, the new 911 type series’ second year, Porsche demonstrated that the 911 had retained its sporty genes. Powered by a 300 hp (221 kW) 3.8-litre engine with Varioram intake system, this 911 Carrera RS was capable of achieving a top speed of 277 km/h (172 mph), accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in just 5.0 seconds. The secret of these vehicle dynamics once again lay in consistent lightweight design, resulting in an unladen weight of 1,270 kg. Optically, the RS variant of the type 993 series, only around 1,000 of which were built, can be recognized by its front corner spoilers and its flat rear spoiler. Optionally ordering the 911 Carrera RS to Club Sport specifications with a large front and rear spoiler was also possible. This additionally came equipped with a roll cage, strut brace, 6-point seat belts, main battery switch, fire extinguisher and fabric-covered bucket seats.
Porsche 911 GT2 (1995)
In 1995, Porsche’s traditionally close relationship between motor racing and series production was once again reaffirmed by an extraordinary road-legal sports car: the 911 GT2’s type 993. Thanks to extensive lightweight design measures, this GT2 weighed in at 200 kg less than the normal 911 Turbo, whilst its engine output was increased by 22 hp (16 kW) to 430 hp (316 kW). The GT2’s suspension was also modified, being given a tauter set-up and lowered by 22 millimeters. Besides its bolted-on, plastic wheel arch flares, the 911 GT2 was primarily recognizable by its dominant rear wing with lateral air intakes. Its performance made the 911 GT2 the fastest of all series production Porsche vehicles thus far: with acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in only 4.4 seconds, it was capable of a top speed of 295 km/h (183 mph). However, the likelihood of ever seeing a 911 GT2 on the road has always been slight. From 1995 to 1997, just 172 of these high-performance sports cars were built with a price tag of at least DM 268,000. 1998 saw the introduction of a further 21 units of the air-cooled GT2, whose re-engineered bi-turbo flat engine now offered an output of 450 hp (331 kW).
Porsche 911 GT1 road version (1997)
In August 1997, Porsche introduced a new high-performance sports car as the legitimate successor to the legendary 959, creating a stir amongst automobile enthusiasts around the world: the 911 GT1. A road version of the 911 GT1 used in Le Mans in 1997, whose performance overshadowed everything which had come before it, was created as a limited homologation series comprising just 21 vehicles. With a power-to-weight ratio of only 2.05 kg per hp, this super sports car accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in just 3.7 seconds, reaching a speed of 200 km/h (124 mph) in a mere 10.5 seconds. The 911 GT1’s technical ingredients came straight from the race track. The mid-engine chassis was manufactured in the Weissach motor racing department in a composite design consisting of sheet steel and carbon fiber-reinforced plastic. Racing technology was also employed in the suspension. Both axles were fitted with double wishbone suspension with push rods; 8-piston and 4-piston monobloc brake calipers fitted on the 380 mm brake discs at the front and rear respectively served to decelerate the vehicle. In principle, the GT1 road version’s engine corresponded to that fitted in the GT race cars. From a displacement of 3,163 cm3, the water-cooled six-cylinder bi-turbo engine developed 544 hp (400 kW) at 7,200 rpm, offering an impressive 600 Nm of torque. The exclusiveness of this extraordinary limited series was also reflected in its selling price. In 1997, the road version went on sale at a price of DM 1,550,000. Encountering a 911 GT1 outside of the Porsche Museum is likely to be a very rare occurrence. Today, these scarce vehicles are sought-after collectors’ items and are watched over very closely by their owners.
911 GT3 (1999)
Traditionally, Porsche is engaged in motor racing not only to win but also to obtain development know-how which is integrated into series production. With the launch of the Porsche Carrera Cup in Germany in 1990, Porsche implemented the idea of its own racing series surrounding the legendary 911 sports car and simultaneously boosted private owner sport. This was also the tradition behind the 911 GT3 Cup for the type 996 series, offering brand trophy races for the Super Cup from 1998 and the Carrera Cup as of 1999. Porsche first introduced the 911 GT3 in May 1999 as an on-road homologation model. With its uprated naturally aspirated engine, a particularly taut suspension set-up and its lighter body, it was aimed at especially sporty purchasers. 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 liters, accelerating the 1,350 kg sports car 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. Model year 2003 saw the development of an extensively re-engineered version of the 911 GT3, which now offered an output of 381 hp (280 kW) and further improvements in a number of details.
911 GT2 (2000)
As a special kind of extreme sports vehicle, Porsche launched the 911 GT2 of the type 996 series in the autumn of 2000. Based on the 911 Turbo, this road-legal super sports car impressed with performance previously exhibited only by thoroughbred race cars. After a mere 12.9 seconds, the GT2 reached the 200 km/h (124 mph) mark, immediately setting a lap record for series production vehicles at the Nürburgring. Optically, the 911 GT2 made it clear at first glance that it embodied a purist approach to the principle of power: recognizable from the front due to a modified front section with three large air intakes plus additional ventilation slots, a fixed spoiler with adjustable wing profile ensured ample contact pressure at the rear. True to Ferry Porsche’s maxim that “driving fun isn’t created by comfort”, the 911 GT2 was available exclusively with a 6-speed manual transmission. The suspension design was no less sporty: height, track, camber and anti-roll bars were adjustable for motor sports. In addition, the brake system was a genuine innovation, because the 911 GT2 was the first production model to be fitted with the Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB). In the spring of 2003, Porsche presented a further evolutionary stage of the 911 GT2, now boasting 483 hp (355 kW) at 5,700 rpm. Like its smaller sibling, the 911 GT3, this GT2 was also available with a Clubsport package at no extra charge.
