Last week, The Grand Tour’s Richard Hammond had his dream of driving a Porsche 911 GT3 R racer snatched away while on assignment in Portugal. This week, the TV presenter and journalist was finally able to jump behind the wheel of a 911 race car for the very first time.
Hammond was invited to the Portimao Circuit in Portugal by Falken Tyres to help the company with the development of its new tires for this year’s 911 GT3 R. Falken was testing the all-new GT3 R during the outing but also brought along the car it competed with through the 2018 season. That is the vehicle which Hammond had the exclusive opportunity to drive.
The 911 GT3 R in question is immediately identifiable due to its blue and light green livery and Falken branding. The car is loosely based on the road-going Porsche 911 GT3 but features a multitude of modifications that make it far better suited to a perfectly-smooth race track than any public roads.
Powering the GT3 R is a naturally-aspirated 4.0-liter six-cylinder engine like the road car but that engine is mated to a race-spec sequential transmission. The racer also features bespoke suspension and brake components and is much, much more hardcore than even the stripped-back 911 GT3 RS.
Hammond took to the circuit relatively gently and was told that he should try and get the tires up to around 90 degrees Celsius to experience most of what the car has to offer. However, when he returned to the pits, he was told that he only got the front tires up to 25 degrees Celsius and almost ended up spinning out of control in the car. Better luck next time Hamster.