Porsche 911 GT Story

Since 1964, Porsche has perfectly mastered the art of serving a broad range of customers ranging from those who simply love driving to ambitious sports pilots with the 911 model series. Technology transfer from motor racing to series production (and vice-versa) forms a firm part of the Porsche philosophy which is held in high regard by sports car drivers around the globe. No wonder, because the 911 is not only the world’s most frequently built racing car but also currently the most successful GT racing car ever.


The Italian term “Gran Turismo” – shortened to GT – denotes a traditional motor sport category. GT translates as “grand touring”, because relatively comfortable, enclosed two-seater sports cars built for endurance races were originally registered according to the GT regulations. Due to the technical proximity to series production, Porsche exploited GT motor racing as a proving ground for production development at a relatively early stage. The type 356 A 1500 GS Carrera GT from 1957 was the first Porsche sports car to bear the characteristic letters that were soon destined to become a huge sensation on race tracks worldwide. Other outstanding Porsche GT vehicles included the Porsche 356 B 1600 GS Carrera GTL Abarth and the 904 Carrera GTS, for instance.


In the mid-90s, the supreme motor racing body (FIA) once again reshuffled the various racing categories. Besides the top-performance GT1 class, GT2 and GT3 classes have also been in existence since then. For Porsche, the GT2 class increasingly became the Zuffenhausen racing cars’ main area of commitment thanks to its near-production regulations. By building GT racing cars such as the GT3 RSR, GT3 R, GT3 R Hybrid and the GT 3 Cup, Porsche has to this day continued the tradition of offering its customers vehicles with which they can successfully compete in motor racing around the world. In addition to numerous races under the FIA umbrella, Porsche customers from all corners of the globe also use their near-production racing cars in the Porsche brand trophies.


At Porsche, the close relationship between motor sport and series production has resulted time and again in the construction of road-legal homologation models which thrill with their uncompromising sportiness. Latter-day 911 models containing the letters “GT” in their name, the 911 GT3, 911 GT3 RS or GT2 RS, are uncompromisingly sporty production vehicles oriented closely to motor racing thanks to their outstanding power-to-weight ratio, high agility and extraordinary efficiency.


Completely in keeping with Porsche Intelligent Performance, they are continuing a success story which began with the legendary 911 Carrera RS back in the early 70s.


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1995 Porsche 911 GT2 (Type 993)

In 1995, Porsche’s traditionally close relationship between motor racing and series production was once again reaffirmed by an extraordinary road-legal sports car: the 911 GT2’s type 993. Thanks to extensive lightweight design measures, this GT2 weighed in at 200 kg less than the normal 911 Turbo, whilst its engine output was increased by 22 hp (16 kW) to 430 hp (316 kW). The GT2’s suspension was also modified, being given a tauter set-up and lowered by 22 millimetres. Besides its bolted-on, plastic wheel arch flares, the 911 GT2 was primarily recognisable by its dominant rear wing with lateral air intakes. Its performance made the 911 GT2 the fastest of all series production Porsche vehicles thus far: with acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in only 4.4 seconds, it was capable of a top speed of 295 km/h (183 mph). However, the likelihood of ever seeing a 911 GT2 on the road has always been slight. From 1995 to 1997, just 172 of these high-performance sports cars were built with a price tag of at least DM 268,000. 1998 saw the introduction of a further 21 units of the air-cooled GT2, whose re-engineered bi-turbo flat engine now offered an output of 450 hp (331 kW).

1997 Porsche 911 GT1 (Road Version)

In August 1997, Porsche introduced a new high-performance sports car as the legitimate successor to the legendary 959, creating a stir amongst automobile enthusiasts around the world: the 911 GT1. A road version of the 911 GT1 used in Le Mans in 1997, whose performance overshadowed everything which had come before it, was created as a limited homologation series comprising just 21 vehicles. With a power-to-weight ratio of only 2.05 kg per hp, this super sports car accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in just 3.7 seconds, reaching a speed of 200 km/h (124 mph) in a mere 10.5 seconds. The 911 GT1’s technical ingredients came straight from the race track. The mid-engine chassis was manufactured in the Weissach motor racing department in a composite design consisting of sheet steel and carbon fibre-reinforced plastic. Racing technology was also employed in the suspension. Both axles were fitted with double wishbone suspension with push rods; 8-piston and 4-piston monobloc brake callipers fitted on the 380 mm brake discs at the front and rear respectively served to decelerate the vehicle. In principle, the GT1 road version’s engine corresponded to that fitted in the GT race cars. From a displacement of 3,163 cm3, the water-cooled six-cylinder bi-turbo engine developed 544 hp (400 kW) at 7,200 rpm, offering an impressive 600 Nm of torque. The exclusiveness of this extraordinary limited series was also reflected in its selling price. In 1997, the road version went on sale at a price of DM 1,550,000. Encountering a 911 GT1 outside of the Porsche Museum is likely to be a very rare occurrence. Today, these scarce vehicles are sought-after collectors’ items and are watched over very closely by their owners.