911 GT3 RS (2003)
In 2003 Porsche once again introduced a motor racing homologation model with the 911 GT3 RS which was to thrill sports car drivers around the world. The 911 GT3 RS of the type 996 series was designed as a road-legal version of a thoroughbred race car according to the FIA-N/GT and ACO regulations. Yet again, development was focused on an optimal power-to-weight ratio. This was 4.86 kg/kW. Upholding the tradition of its famous predecessors, the basic color used for all of the vehicles was white, with optional blue or red lettering. The road version of this top sports car was equipped with technical features which were also subsequently fitted in the RSR racing version: the wheel carriers, split wishbones on the front and rear axles, the optimized chassis geometry and a particularly light polycarbonate rear window or carbon bonnet and rear wing are just a few examples. The high-revving engine’s displacement of 3.6 liters offered an output of 381 hp (280 kW) at 7,300 rpm. The maximum engine speed was 8,200 rpm. A so-called ram-air collector beneath the rear wing was used to supply additional air to the engine at high speeds. The vehicle’s performance was accordingly impressive: the GT3 RS accelerated from zero to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 4.4 seconds and reached 200 km/h (124 mph) from a standstill in precisely 14 seconds. Its top speed was 306 km/h (190 mph).
911 GT3 (2006)
In the spring of 2006, Porsche dealers took delivery of a new generation of the 911 GT3 (type 997), taking the topic of vehicle dynamics to a new level as the link between road and race track. Its 3.6-litre naturally aspirated engine developed 415 hp (305 kW), equivalent to a specific output of 115.3 hp/liter. The GT3 therefore established a new top value for road-legal, naturally aspirated production sports cars in this displacement class. The flat-six engine achieved its rated output at 7,600 rpm, with a maximum engine speed of 8,400 rpm. The naturally aspirated engine also achieved top values amongst series production sports cars with these figures. In addition to this high-speed concept, which was only achievable by consistently reducing moving masses, the further optimized air throughput made a crucial contribution towards the increase in output. The six-speed manual transmission was also adapted to the new GT3 engine’s extended speed range by reducing the gear ratios. This resulted in acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in a mere 4.3 seconds, with the GT3 reaching a speed of 160 km/h (99 mph) from a standing start in 8.7 seconds. The speedometer pointer indicated a top speed of 310 km/h (193 mph).
911 GT3 RS (2006)
As of the autumn of 2006, a particularly purist variant of the GT3 was available in the form of the 911 GT3 RS of the type 997 series. This was particularly suitable for use on racing circuits. The GT3 RS was characterized by the performance and unadulterated experience of driving a racing car, but simultaneously met all of the requirements for road-legal sports cars. The extraordinarily agile engine’s displacement of 3.6 liters offered an output of 415 hp (305 kW) at 7,600 rpm. These values corresponded to those of the 911 GT3, but the “RS” enabled the achievement of even better performance. Thanks to a six-speed transmission with tightly-spaced gear ratios and a single-mass flywheel plus the vehicle’s 20 kilogram lower weight, the engine was even more spontaneous, enabling the 911 GT3 RS to reach 100 km/h (62 mph) from a standing start in 4.2 seconds. The 200 km/h (124 mph) mark was reached after 13.3 seconds. The vehicle’s top speed was 310 km/h (193 mph). One of the features of the new “RS” was its body, which was 44 mm wider at the rear than the 911 GT3, a characteristic taken over from the Carrera 4 models. The muscular rear end concealed an increased track width, which not only improved stability but also increased the two-seater coupé’s lateral acceleration potential.
Despite its individual body, the “RS” was 20 kilograms lighter than the GT3, tipping the scales at 1,375 kilograms. Amongst other aspects, this weight reduction was achieved by using an adjustable carbon rear wing, a plastic rear lid and a light plastic rear window. Accordingly, its power-to-weight ratio was 4.5 kg/kW.
