Losing traction, Porsche’s extreme 911 GT2 may get the axe, executive says

porsche 911 gt2 fate uncertain 2011 rs

With its rear-wheel drive chassis and powerful turbocharged engine, the Porsche 911 GT2 is known as a car that can intimidate drivers. Yet it’s powerless against product planners.

In an interview with Car and Driver, Porsche 911 product manager August Achleitner said this epic performance car’s future is in doubt.

He said the decision of whether to proceed with a new GT2 based on the current 991 chassis hasn’t been made and that “to write today that there would be a GT2 in the future would not be correct.”

Achleitner chalked this up to political issues within Porsche, but also to at least one technical problem.

Traditionally, the GT2 is a rear-wheel drive version of the 911 Turbo, but making the rear wheels do all of the work could make a new GT2 worse than the current Turbo S, because it wouldn’t have as much traction.

Traction has always been an issue for the GT2, which is pitched as both a more elemental alternative to the high-tech Turbo and a more extreme version of the naturally-aspirated GT3. Less-precise handling is part of its character.

However, the latest Turbo S is such a screamer that there may not be any room for improvement. After all, its 3.8-liter flat-six already produces 560 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, enough to hurl the Turbo S to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds, and to a top speed of 198 mph.

So where should Porsche go from there? Even recent rumors of a new GT2 assume it won’t beat those numbers.

If the new GT2 ever gets built, Porsche might have to think laterally. Instead of focusing on numbers, it might have to emphasize the car’s more simplistic nature, as a counterpoint to the Turbo and all of its gadgetry.

Of course, that was the role previously played by the 911 GT3, which has since received its share of digital upgrades.

Come to think of it, maybe it is the GT2’s time to go. There are already more 911 variants in Porsche’s catalog than there are microbreweries in Portland.