Porsche has been putting the final testing laps on its latest 911 GT3 Cup car ahead of its official debut in 2021. It is the first racing car based on the current 992 generation Porsche 911 and the seventh cup car since the one-make series concept was established in 1990. Impressively, over two decades, Porsche has constructed a total of 4,251 Cup cars, 1,410 of which were the outgoing 991 series.
According to Porsche, development of the new Cup car began in mid-2018 with a focus on potential improvements over the previous model and addressing evolving customer expectations.
“It proved very beneficial to exchange ideas in close cooperation with the racing teams and our international one-make cup organizations – around the world and also outside our own series. We listened carefully to the engineers and mechanics as well as the drivers and team bosses to find out what they like about the current car and what is needed,” explained product manager Christoph Werner.
“By doing this, we got a very accurate picture of the mood and we gathered a great deal of information so that we could set the right priorities for the new, globally-run model. In fact, this also applies to the eventual running of the vehicle in, for example, endurance races or club sport events.”
TC01 (Test Car 01) was completed by mid-2019. “After we’d completed the first bodyshell and all the components at our Motorsport Centre in Flacht, we completed the car in a record time of just 10 days with the project team,” reported project manager Jan Feldmann. “That was an interesting phase. It showed that the project team, which was founded in 2018, works perfectly.”
While the first prototype headed straight to Porsche’s in-house wind tunnel, a second car was sent out onto the test track at the company’s Weissach R&D Centre. “The car was actually only supposed to cover a couple of kilometers as a shakedown,” Feldmann recalled, “We ended up doing 30 flying laps with racing driver Klaus Bachler at the wheel. The first time he flew past us at full speed, we all got goosebumps. The first shot was a winner. We received some excellent feedback.”
After four more days of testing at Weissach, TC01 embarked on a European tour: Germany’s Lausitzring was followed by tests on the high-speed circuit of Monza and other international racetracks. “For us, it was important to learn as much as possible on the broadest possible range of circuits with different characteristics,” summarized technical manager Martijn Meijs. “These experiences were then incorporated into the final stage of development.”
In mid-2020, after several thousand kilometers of testing, TC01 was joined by a successor, the first pre-production vehicle from Zuffenhausen. “It was produced on the same assembly line as the other 911 at the main facility and was very similar to the final racing version,” said Feldmann. The main task of this test car was to complete long runs, including on the Grand Prix circuit of the Nürburgring.
After completing all its planned development tests as well as many hours on component test benches, the team headed to the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben for the final shakedown. There, Porsche also assessed how its customer teams would handle the new Cup car.
“The idea was to simulate an entire race weekend from our customers’ perspective and to use the vehicle as the teams would – including deliberately inciting problems, incorrect operations and damage scenarios,” explained Werner. “In this way, we came across minor issues that we could rectify. At the same time, our technicians for customer service at the racetracks and Marco Seefried as the rookie coach in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup got deeper insights into the functions, operation and handling of the car. That was important to us. We’ve done our utmost to be as prepared as possible for the market launch of the new 911 GT3 Cup.”