2023 Porsche 911 GT3 RS revealed
More downforce than a McLaren Senna, a roll-cage made of plastic and super complex suspension. Porsche’s new race car for the road is bonkers. This car leaked online a few days ago, but while that allowed us to drink in the aggressive exterior it didn’t provide any details about downforce levels, engine performance or chassis tech.
Let’s start with the downforce. Thanks to that huge rear wing, vented wheel arches and fresh active aero elements at both ends of the car, this new GT3 RS produces 860 kilograms of downforce at 280km/h.
Need some context? A Lamborghini Huracan STO, which is the most track-focused Huracan you can buy, makes 420kg of downforce at the same speed. A Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series makes 400kg at 250km/h and even a McLaren Senna produces less than the new GT3 RS. At 325km/h, so a higher speed than the Porsche (downforce builds as speeds grow), the bewigged McLaren makes 800kg.
The trade-off to all this is increased drag and the new GT3 RS’s top speed has dropped from 312km/h to 296km/h.
Big numbers are one thing, but how the GT3 RS actually generates its downforce is interesting. The huge rear wing includes a DRS system which, at the press of a button on the steering wheel, opens the hydraulically controlled upper element to boost your straight line speed. The wing slams shut when you press the brake pedal, which is exactly how it works on Daniel Ricciardo’s Formula 1 car. Nice.
Need some reference to appreciate just how huge the rear wing is? Porsche says this is the first time it’s ever made a car where the wing is actually taller than the car’s roof.
Other continuously variable active aero elements are placed near the front wheel arches and even the suspension itself has been optimised to create downforce. The front wishbones have been made into a teardrop shape and as air rushes over them they generate 40kg of additional downforce.
Now, the engine. There was speculation the new GT3 RS could gain the larger 4.2-litre flat-six fitted to Porsche’s GT3 R racing car, but that hasn’t happened. Instead it uses a tweaked version of the same 4.0-litre flat-six in the ‘regular’ GT3 paired with a seven-speed PDK. No manual here, sadly. Engine modifications include a new camshaft and revised valve timing, which has helped liberate an additional 11kW over the GT3 for a total output of 386kW.
The engine is now cooled by a huge central radiator taken straight from the GT3 R racer that’s positioned in the nose of the car. So you can forget about storing your helmet and race boots in the frunk. Those engorged bonnet nostrils draw hot air out of the radiator and it’s then further dispersed by new strakes on the roof to ensure hot air isn’t drawn into the intakes at the rear.
As for the 0-100km/h sprint? That’s dispatched in 3.2 seconds, which is the same as the old 911 GT3 RS. Straight line performance isn’t really the GT3 RS’s focus, though. It’s lap time. The front track is 29 millimetres wider than a GT3 and kerb weight has been trimmed to 1450kg through the extensive use of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP).
The doors, front quarter panels, roof and bonnet are all made of CFRP, as are the standard bucket seats. And if you tick the optional Weissach pack, even the roll cage is made of CFRP – which is something we’ve not seen before. Wonder if it’s FIA approved?
The level of chassis adjustability is also vaguely intimidating. And very motorsport. Four ‘manetinno’ dials hang from the steering wheel spokes and they control the drive modes (there are three: normal, sport and track) and the stability and traction control systems.
Another dial also allows you to alter the behaviour of the locking rear-differential, while the fourth manetinno (labelled PASM) lets drivers adjust the suspension, on the fly, for both rebound and compression.
This system is activated in track mode and it doesn’t only allow you to tune rebound and compression individually through multiple stages, but it can be further divided between the front and rear axle.
It’s a layer of chassis adjustability not found on any of the GT3 RS’s rivals, and is even a step beyond what many aftermarket suppliers offer. Most of those systems require you to do a sighting lap then return to the pits to tweak your chassis set-up. In the GT3 RS you can alter the compression and rebound on both axles corner by corner if you wish.
Steel brakes are standard and offer 408mm discs with six pistons up front, although carbon ceramics are also available. Buyers also have the option of a Clubsport pack for no additional cost, which adds a half cage (made of steel), a racing harness and fire extinguisher.
If you want the full racecar experience, though, you’ll need to go for the before mentioned Weissach pack. It adds a carbon-weave finish for the bonnet, roof and rear wing, forged magnesium wheels that save 8kg and an increased use of CFRP. With the Weissach pack, CFRP is used for the front and rear anti-roll bars, other rear suspension elements and the roll cage, the latter being a first for Porsche.
Aussie cars will also gain some useful equipment additions as standard, including a nose-lift kit, tinted LED headlights, digital radio and a reversing camera.
We’ll have to wait for the inevitable Nürburgring lap time to see exactly how fast the new GT3 RS is (anyone else’s mouth watering at the prospect of Kevin Estre hustling this thing around the Green Hell?), but it’s a fair bet this is the fastest road car Porsche has ever made.
Naturally you want one. Aussie deliveries start in the second quarter of 2023 and prices kick off at $500,200. That’s a lot of cash, but less than a third of what you’d pay for a McLaren Senna – which was once the downforce king. The rate of progress, huh?