The all-new Porsche 911 GT3 R has successfully completed its first test race at the hands of French drivers Frédéric Makowiecki and Julien Andlauer, who achieved a third-place podium finish at round seven of the Nürburgring Endurance Series in the SP-X class – a category for vehicles that have not yet been homologated for motorsport use.
The latest 911 GT3 R finished the race without any issues and is the second racing-thoroughbred from Porsche based on the OEM’s 992-generation 911 after the 911 GT3 Cup.
Development of the latest iteration started in 2019, with a focus placed on improving the vehicle’s driveability for professional – and as Porsche puts it – gentleman drivers, in addition to gaining larger performance reserves for varying balance of performance classifications.
The lightweight aluminum-steel body has been majorly modified from the production version, with nearly all of the 911’s body panels now made from carbon and the wheel arches from aramid fiber.
Situated behind the driver and delivering drive to the rear wheels is a near-standard, 4.2-liter, water-cooled flat-six-cylinder engine which features four-valve technology and direct fuel injection. Based on the 992-generation 911’s engine, the naturally aspirated racing powerplant has had its displacement increased by approximately 5% from 3,997cc to 4,194cc, resulting in a peak power output of 565ps. The torque and power curve has also been optimized by Porsche engineers across the rev range for better driveability. Furthermore, the engine has been tilted toward the front of the vehicle by 5.5° to create additional room for the underbody diffuser. A sequential six-speed transmission derived from the current 911 GT3 Cup has also been used.
The OEM’s motorsport department made changes to the 911 GT3 R’s rear suspension to ensure more precise steering and less rear tire wear. It did this by moving the multi-link rear axle backward to extend the wheelbase from 2,459mm to 2,507mm. This results in a reduced load on the rear tires which improves tire performance over longer periods. A double wishbone layout at the front helps to control steering inputs. Porsche’s positioning of the central pivot points on the car’s front axle also frees up space for the aerodynamic race underfloor concept – an elevated underbody which enables air flow to the rear diffuser.
Within the cockpit the OEM has moved the seat closer to the center of the car, enabling a more ergonomic seating position in relation to the updated roll cage and newly developed FIA side impact protection. As in the previous iteration, both the steering wheel and pedals can be adjusted. Additionally, a 10.3in display features with a multi-switch concept.
“All in all, we experienced a very successful race premiere with our new Porsche. I’m proud of everyone who has worked on this project,” said Sebastian Golz, project manager. “Yesterday’s test laps on the Nordschleife and today’s race show that the basis of the vehicle is correct. Thanks to the great preparation and cooperation with the ADAC, we performed well and managed to get a positive picture with loads of data. After a very consistent performance, we finished in third place and secured a podium spot, even though new racing cars like our 911 GT3 R must wait 30 seconds longer per pit stop at test races.”
“After the start, the track was very wet at first then it gradually dried up. For my second stint, I opted for slicks, and I managed to turn a few quick laps,” explained Julien Andlauer. “I think Porsche has developed a pretty good racing car. It drives nicely. Everything went according to plan. The car is already a little better than its predecessor in every aspect – especially in its braking behavior, cornering characteristics and greater torque thanks to its 4.2-liter engine. We still have some work to do but the performance is already there and it’s heading in the right direction.”
“The conditions today with changeable weather were somewhat tricky,” added Frédéric Makowiecki. “All in all, the new Porsche ran very well. Our goal was to learn as much as possible – for example, how to lap slower traffic with the car. Now we have a comprehensive idea of where we stand with the new 911 GT3 R. The car has many positive qualities and a very good basis. However, we still have some issues to solve.”
Further tests are scheduled for the last two NLS races of the season, ahead of the new 911 GT3 R making its official debut with customer teams at the 24-hour race at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida, USA in January 2023.