For almost 20 years, the GT3 RS has been one of the Porsche 911's most desirable packages, mating a lightened chassis with strong downforce and high-revving power. Porsche takes the already-formidable GT3 formula, and spices it up with racing-spec goodies like carbon fiber trim and center-lock magnesium wheels. Every time an RS is released, it lays down some of the fastest lap times you can get out of a contemporary street car, and evolving technology continues to make them faster. So, where did this race bred model come from? Where will it go with the new 992 chassis generation in 2021? Keep reading to find out.
The very first GT3 debuted with the all-new water cooled 911 in 1999, and was produced as Porsche's homologation car for FIA racing. Interestingly, the "Mezger" engine used in these GT3s (and in the turbo cars) was an entirely different design from the new 996 Carrera flat-six. This engine was an amalgamation of old parts sourced from heavy hitting Porsches like the 962 prototype and 959 supercar. As a result, the Mezger block uses the same basic design as the original 911, just converted to water cooling with dual overhead cam heads.
This first GT3 engine displaced 3.6 liters and put out just over 350 horsepower, while revving to 7,600 RPM. All of them were mated to a six speed manual gearbox. This naturally aspirated performance wouldn't be matched by Porsche until the first GT3 RS rolled out of the factory in 2003. This 996 is exceedingly rare, with only 682 built. Almost every one of those ended up in the European market, so finding one in the US is next to impossible.
The 996 GT3 RS is designed around the revised 996.2 Mezger engine, along with improved airflow, bumping power up to around 400. Here begins the RS formula of taking out weight and adding downforce. Lighter components on the 996 include a plexiglass rear window and carbon fiber hood, along with carbon spoilers front and rear to help it stick to the track. Weight is kept just under 3,000 pounds. Handling duties are also improved with the addition of carbon ceramic brakes and fully adjustable dampers all around.
The GT3 marque stuck around with the 997 generation from 2006, as did the old Mezger engine. This time around, it makes a more impressive 415 horsepower at the rear wheels, revving all the way to 8,400 RPM. The six speed stick is also carried over.
The upgrades present on 997.1 RS are much the same as they were on the previous generation, but it also gets a 2.5-inch wider rear track than the standard GT3, improving stability at high speed.
In 2009, an updated 997.2 GT3 and RS were released, now stroked out 3.8 liters and 440 horsepower. Porsche wasn't done with the 997 yet, however. In 2011, they capped off the generation with the limited GT3 RS 4.0. Displacement was bumped to an even four liters, making just under 500 horsepower, and delivering 60 miles an hour in 3.5 seconds.
Just over 1,100 997.1 GT3 RS' were delivered globally, with 2,000 997.2s, and only 600 4.0s.
2013 saw the 911 platform get a ground-up redesign in chassis and engines. The GT3 came with an all-new 3.8-liter engine, with direct fuel injection and titanium piston rods allowing it to rev to an eye-watering 9,000 RPM redline. The six speed manual was also dropped in favor of a seven speed PDK box, although it would later return for non-RS GT3s.
For the 991 GT3 RS, displacement was once again punched out to four liters, making 490 horsepower. New performance features include brake cooling ducts, four-wheel steering, and a lightened magnesium roof. A 991.2 revision came in 2018, and further increased power to 513.
Moreover, the Weissach package was introduced to send off the 991 in style, cutting even more weight out of the car with a solid carbon roof, carbon bucket racing seats, and magnesium wheels. The GT3 RS Weissach represents the current pinnacle of naturally aspirated Porsche performance, and The Starting Line happens to have one in its inventory right now.
GT3 production was really ramped up through the 2010's, with over 9,000 of them produced between the 991.1 and point-two. Just under 1,000 of those being Weissachs.
A brand new 992 GT3 has launched for the 2021 model year, and it stands to reason that another RS will soon follow. In fact, what appears to be the next GT3 RS in camouflage has been spotted testing on the Nürburgring just this month. We expect the car to be officially unveiled later this year for a 2022 release.
Although we don't know the exact specs of this new RS, there is some data that can be extrapolated from the now-current GT3. First of all, it carries over the 991's 4.0 flat-six, now making 503 horsepower. Like all RS models before it, this new one will probably see a power increase over the standard GT3 and the generation before it. We would guess somewhere in the 530 horsepower range.
Thanks to light-but-strong titanium engine components, Porsche is really hitting the upper limit of RPMs that can be attained with a street engine. Maybe they'll pull out some race-derived technology allowing them to go higher, but we theorize Porsche will wring the extra power out of this engine by increasing displacement again, to around 4.2 liters. The seven-speed PDK will most likely continue to be the only transmission offered.
What do you think about our predictions for the 992 GT3 RS? Spot on, or off the mark? Either way, we cannot wait to see the car for ourselves, and maybe even add one to our growing inventory.
To inquire about The Starting Line's 2019 GT3 RS Weissach, give us a call at (434) 830-1183, or see it in person at our office Monday-Friday at 1081 Ace Drive, Alton, VA 24520. Just outside of the Virginia International Raceway.