911 GT2 (2007)
With the 911 GT2 of the type 997 series, Porsche presented what was thus far the fastest and most powerful Porsche 911 of all time at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2007. Its 3.6-litre flat bi-turbo engine offered an output of 530 hp (390 kW) at 6,500 rpm. The 911 GT2 raced to a speed of 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 3.7 seconds. The top model within the 911 series only ended its tempestuous acceleration on reaching a speed of 329 kilometers per hour (204 mph). Its low weight of 1,440 kilograms, its rear-wheel drive and its top aerodynamic value of cd = 0.32 not only ensured extraordinary sportiness but also outstanding performance in terms of efficiency. The 911 GT2 consumed an average of 12.5 liters of Premium Plus fuel in the EU cycle, thus revealing an extraordinarily low value in its vehicle class. In comparison with the 911 Carrera, the new GT2 was lowered by approximately 25 millimeters, with its suspension being tailored specifically to the requirements of the 911 GT2. Deceleration was ensured by the Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB) system as standard, with 380 millimeter brake discs at the front and 350 millimeter discs at the rear. Fitted in a 911 GT2 for the first time, the Porsche Stability Management (PSM) system could be shut-off in two stages, whereby the ABS system remained constantly active. The driver was able to successively deactivate lateral and longitudinal dynamics control and thus “tweak” the vehicle’s handling to his individual requirements. Via the engine management system, a Launch Control function offered the driver optimal acceleration from a standing start. The Traction Control (TC) system was also available for optimal longitudinal dynamics on acceleration. A further technical highlight fitted as standard in the 911 GT2, the first time in a road-legal Porsche, was an exhaust system with a titanium rear silencer and tailpipes.
911 GT3 (2009)
Now with even greater power, speed and precision, the 911 GT3 of the type 997/II series set out its finely honed skills from May 2009. Numerous discoveries from the world of motor racing were traditionally integrated into the further development of the sports car, which is why the GT3 not only performed convincingly on the road but also on the race track. Development focused on further enhancing performance and vehicle dynamics, a feat which was impressively achieved thanks to a range of improvements. In particular, the 911 GT3 honed its two core skills: performance and handling. With an increased displacement of 3.8 litres, the six-cylinder naturally aspirated engine developed 435 hp (320 kW), a gain of 20 hp (15 kW) on the previous model. The flat-six’s overhaul additionally led to a palpable increase in torque at the mid-range engine speeds that are especially relevant in everyday driving. The new GT3 also delivered improved road performance: it accelerated from zero to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 4.1 seconds and reached 160 km/h (99 mph) from a standstill in 8.2 seconds. Its top speed was 312 km/h (194 mph). At the same time, its fuel consumption and exhaust emissions were reduced. As of the autumn of 2009, an option which further enhanced the new 911 GT3’s race track suitability and therefore its competitiveness was available: the innovative dynamic engine mounting system PADM (Porsche Active Drivetrain Mount). Based on the sensor system already fitted in the 911 GT3, this recognized a racing driving style and modified the normally elastic engine suspension.
911 GT3 RS (2010)
Porsche launched a new 911 GT3 RS at the beginning of 2010. With a higher engine output, lower weight, shorter transmission ratios and re-engineered body and suspension elements, the new 911 GT3 RS was developed as the type approval basis for the racing 911 GT3 and ticked all the boxes for further success on the racetrack. It therefore continued the series of uncompromisingly sporty 911 models licensed for road use. The nerve centre of the new 911 GT3 RS, the engine, was based on the engine fitted in the 911 GT3. Exactly like the latter, the RS power unit now had a displacement of 3.8 instead of 3.6 liters. It also offered higher performance and was livelier. At its rear end it had a tuned-up, high-revving, naturally aspirated engine developing 450 hp (331 kw), 15 hp (11 kW) more than the 911 GT3’s engine. The six-cylinder engine therefore achieved a specific output of over 118 hp (87 kW) per liter, an extreme top value for naturally aspirated engines in world-wide comparison. In contrast to numerous high-performance engines, however, the power plant fitted in the new 911 GT3 RS remained unreservedly suitable for daily use. The new 911 GT3 RS was exclusively available with a six-speed manual gearbox optimized to achieve short shift throw, low weight and high efficiency. To increase performance across the entire engine and vehicle speed range, the gear ratios were lower than those in the 911 GT3, consciously foregoing a higher top speed.
911 GT2 RS (2010)
The time: seven minutes, 18 seconds on the Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit. The output: 620 hp (456 kW). The weight: 1,370 kilograms in road trim with all fluids on board. The car: the Porsche 911 GT2 RS. The GT2 RS celebrated its world premiere at the Moscow Auto Show in August 2010. The current GT, the top model within the 911 series, was the fastest and most high-performance production sports car in the history of Porsche AG. With output increased by 90 hp (66 kW) and weight reduced by 70 kilograms in comparison with the 911 GT2, the new 911 GT2 RS weighed in at just 2.21 kilograms per hp, by far the best power-to-weight ratio in its class. These figures singled it out as an absolutely top-performance sports car that was highly agile and outstanding on the road – in short, a prime example of Porsche Intelligent Performance. Because despite this increased output, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions fell by around 5% in comparison with the 911 GT2 to 11.9 ltr./100 km (23.7 mpg imp.) and 284 g/km respectively. The 3.6-litre flat-six engine with forced aspiration via two turbochargers with variable turbine geometry (VTG) drives the rear wheels using a six-speed manual transmission. With dimensions of 325/30 ZR 19, the sports tires specially developed for the 911 GT2 RS translate the propulsive power into breathtaking acceleration: zero to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 3.5 seconds, 0 to 200 (0-124 mph) km/h in only 9.8 seconds and 0 to 300 km/h (0-186 mph) in 28.9 seconds. The top speed is 330 km/h (205 mph).