The King is dead; long live the King. You’re looking at the all-new 2022 Porsche 911 GT3, a car that, like its predecessor, will likely become the benchmark by which all other sports cars are judged.
Earlier today, when Porsche took the wraps off its new GT3, what was most shocking – even sad – was the realization that this car is now in a class by itself. Its rivals have fallen by the wayside, victims not only of Porsche’s greatness but also the changing automotive landscape. In an era of increasingly electric and automated cars, the GT3 shines as one of the sole remaining beacons of pure, old-school, driver-first thrill.
That does not, however, mean the new GT3 is full of old-school technology, quite the opposite. Just look at this monster. It looks like it got lost during a Nurburgring 24-hour race and mistakenly wound up in a dealership wearing licence plates.
Porsche invested more money into developing this new GT3 than in any previous one, said Frank-Steffen Walliser, vice president in charge of sports cars at Porsche.
The company has continued to perfect rare technology, like the six-speed manual gearbox, which will be optionally available on the new GT3 at launch alongside a PDK automatic ‘box. For the record, neither Ferrari nor Lamborghini still offer a stick shift.
The new engine is an equally rare thing. The 4.0-litre flat-six is “virtually identical” to the motor in Porsche’s new track-only GT3 Cup racecar. It screams to 9,000 rpm, makes 503 horsepower and 346 lb-ft of torque. It has exotic racecar tech like dry-sump lubrication (so the engine doesn’t melt during high-G turns) and six jewel-like individual throttle bodies (so the throttle response is razor sharp).
What’s even more remarkable is that this engine makes its power without the assistance of turbochargers, superchargers or any kind of hybrid system. It’s naturally aspirated, which means it wants to be wound up to the redline so it can envelop the cabin in a life-affirming mechanical cacophony. Engines like this can spark a lifelong automotive addiction. Lambo and Ferrari make them too, but only in cars that cost as much as a condo.
It’s a testament to Porsche’s engineering talent that it can still get this naturally-aspirated engine to pass strict modern emissions regulations. Frank-Steffen Walliser said that was one of the hardest parts of developing this new car. It’s not clear, he added, how much longer Porsche can keep making motors like this – so if you want one, get it while you can.
The racecar tech in this car doesn’t begin and end with the engine. The new GT3 is based on the new 992-gen Porsche 911, but unlike other roadgoing 911s, the GT3 uses a double-wishbone front suspension setup. It’s said to aid agility and predictability, which is important for a car meant to be driven to its limit on track days.
Despite the fact the new car is bigger and wider than the old one, Porsche has worked hard to keep the pounds off. Carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) is used for the entire front hood, rear wing and spoiler. Even the windows are made of special lightweight glass.
Of course, you’re probably curious about the elephant in the room: that enormous wing sticking off the back of the GT3. It’s an adjustable swan-neck wing, again taken from the 911 racecars. It helps give the new car 50 per cent more downforce than the old one. We’d consider mounting one of these on our wall, like antlers. But, if you’re not a fan, a more understated, wingless Touring version of the GT3 is likely coming soon, according to Andreas Preuninger, head of Porsche’s GT division.
Preuninger said something else interesting: Porsche’s worldwide sales last year were on target, with most models meeting or exceeding expectations. That says a lot about what Porsche, and specifically Preuninger’s GT division, has been doing lately.
“Maybe it’s a little bit like a YOLO effect,” Preuninger said. “You only live once, and people are keen to reward themselves and buy their dream car a little bit sooner than maybe they planned in life.”
Pricing has yet to be announced for Canada, but the first 2022 Porsche 911 GT3s should be in showrooms this fall. You can bet there’s already a waiting list.