Every Porsche on and off the road has its roots—both spiritual and mechanical—in motorsports. The marque's hallmark of extraordinary performance on the world’s finest roads, in the hands of the most skilled and talented enthusiast drivers, has its basis on the race track. It is not surprising, therefore, that many Porsche owners enjoy testing their own as well their car’s limits at the track. For these most demanding drivers, Porsche offers the 911 GT3.
The Porsche 911 GT3 is as close to a road-ready, street-legal racer as a car can be. No other production car built in the same volume as the GT3 has as close a link between motorsports and road-going high-performance. For 2010, Porsche’s motorsports engineers have further upped the car’s dynamics ante, giving the newest GT3 more power and even greater levels of agility and confidence-building roadholding than its predecessor.
Environmentally friendly higher performance
For 2010, Porsche’s engineers fit the 911 GT3 with a highly refined version of the 3.8- liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine found in other members of the current 911 family.
The engine, based on the famous GT1, is unique with its application of Porsche’s VarioCam Plus variable valve-lift and timing technology operating on both intake and exhaust camshafts, rather than solely the intake. The GT3 boasts a variable intake manifold and a special, low-restriction, large-capacity exhaust system that ensures free engine breathing, yet still keeps sound levels within public-road legal limits. The exhaust system’s unique, dual centrally mounted outlets beneath the rear bumper are an instant giveaway to the GT3’s identity.
The result of these refinements is a powerplant that produces 430 horsepower at 7600 rpm and 317 lb.-ft. of torque at 6250 rpm. The high-revving engine has a redline of 8500 rpm. This is the most potent naturally aspirated engine in any street-legal Porsche 911.
As befits its ultra high-performance capabilities and persona, the GT3 comes only with a special six-speed manual gearbox with ratios designed to optimize the engine's extended rev range.
A mechanical limited-slip differential completes the drivetrain. Employing components developed for the awesome Carrera GT, the differential provides asymmetric limited-slip functions of 28 percent under load and 40 percent in overrun.
The astounding results are the GT3's ability to run from zero-to-60 mph (0-96 kph) in just 4.0 seconds, vs. last year’s 4.2 seconds. The car continues to 100 mph (160 kph) in only 8.2 seconds, or a full 0.5 second quicker than its predecessor. The 2010 GT3 attains a track-tested top speed of 194 mph (312 kph), one mile per hour better than the previous model.
Such blistering acceleration is expected of a Porsche 911 meant for the race track. Ecological responsibility in the form of fuel efficiency and reduced exhaust emissions may not be. Porsche engineers ensured that the 2010 GT3 carries no gas-guzzler penalty, like all other Porsche models. Equally astounding is the fact that the 911 GT3, like other current 911 models, is certified as a Low Emissions Vehicle, category two (LEV-II) by the EPA. In fact, the new GT3 leaves less CO2 in its wake than its predecessor and meets the most-stringent EU5 standards, as opposed to the EU4 of last year’s version.
Confidence-building agility and stability
In addition to its new, more potent engine, the 2010 Porsche 911 GT3 now comes standard with Porsche Stability Management (PSM).
As installed on the GT3, PSM has been tuned for both optimum active safety and maximum high-speed handling on the track. And since Porsche firmly believes that the driver should always be in command of his vehicle’s dynamics, the PSM can be deactivated in two stages, each programmed for extremely sporty driving on the track or open road as conditions permit. The first level of deactivation switches off the stability control function, allowing the skilled driver to corner more aggressively. The second level of deactivation also switches off the car’s traction control function, permitting even more spirited driving.
As before, the GT3 also comes equipped with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) adjustable suspension. Each damper is individually adjusted by the system's electronic control module.
As configured for the GT3, the mapping software delivers a base-setting ride comparable to the “Sport” setting of the 911 Carrera models. This setting is designed to offer optimum ride control on partially uneven surfaces. The “Sport” mode for the GT3’s PASM has been designed for extremely spirited driving on smooth race tracks.
For competition purposes, front and rear antiroll bars as well as the damper settings of each wheel can be mechanically tuned for specific race tracks.
A new option for the GT3 is a front-end lifting feature. By using a console-mounted switch, the driver can have the PASM’s front dampers raise the car’s nose 1.18 inches (30 mm) at speeds up to 30 mph (50 kph). This can help avoid possible damage from steep driveways, parking lot barriers and other potential hazards.
Traction, critical traction
Porsche engineers specified huge sport tires for the 2010 GT3 to maximize the car’s dynamics. As before, the 911 GT3 is equipped with 235/35ZR19 front and 305/30ZR19 rear tires mounted on special light-alloy wheels. For the newest GT3, however, those wheels have been revised.
Most critically, the new alloy wheels feature a large, single, central locking bolt, as opposed to the traditional five, circularly arranged bolts of the other models in the 911 range. This RS Spyder race-inspired wheel mounting allows for faster wheel and tire changes during races, important for those drivers who race their GT3s. More critically, however, the single, central locking bolt eliminates unequal stress points on the wheels and the mounting hubs by uneven tightening of the five individual lugs.
Aesthetically, the newest alloy wheels differ from the predecessor model’s as well. The wheels V-shaped spokes are now more pronounced and extend all the way to the rim’s bead, making the titanium-painted wheels look even larger than they are.
