Preview and photos by Jonathan Yarkony

New York, NY – Although it debuted several weeks ago in Geneva, the New York International Auto Show was our first opportunity to see Porsche’s new 911 GT3 in the metal, and to pore over every millimetre of its body in person.

The pictures should be enough to show that it means business, so I’ll spare you the odes to its widebody kit (43 mm or 1.7 inches wider, in case you’re interested) or hymns in praise of a spoiler that would put many small aircraft to shame.

2014 Porsche 911 GT3
2014 Porsche 911 GT3. Click image to enlarge

And in case you’re wondering about Porsche nomenclature, the GT3 badge indicates that this is a car designed to go fast on a track and has long been the basis for privateer racing endeavours the world around. Looked at another way, it is the street-legal version of said racing-spec cars. However, this generation, the 991, will mark the return of a Porsche factory team at Le Mans 24 Hours and the World Endurance Championship (WEC) with the 911 RSR (where the previous-gen models were 911 GT3 RSRs).

But this race car, the GT3, you are allowed to drive on the street.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty details, now.

At first glance, you may think that because it is the same engine as the Carrera S as it shares the same 3.8 litres of displacement, but while based upon this engine in design, it is significantly different, featuring crankshaft, valve gear, titanium connecting rods and forged pistons adapted or developed specifically for use in the GT3. The direct-injected 3.8L horizontally-opposed six-cylinder (flat-six) is its own beast, developed exclusively for this vehicle and the racing programs it will be subjected to and sharing only a few common parts.

With these adaptations in place, it boasts 475 horsepower (working out to 125 hp/L), making its peak output at 8,250 rpm, but offering another 750 rpm for you to simply rev the holy living hell out of it. For the math-impaired, that’s a 9,000 rpm redline. Nine thousand. Torque is rated at 324 lb-ft, also arriving at a lofty 6,250 rpm.

2014 Porsche 911 GT32014 Porsche 911 GT3
2014 Porsche 911 GT3. Click image to enlarge

The only transmission Porsche will offer with the GT3 is their PDK seven-speed double-clutch automated manual. Some fans lament the loss of the manual transmission, but this car is about fast, not muddling through gears and proving that you can execute a perfect heel-toe downshift once every track day. Yes, a manual transmission is more fun and engaging, and I’d put money down that Porsche will offer alternatives that focus on driver engagement rather than all-out speed in future special editions or other trims, but this is how it stands for now. This gearbox, the Porsche doppelkupplung (PDK), will shift gears faster than you can imagine a gear change, features a tighter ratio spread than in Carrera S application, and offers only two modes: Sport and Racetrack. As far as neat party tricks go, you can engage neutral by pulling both shift paddles simultaneously.

Another novel development for the new GT3 is rear-wheel steering. At low speeds (below 50 km/h), the rear wheels will turn up to 1.5 degrees in the opposite direction of the fronts so as to improve agility at low speeds. Above 80 km/h, the rears turn in the same direction as the fronts, aiding high-speed cornering and stability.

Steering will be electrically assisted as in the standard 911 and Boxster. You won’t find better electric steering, and it gives up little to previous hydraulic racks. If you don’t like it, you can buy me one instead (not just the steering, the whole car, please).

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