Porsche GT3 Driving Experience Review
The Porsche 911 has been a standout performance car for decades. Although it originally started as a super light tossable sports car, it quickly evolved into a powerful street car with track worthy manners. Turning up the track focus, the GT3 version offers more speed, more precision, and more lightness. Zeroto60times recently drove the current 911 GT3 on track with Xtreme Xperience, and had a blast with one of Stuttgart’s best.
The current 991 generation platform is an excellent sports car, comfortable as a daily driver, but with the performance to be a fun weekend track warrior. The 911 GT3 kicks the settings over to the performance/track range. The name comes from the FIA GT3 sports car racing class. This version of the 911 was designed to compete in this class with similar production sports cars. While the GT3 is still definitely a street car, the race car emphasis is obvious.
The GT3 is relatively flyweight for a modern sports car with big power, weighing just 3,150 lbs. Comparatively, the Ford Mustang hasn’t been that light in 30 years.. Chassis and body are a combination of steel, aluminum, and composites. That doesn’t come cheap, as the GT3 starts at just over $130,000. However, that does buy some pretty impressive stats.
The horizontally opposed engine out back makes 475 horsepower, and 325 lb/ft of torque. Those are decent V8 numbers, but this engine is missing two cylinders and displaces only 3.8 liters. Impressive. The compression ratio is reminiscent of 1969, running a crazy high 12.9:1. High octane only please. A lightning quick PDK handles shifting duties, allowing the GT3 to achieve 0 to 60 in supercar appropriate 3.3 seconds. Top speed is higher than your risk tolerance, at 195 mph.
The suspension is every bit as capable, with Porsche Active Suspension Management and Torque Vectoring Plus. Using multiple sensors and computers, the suspension can adjust as needed to keep the grippy side down, allowing you to feel like a track hero. There’s even dynamic engine mounts, which adjust to absorb vibration, or go hard for handling finesse. Also interesting is the rear-axle steering, allowing the rear wheels to turn with, or against, the front wheels as needed. Crazy, but it works.
Bodywork is upgraded, with improved aero bits over the base model. Twenty inch wheels are standard, with Michelin 245/35ZR20 tires up front and 305/30ZR20 out back. The Porsche 911 shape is familiar, but much evolved, making the classic heritage obvious, but also stating the modernity and capability.
Inside, the cabin is all business. Don’t get me wrong; there is an element of luxury, but it is hidden in the excellent design. A six-figure car should have some luxury, and the GT3 expresses that in superior look and feel or materials, ergonomics, and fit and finish. The adaptive sport seats offer eighteen-way adjustability, and are incredibly comfortable. They could easily see duty in a daily driver, but offer a lot of support for high speed corners. The steering wheel is exactly the right size and thickness, and frames the huge tachometer. A speedo sits to the left, and on the right is a 4.6 inch multi-function color display. It can provide anything as mundane as tire pressure or radio settings, to lap times and maps. Overall, the interior feels worthy of the price tag; quiet and calm at low speed, with excellent materials and comfort.
Give it a little bit of gas, and the 3.8L revs freely. It’s a loud, wonderful sound from right behind you. The power and torque are well up the rpm band, making the engine rev for any kind of movement, even if just leaving a parking lot. The downside to this is a maximum mpg of just 20, but with an engine noise like that, you won’t care. In fact, I had serious doubt the stereo in a GT3 ever sees much duty. Just roll down the window and rev it.
Acceleration is quick. Not hypercar quick, but you’ll definitely leave your neighbor’s crossover in the dust, even if they have a Cayenne Turbo. Throttle response is instant. This is a “drive by wire” electronically controlled throttle, and it fully understands its one job. You think you want to go faster, and it’s already doing it. The whole car is about instant interpretation of the driver’s input.
The steering is incredible, and you are basically looking out the driver’s side window at the apex before beginning a left hand turn. It feels way too late, but the GT3 eats up corners like Homer Simpson going for a box of donuts.
Cornering at speed feels something like this:
My brain: This is too fast for a corner!
Instructor: Keep on the gas! Keep on the gas! Okay…. Lift! And turn.
Brain: Okay, but this is never going to work!
GT3: *shrug* Okay, easy enough. (takes corner, no body roll) Anything else?
Brain: What just happened…?
This is due to the incredible suspension, low center of gravity, multiple driving aides, and weight distribution. Rather than the “perfect” 50:50 weight balance, the GT3 is heavily biased to the rear, with almost ¾ of the weight back there. This might initially seem like a bad thing for cornering, but look at it from a braking and tires perspective. With much less weight up front, slamming on the impressive 6-piston calipers crush down onto the huge 16” ceramic rotors, leaving the braking system easily capable of hauling you down from insane speeds. Then, again with less weight up front, the front suspension and tires are free to focus on steering and grip, rather than adding more weight to an already heavily worked system. That’s probably a terrible explanation, but just know that it feels extremely confident in hard and fast corners, with acceleration easily piled on well before leaving the corner.
I used to think the $100k+ 911s were low on value, as you could buy a Z06 for half the price, or save many thousands and get a GT-R, and lay the smack down on the Germans at the drag strip. Now I get it. This is far from a one-trick pony, and really it’s not even just a track focused 911. It’s a great daily driver, and quick through the quarter mile. It’s at home with the GT cars on the Autobahn, and can tackle a twisty road course. The GT3 is the car that does everything well. The proverbial “Jack of all trades” may also be the “master of none,” but when the performance capabilities are this high, this is close enough to perfection to please nearly anyone.