1999 Porsche 911 GT3 (Type 996)

Traditionally, Porsche is engaged in motor racing not only to win but also to obtain development know-how which is integrated into series production. With the launch of the Porsche Carrera Cup in Germany in 1990, Porsche implemented the idea of its own racing series surrounding the legendary 911 sports car and simultaneously boosted private owner sport. This was also the tradition behind the 911 GT3 Cup for the type 996 series, offering brand trophy races for the Super Cup from 1998 and the Carrera Cup as of 1999. Porsche first introduced the 911 GT3 in May 1999 as an on-road homologation model. With its uprated naturally aspirated engine, a particularly taut suspension set-up and its lighter body, it was aimed at especially sporty purchasers. The GT3’s technical ingredients originated from the Weissach motor racing department: separate oil tank for the dry sump lubrication system, GT1 crankcase, dual-mass flywheel, differential lock, titanium connecting rods plus modified engine and transmission mounts and an 89-litre fuel tank. The result was an output of 360 hp (265 kW) from a displacement of 3.6 litres, accelerating the 1,350 kg sports car to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.8 seconds. With a top speed of 302 km/h (188 mph), the 911 GT3 was also optionally available with a Clubsport package for use in motor racing. Model year 2003 saw the development of an extensively re-engineered version of the 911 GT3, which now offered an output of 381 hp (280 kW) and further improvements in a number of details.

2000 Porsche 911 GT2 (Type 996)

As a special kind of extreme sports vehicle, Porsche launched the 911 GT2 of the type 996 series in the autumn of 2000. Based on the 911 Turbo, this road-legal super sports car impressed with performance previously exhibited only by thoroughbred race cars. After a mere 12.9 seconds, the GT2 reached the 200 km/h (124 mph) mark, immediately setting a lap record for series production vehicles at the Nürburgring. Optically, the 911 GT2 made it clear at first glance that it embodied a puristic approach to the principle of power: recognisable from the front due to a modified front section with three large air intakes plus additional ventilation slots, a fixed spoiler with adjustable wing profile ensured ample contact pressure at the rear. True to Ferry Porsche’s maxim that “driving fun isn’t created by comfort”, the 911 GT2 was available exclusively with a 6-speed manual transmission. The suspension design was no less sporty: height, track, camber and anti-roll bars were adjustable for motor sports. In addition, the brake system was a genuine innovation, because the 911 GT2 was the first production model to be fitted with the Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB).

2003 Porsche 911 GT3 RS (Type 996.2)

In 2003 Porsche once again introduced a motor racing homologation model with the 911 GT3 RS which was to thrill sports car drivers around the world. The 911 GT3 RS of the type 996 series was designed as a road-legal version of a thoroughbred race car according to the FIA-N/GT and ACO regulations. Yet again, development was focussed on an optimal power-to-weight ratio. This was 4.86 kg/kW. Upholding the tradition of its famous predecessors, the basic colour used for all of the vehicles was white, with optional blue or red lettering. The road version of this top sports car was equipped with technical features which were also subsequently fitted in the RSR racing version: the wheel carriers, split wishbones on the front and rear axles, the optimised chassis geometry and a particularly light polycarbonate rear window or carbon bonnet and rear wing are just a few examples. The high-revving engine’s displacement of 3.6 litres offered an output of 381 hp (280 kW) at 7,300 rpm. The maximum engine speed was 8,200 rpm. A so-called ram-air collector beneath the rear wing was used to supply additional air to the engine at high speeds. The vehicle’s performance was accordingly impressive: the GT3 RS accelerated from zero to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 4.4 seconds and reached 200 km/h (124 mph) from a standstill in precisely 14 seconds. Its top speed was 306 km/h (190 mph).

2006 Porsche 911 GT3 (Type 997.1)

In the spring of 2006, Porsche dealers took delivery of a new generation of the 911 GT3 (type 997), taking the topic of vehicle dynamics to a new level as the link between road and race track. Its 3.6-litre naturally aspirated engine developed 415 hp (305 kW), equivalent to a specific output of 115.3 hp/litre. The GT3 therefore established a new top value for road-legal, naturally aspirated production sports cars in this displacement class. The flat-six engine achieved its rated output at 7,600 rpm, with a maximum engine speed of 8,400 rpm. The naturally aspirated engine also achieved top values amongst series production sports cars with these figures. In addition to this high-speed concept, which was only achievable by consistently reducing moving masses, the further optimised air throughput made a crucial contribution towards the increase in output. The six-speed manual transmission was also adapted to the new GT3 engine’s extended speed range by reducing the gear ratios. This resulted in acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in a mere 4.3 seconds, with the GT3 reaching a speed of 160 km/h (99 mph) from a standing start in 8.7 seconds. The speedometer pointer indicated a top speed of 310 km/h (193 mph).


