Porsche says the new car, derived from the street-legal 911, is up to one percent faster per lap than the old 991.2-based GT3 Cup; around which track isn’t clear, so we think the automaker is referring to a general projected average here. “So what?” you might be thinking. While just one solitary percent of one solitary lap doesn’t sound that incredible, when added up over the course of dozens (if not hundreds) of laps, it makes a huge difference.
Part of that seemingly small lap-time shave comes from a little extra power. The new GT3 Cup’s 4.0-liter flat-six now makes 510 hp, 25 more than its predecessor. It’ll rev to 8,400 rpm (up from 7,400) and can also, for the first time, be run on synthetic fuels. Porsche has been looking heavily into alternatives to gasoline, and while the automaker doesn’t say whether or not the engine makes less power when run on e-fuels, it does note a significant drop in carbon emissions. That’s no bad thing.
The racer’s engine is connected to a racing-spec sequential six-speed gearbox that weighs just 159 pounds (Porsche’s production PDK dual-clutch automatic weighs closer to 260 pounds). Porsche says the gearbox is even quicker-shifting than before, with gearchanges actuated via the carbon-fiber shift paddles behind the steering wheel. For the first time in a 911 GT3 Cup, the steering is an electrical power assist system, doing away with the need for the old model’s hydraulic pump and fluid lines.
The new GT3 Cup also features a wider, 911 Turbo-spec body; the resultant increase in track width helps to increase grip relative to the previous GT3 Cup car, which was based on the narrow-bodied 911. The GT3 Cup is now 1.1-inches wider than the old car and can accommodate 12-inch-wide wheels up front and 13-inch-wide wheels at the rear. The front end of the new GT3 Cup adopts a double A-arm front suspension setup like the top-spec 911 RSR (and the new road-going GT3) but maintains a multi-link setup at the rear. Brakes are race-spec steelies by Brembo.
The car’s fresh new bod is now 70 percent aluminum and 30 percent steel. The previous GT3 Cup was mostly steel, but since aluminum is much lighter than steel, the new car weighs exactly the same as the old car (2,778 pounds dry) in spite of its wider body. To help reach that low weight, the interior is awash with carbon fiber. The steering wheel and dashboard are both made of the stuff and the 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster has been revamped for the new year.
Widening a car impacts the oh-so-delicate aerodynamic balance engineers have to strike between downforce and drag. Luckily, the 992-based GT3 Cup has a totally new aero package to nip that tricky problem in the bud. The rear wing is all-new and adopts an adjustable, swan-neck design for both greater downforce and reduced drag. There’s also a brand new front end with NACA-style air ducts to both guide airflow around the car and aid in cooling. On a more mundane level, Porsche also went to great lengths to make repair diagnostics easier, maintain the old car’s reliability, and make the driver as comfortable as possible.
All that to say the new 911 GT3 Cup should be one wild (and improved) ride, and it will make its debut at the inaugural Porsche Carrera Cup North America race in March of next year.