When you have a brand-new model in your showrooms, it doesn’t really make sense to have participants run your own one-make series with an older generation car. Even more so if you are Porsche and the car in question is the 911 that takes part in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.
Well, that’s stretching the truth a bit: the racers aren’t based on the base 911 Carrera or Carrera S but the hardcore GT3 – hence the GT3 Cup moniker for the model that the company claims is the most successful racing car ever, having sold 2,385 units since 1998.
With the seventh generation 911, code-named 991, been on the roads for more than a year now, it was about time the Stuttgart automaker rolled out its successor. That happened yesterday during the “Night of Champions” event at the brand's R&D center in Weissach.
The all-new 911 GT3 Cup is powered by a 3.8-liter flat-six with 453HP (460PS), 10HP more than the 997 GT3 RS-based model it replaces, delivered 1,000 rpm lower, at 7,500. Power is directed to the rear wheels via a six-speed dog-type gearbox developed by Porsche Motorsport that, for the first time in a Porsche Cup car, is operated by paddle shifters.
Camouflaged prototypes of the road-going GT3 have already been spotted with a PDK dual-clutch semi-auto so, pending further information from Porsche, it’s possible that the dog-clutch transmission has been exclusively developed for the Cup version.
The racer’s single-piece race wheels have a center mount and they are wrapped in Michelin slicks that measure 27 cm at the front and 31 cm at the rear, making them 20 and 10 mm wider respectively than the 997-based GT3.
The new GT3 Cup also features a new race braking system, with 380 mm slotted and inner-vented steel front rotors and six- and four-piston calipers front and rear respectively.
“The new 911 GT3 Cup is much easier to drive at the limit”, said works driver Timo Bernhard, who was significantly involved in the car’s development. “It is excellently balanced. The new axle geometry is enormously positive for the handling. Apart from that the new Cup 911 is great fun to drive.”
Safety is crucial in any racing series, so the 991 GT3 Cup is fitted with a new safety cage that offers better protection in the event of a collision, a new racing seat that wraps around the driver’s head and shoulders and can be adjusted with the help of padding. Last but not least, there's a rescue hatch in the roof to provide easy access to medical staff and make extracting the driver easier after an accident.
Like its predecessor, the GT3 Cup is assembled at Porsche’s Zuffenhausen plant in Stuttgart alongside the road-going models. It then gets its set-up for the circuit and a test drive by a professional race driver at the Motorsport Center in Weissach before being delivered to customers.
The latter will have to shell out €181,200 (US$234,250) excluding country-specific taxes and they can have it in any color they like, as long as it’s white.
You can watch a video of the new 911 GT3 Cup right after the jump.
By Andrew Tsaousis