2006 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 3.6 (Type 997.1)

As of the autumn of 2006, a particularly puristic variant of the GT3 was available in the form of the 911 GT3 RS of the type 997 series. This was particularly suitable for use on racing circuits. The GT3 RS was characterised by the performance and unadulterated experience of driving a racing car, but simultaneously met all of the requirements for road-legal sports cars. The extraordinarily agile engine’s displacement of 3.6 litres offered an output of 415 hp (305 kW) at 7,600 rpm. These values corresponded to those of the 911 GT3, but the “RS” enabled the achievement of even better performance. Thanks to a six-speed transmission with tightly-spaced gear ratios and a single-mass flywheel plus the vehicle’s 20 kilogram lower weight, the engine was even more spontaneous, enabling the 911 GT3 RS to reach 100 km/h (62 mph) from a standing start in 4.2 seconds. The 200 km/h (124 mph) mark was reached after 13.3 seconds. The vehicle’s top speed was 310 km/h (193 mph). One of the features of the new “RS” was its body, which was 44 mm wider at the rear than the 911 GT3, a characteristic taken over from the Carrera 4 models. The muscular rear end concealed an increased track width, which not only improved stability but also increased the two-seater coupé’s lateral acceleration potential.


Despite its individual body, the “RS” was 20 kilograms lighter than the GT3, tipping the scales at 1,375 kilograms. Amongst other aspects, this weight reduction was achieved by using an adjustable carbon rear wing, a plastic rear lid and a light plastic rear window. Accordingly, its power-to-weight ratio was 4.5 kg/kW.


2007 Porsche 911 GT2 (Type 997.1)

With the 911 GT2 of the type 997 series, Porsche presented what was thus far the fastest and most powerful Porsche 911 of all time at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2007. Its 3.6-litre flat bi-turbo engine offered an output of 530 hp (390 kW) at 6,500 rpm. The 911 GT2 raced to a speed of 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 3.7 seconds. The top model within the 911 series only ended its tempestuous acceleration on reaching a speed of 329 kilometres per hour (204 mph). Its low weight of 1,440 kilograms, its rear-wheel drive and its top aerodynamic value of cd = 0.32 not only ensured extraordinary sportiness but also outstanding performance in terms of efficiency. The 911 GT2 consumed an average of 12.5 litres of Premium Plus fuel in the EU cycle, thus revealing an extraordinarily low value in its vehicle class. In comparison with the 911 Carrera, the new GT2 was lowered by approximately 25 millimetres, with its suspension being tailored specifically to the requirements of the 911 GT2. Deceleration was ensured by the Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB) system as standard, with 380 millimetre brake discs at the front and 350 millimetre discs at the rear. Fitted in a 911 GT2 for the first time, the Porsche Stability Management (PSM) system could be shut-off in two stages, whereby the ABS system remained constantly active. The driver was able to successively deactivate lateral and longitudinal dynamics control and thus “tweak” the vehicle’s handling to his individual requirements. Via the engine management system, a Launch Control function offered the driver optimal acceleration from a standing start. The Traction Control (TC) system was also available for optimal longitudinal dynamics on acceleration. A further technical highlight fitted as standard in the 911 GT2, the first time in a road-legal Porsche, was an exhaust system with a titanium rear silencer and tailpipes.


2009 Porsche 911 GT3 (Type 997.2)

Now with even greater power, speed and precision, the 911 GT3 of the type 997/II series set out its finely honed skills from May 2009. Numerous discoveries from the world of motor racing were traditionally integrated into the further development of the sports car, which is why the GT3 not only performed convincingly on the road but also on the race track. Development focussed on further enhancing performance and vehicle dynamics, a feat which was impressively achieved thanks to a range of improvements. In particular, the 911 GT3 honed its two core skills: performance and handling. With an increased displacement of 3.8 litres, the six-cylinder naturally aspirated engine developed 435 hp (320 kW), a gain of 20 hp (15 kW) on the previous model. The flat-six’s overhaul additionally led to a palpable increase in torque at the mid-range engine speeds that are especially relevant in everyday driving. The new GT3 also delivered improved road performance: it accelerated from zero to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 4.1 seconds and reached 160 km/h (99 mph) from a standstill in 8.2 seconds. Its top speed was 312 km/h (194 mph). At the same time, its fuel consumption and exhaust emissions were reduced. As of the autumn of 2009, an option which further enhanced the new 911 GT3’s race track suitability and therefore its competitiveness was available: the innovative dynamic engine mounting system PADM (Porsche Active Drivetrain Mount). Based on the sensor system already fitted in the 911 GT3, this recognised a racing driving style and modified the normally elastic engine suspension.


