Porsche has only just recently revealed the brand new 911 GT3 and it’s more hardcore sibling, the GT3 RS, and yet we already are learning what to expect from the next generation of GT and RS models. When Porsche turns its attention to its most track-focused products, amazing things happen. The new 911 GT3 manages 475 horsepower from its 3.8-liter flat-six engine, has a screaming 9,000 rpm red line, and gets to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds.
Stepping up to the RS adds not only more power — 500 horses to be specific — but also extra downforce, more aggressive handling, and menacing looks. The only bummer about the new GT and RS is that the manual transmission has been snubbed in the name of performance. Don’t get me wrong; the seven-speed PDK gearbox is one of the best in the business, but GT3 once meant a “more involved” driving experience … not just “quicker”.
And that brings us to the latest news about the following act to the latest GT3 and GT3 RS. While still years off, Porsche’s Andreas Preuniger has revealed a few promising details about the track-bred 911s. First, Mr. Preuniger said that the answer to a better GT isn’t more power, but rather less weight. Inherently, adding more power via a larger displacement engine, strapping on turbochargers, or by other means leads to necessary hardware additions like bigger brakes, beefier suspension components, and a reinforced chassis. That all adds up to a heavier body to handle the extra power.
Preuniger prefers to amplify performance by cutting out the excess and therefore improving the power-to-weight ratio. Each new generation of GT and RS has been more powerful than the model it replaces, and, Preuniger admits, that will likely remain the trend, but the amount of extra grunt will be less than previous years.
In addition to a stricter diet, the next generation GT3 and RS will retain naturally aspirated engines, which is the heart and soul of their formula. But, perhaps best of all, there’s rumor that the manual transmissions will make their triumphant return in the next iteration. According to Mr. Preuniger, buyers should have the option to choose their GT3 experience, even if it means slower shifts and therefore longer lap times.
Of course, the PDK will continue to improve, and — to some — even the sweetest-shifting standard transmission won’t be enough to justify the performance sacrifice. But I’m cool with that … more manuals for me, then.