As before, and as with other 911 Coupes, the GT3 carries no spare tire to help save weight. Instead, the cars have a small electric air compressor and emergency tire sealant to allow the driver to safely make it to a service station to have the tire replaced.
To keep the driver apprised of tire conditions, the GT3 is equipped with Porsche's Tire Pressure Monitor system which constantly monitors the inflation pressures of all four tires and alerts the driver to any changes.
Commensurate with Porsche’s fervent belief that a car’s braking ability must always be greater than its high-speed capabilities, the new 911 GT3 has revised four-wheel disc antilock brakes along with its more powerful drivetrain.
All four of the 2010 GT3’s brake rotors are composite. While the brake discs themselves remain grey cast iron, as before, they now carry aluminum brake chambers. The use of the composite rotors reduces unsprung weight by 4.8 pounds (2.2 kg) per vehicle.
In addition to being lighter than before, the front rotors of the 2010 GT3 are larger as well. The diameter of car’s front rotors has been increased from 13.78 inches (350 mm) to 14.96 inches (380 mm). Though the size of the rear brake rotors remains unchanged, the rear brakes now receive additional cooling via refined underbody air ducts.
As before, all four rotors are cross drilled and internally vented. The front brakes are clamped by six-piston aluminum monobloc calipers. Those in the rear are gripped by four-piston aluminum monobloc calipers. The standard calipers are painted red.
Drivers demanding even greater braking power can opt to equip their GT3 with Porsche's Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB). As fit on the new GT3, the PCCB features 380-mm front rotors and 350-mm rear rotors now also equipped with aluminum brake chambers. Compared with a conventional brake system, this PCCB configuration saves 10.6 pounds (4.8 kg) of unsprung weight. Calipers used with PCCB are painted yellow.
Refined look and aerodynamics
Porsche designers based the new GT3 on both the box-shaped, body-in-white shell of the current 911 Carrera 4 and the narrower exterior body of the 911 Carrera. This combination results in a car with low weight and a Coefficient of drag of only 0.32.
Like the previous model, the new GT3 has aluminum door skins and front deck lid as well as a rear engine cover made of a plastic composite. In all, the 2010 GT3 tips the scales at the same 3076 pounds (1395 kg) as its predecessor.
Also like its predecessor, the newest GT3 sits 1.18 inches (30 mm) closer to the road than its 911 Carrera stable mates. The lower stance, unique 19-inch wheels, center mounted dual exhausts and fixed rear spoiler help distinguish the GT3 instantly from other current generation 911 models.
Through careful refinement of the GT3’s airflow elements, Porsche's aerodynamicists were able to increase the car’s front and rear downforce by more than 100 percent compared to last year’s model.
Among the detail changes are slight reconfigurations to the sizes and shapes of the cooling air ducts and increasing the size of the spoiler lip on the center front intake. As before, ducts atop the front decklid allow airflow from the central radiator to escape over the car’s nose rather than create lift at the front axle.
In the rear, the twin-wing fixed spoiler has been revised. It is larger than before and extends beyond the wing’s supports. Ram air boxes on the lower part of the spoiler improve engine breathing, and a small, black Gurney lip on the spoiler further improves rear downforce. The back end of the 2010 GT3 also shows an air outlet beneath the rear decklid, which improves engine compartment ventilation.
Other notable touches include dual-mount side view mirrors for improved airflow and better water dispersion. All the air intakes on the 2010 GT3 feature a new lattice grille work which visually emphasizes their size while keeping out debris without diminishing airflow.
Finally, there are new front and rear lighting units. At the front, BI-XENON® headlights are standard, with optional cornering lights. New lighting modules with reconfigured directional signals and LED daytime running lights are mounted above the air intakes at the corners. In the rear, freshly designed taillights taper to points at the outer corners and emphasize the GT3’s width. The LED brake lights improve safety thanks to their quicker response time.
Safe occupant comfort
As a true racetrack contender, the GT3’s cockpit differs from its 911 siblings. Most critically, the GT3 has no rear seats. The front seats are deeply bolstered and feature grippy Alcantara inserts in the leather upholstery. Likewise, the rim of the new, three spoke steering wheel as well as the shift lever knob and handbrake lever handle are trimmed with Alcantara.
Despite the differences, the new 911 GT3 shares critically important occupant protection features with the rest of the current 911 model range. Like all 911 models, the GT3 is equipped with six airbags. There are two front-impact airbags, two seat-mounted thorax-protecting side-impact airbags and the two curtain-style door-mounted side impact airbags that are part of the Porsche Side Impact Protection (POSIP) system. The frontal airbags are full-size, two-stage units and use an organic-based propellant. The front passenger seat features sensors that allow the safe use of a child safety seat. Should the sensors detect a child sitting in that seat, the airbag is defeated.
Better commuting through better audio
The cockpit of the 2010 GT3 also features a revamped audio system compared to the previous model. The car comes standard with an AM/FM radio and MP3 capable CD player. The audio system features a 5-inch monochrome display. Options now include a six-CD or CD/DVD changer and the latest version of Porsche Communication Management (PCM) 3.0 which includes a 6.5” color touchscreen display, a hard-drive based navigation, Bluetooth handsfree telephone capability and the latest in iPod® integration.