2010 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 3.8 (Type 997.2)

Porsche launched a new 911 GT3 RS at the beginning of 2010. With a higher engine output, lower weight, shorter transmission ratios and re-engineered body and suspension elements, the new 911 GT3 RS was developed as the type approval basis for the racing 911 GT3 and ticked all the boxes for further success on the racetrack. It therefore continued the series of uncompromisingly sporty 911 models licensed for road use. The nerve centre of the new 911 GT3 RS, the engine, was based on the engine fitted in the 911 GT3. Exactly like the latter, the RS power unit now had a displacement of 3.8 instead of 3.6 litres. It also offered higher performance and was livelier. At its rear end it had a tuned-up, high-revving, naturally aspirated engine developing 450 hp (331 kw), 15 hp (11 kW) more than the 911 GT3’s engine. The six-cylinder engine therefore achieved a specific output of over 118 hp (87 kW) per litre, an extreme top value for naturally aspirated engines in world-wide comparison. In contrast to numerous high-performance engines, however, the power plant fitted in the new 911 GT3 RS remained unreservedly suitable for daily use. The new 911 GT3 RS was exclusively available with a six-speed manual gearbox optimised to achieve short shift throw, low weight and high efficiency. To increase performance across the entire engine and vehicle speed range, the gear ratios were lower than those in the 911 GT3, consciously foregoing a higher top speed.


2010 Porsche 911 GT2 RS

The time: seven minutes, 18 seconds on the Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit. The output: 620 hp (456 kW). The weight: 1,370 kilograms in road trim with all fluids on board. The car: the Porsche 911 GT2 RS. The GT2 RS celebrated its world premiere at the Moscow Auto Show in August 2010. The current GT, the top model within the 911 series, was the fastest and most high-performance production sports car in the history of Porsche AG. With output increased by 90 hp (66 kW) and weight reduced by 70 kilograms in comparison with the 911 GT2, the new 911 GT2 RS weighed in at just 2.21 kilograms per hp, by far the best power-to-weight ratio in its class. These figures singled it out as an absolutely top-performance sports car that was highly agile and outstanding on the road – in short, a prime example of Porsche Intelligent Performance. Because despite this increased output, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions fell by around 5% in comparison with the 911 GT2 to 11.9 ltr./100 km (23.7 mpg imp.) and 284 g/km respectively. The 3.6-litre flat-six engine with forced aspiration via two turbochargers with variable turbine geometry (VTG) drives the rear wheels using a six-speed manual transmission. With dimensions of 325/30 ZR 19, the sports tyres specially developed for the 911 GT2 RS translate the propulsive power into breathtaking acceleration: zero to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 3.5 seconds, 0 to 200 (0-124 mph) km/h in only 9.8 seconds and 0 to 300 km/h (0-186 mph) in 28.9 seconds. The top speed is 330 km/h (205 mph).


2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0

The new 911 GT3 RS 4.0 is a thoroughbred vehicle, uncompromisingly optimised for handling, with the performance of all vehicle components, including the suspension and aerodynamics, specially synchronised. Its true performance potential is especially evident on racing circuits: It makes it round the Nürburgring-Nordschleife in 7:27 minutes. With its gearing designed for the racing circuit, the 911 GT3 RS 4.0, available exclusively with a six-speed sports transmission, reaches the 200 km/h (124 mph) mark in under 12 seconds.


The 911 GT3 RS 4.0’s outstanding driving dynamics are the fruit of meticulously coordinated details. In addition to using the suspension components typically encountered in motor racing, weight reduction is also of supreme importance. Equipped as standard with lightweight components such as bucket seats, bonnet and front wings made of carbon fibre, plastic rear windows and weight-optimised carpets, the two-seater’s ready-for-road weight is a mere 1,360 kilograms with a full tank of fuel. At 2.72 kg/hp, the 911 GT3 RS 4.0’s power-to-weight ratio thereby dips below the magical threshold of three kilograms per hp.


The limited 911 edition is painted white as standard and emphasises its proximity to motor racing by its dynamic appearance. Trademark characteristics are the wide track, the low vehicle position, the large rear wing with adapted side plates, the typical central twin tailpipe and the aerodynamically optimised body. The lateral front air deflection vanes, so-called flics, making their first appearance on a production Porsche, testify to the aerodynamic precision engineering. They create increased downforce on the front axle and together with the steeply inclined rear wing bring the vehicle into aerodynamic equilibrium. Key data : 4.0-litre flat-six 500 hp (368 kW) engine; six-speed transmission; acceleration 0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.9 seconds; DIN unladen weight 1,360 kilograms; NEDC fuel consumption 13.8 l/100 km (20.5 mpg); CO2 326 g/km; top speed 310 km/h (193 mph).