FOR THOSE WHO CRAVE MORE OUT OF THE SPORT COUPE
By Al Khoury
For more reviews by Al, visit NewYorKars.com
Would you like to have your ride featured in a review? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last month we reviewed Oloi’s 2014 Porsche 911 GT3, a track-prepped race car the team at Savvy initially used to test a new wing kit. Based in California, Savvy designs and engineers performance products for some of the world’s best vehicles using advanced materials and methods. The car performed well and further modifications were implemented, making the GT3 a formidable opponent at the track. Here we have a similar vehicle in Oloi’s 2018 Porsche 911 GT3. This car serves more as a demo to show what a stock car can do with minimal bolt-on modifications.
Let’s dive into the history of this high-performance vehicle. The GT3 is a 911 for those who crave more out of the sport coupe. They are typically lighter and more powerful than the standard 911. Sound-deadening materials and some luxury features are removed to save weight, while the engine and suspension systems are tweaked for higher performance.
The GT3 was introduced in 1999 and was developed purely for racing. It is named after the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) Group GT3 class. The GT3 has found success in the American Le Mans series, 24 Hours of Daytona, and 24 Hours Nürburgring. The GT3 also competes in one-make series such as the Porsche Carrera Cup, Porsche Supercup, and GT3 Cup Challenge.
The street-legal GT3 vehicles are homologated versions of the race cars, bringing the track-developed technology to the street … and back to the track again for GT3 owners who want to get the full potential out of their cars. The current 911 GT3 street car is developed on the same track and manufactured on the same production line as the race cars.
The 2018 GT3, like the 2014 model, is part of the 991 generation. For 2018 the series gets the new 991.2 designation and the GT3 has undergone some changes. The big news is that Porsche offers a choice between a 6-speed manual transmission or 7-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission, satisfying purists who want to row their own gears. The manual also saves a little weight.
Pressing the Sport button in the manual car will allow the computer to rev-match your downshifts. In addition, manual-equipped GT3s get a mechanical limited-slip differential, while those with PDK get an electronic LSD.
The larger 4.0-liter flat-six engine is the same one found in the GT3 Cup race car. The redline remains at 9,000 rpm, as it was in the previous GT3’s 3.8-liter powerplant. This is the largest and most powerful naturally aspirated direct-injection engine of any road-going flat-six ever produced by Porsche.
The 991.2 GT3 engine gets a new crankshaft, lubrication system, intake manifold, piston rings, and cylinder heads. It inherits the dry-sump lubrication with separate oil tank from the GT3 racers, along with titanium connecting rods. Larger radiators behind the air intakes increase cooling.
Power in the new GT3 is up to 500 horsepower at 8,250 rpm and 339 pound-feet of torque at 6,000 rpm, an increase of 25 horsepower and 15 pound-feet over the 991.1 GT3
When compared to the 991.1 GT3, the 991.2 has a higher carbon fiber rear spoiler that’s been raised 20 mm and moved back for better performance. The front spoiler and rear underbody diffuser are new, while optimized spring and damper tuning improves grip and handling. The front and rear fascia have been redesigned and are constructed from lightweight polyurethane with carbon fiber elements to save weight. Thanks to these changes, overall downforce has been increased by 20 percent. The 911 GT3 produces 340 pounds of downforce at top speed.
Rear-axle steering is carried over, offering more stability and maneuverability. Below 31 miles per hour, the system steers the rear wheels in the opposite direction of the front wheels. This gives faster steering behavior and a tighter turning circle. Between 31 and 50 miles per hour, the rear wheels turn in the same direction or opposite that of the front wheels, depending on the situation. Above 50 miles per hour, the system turns the rear wheels in the same direction as the front wheels, which can be helpful when changing lanes on the street or passing another vehicle on the track.
Porsche’s Active Suspension Management (PASM) variable shock-absorber system has been specially tuned for the 911 GT3. Drivers have a choice of two maps. Normal mode is good for everyday driving, including changing road conditions and surfaces. Sport mode is ideal for dry, even roads. Body movements are reduced to allow more precise handling.
The 911 GT3 has no back seats. The dimensions and footprint are the same as the 991.1, but the 991.2 rides 5 millimeters lower. Depending on the transmission, the 2018 GT3 will do a 0-60 mile-per-hour run in 3 seconds, on to a top speed of 198 miles per hour. The base price is $143,600.
A touring version of the GT3 was been introduced for the first time. It replaces Alcantara surfaces with leather and comes standard with the comfort package and manual transmission. It also deletes the fixed rear wing and replaces it with an electronically controlled spoiler from the Carrera GTS.
Oloi founder and track addict Thomas Lee wanted his newer GT3 to have fewer upgrades when compared to the first one. He likens the upgrades to those of his 2007 Honda S2000, which we also covered in a previous blog post.
As with the S2000, Thomas “gradually add and change my needs of the car as I progress through the OE sittings; it’s very important to first understand its stock behaviors.”
Thomas took the new GT3 to Buttonwillow Raceway Park in California when he first got it and had a tough experience dealing with all that extra torque. The team at Savvy brought the car in to do their magic, albeit with a light touch for this GT3.
The stock driver’s seat was replaced with a Recaro P1300 Porsche factory racing seat and Schroth Racing harnesses were added. A BBI harness bar was bolted on for extra safety and a Porsche ClubSport steering wheel kit was swapped in.
The suspension was revised with an SPM GT3 spring kit and SPM strut tower support bracket. An SPM Grand Am exhaust was installed out back and a 991 Cup Car factory splitter went up front. Advance Friction Performance endurance track brake pads were complemented with Endless RF-650 racing brake fluid.