Head of Porsche Motorsport Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser says that nearly every component has been improved on the new Porsche 911 GT3 R, with a clear focus on improving drivability and serviceability.
The German manufacturer’s new-generation GT3 contender was unveiled on Friday, ahead of its expected race debut later this year and full customer rollout in 2019.
While based on the new road-going Porsche 911 GT3 RS, Walliser said the new 911 GT3 R takes the lessons learned from both the previous-gen GT3 car as well as its race-winning GTE-spec Porsche 911 RSR.
The car, which has been in development for the last 18 months, first hit the track just over a year ago and has undergone an extensive testing program prior to its formal launch.
“It’s a lot of refinements,” Walliser told Sportscar365. “We touched nearly every part.
“We did not make a completely new concept but we took the existing concept and made everything better.”
Porsche’s fifth FIA GT3-spec model features significant aero evolutions, with a larger rear wing and diffuser, along with a modular design that allows for improved serviceability.
“We looked into the technical regulations of GT3 gives us more freedom on the rear wing, that’s why we went to the maximum size,” Walliser said.
“We also looked at better drivability, easier handling, easier setup of the car, so it’s not so sensitive on the pitch of the car.
“Everything that makes it easier for the teams to handle it, set it up and adjust it to different race tracks.”
Walliser said the runtime for both the engine and gearbox has also been increased to 60 hours, to offer additional cost-savings for teams.
Bergmeister Impressed With Performance
Porsche factory driver Joerg Bergmeister, who was involved in the car’s development, said he’s been impressed with the improvements made over the previous-gen model.
The German driver recently completed a multi-day test in the car at Monza.
“You come up there with a top speed of 275 km/h and brake into Turn 1 at 110 meters,” he said. “It’s pretty late but the performance and how the new ABS works is amazing.
“It’s a combination of things, I would say. The downforce level that’s gotten improved, the new ABS and the new kinematic on the front axle.”
“Compared to the old 911 GT3 R, the engine has a broader power range, a bit more torque, I’d say.
“We changed the characteristic of top performance on maximum horsepower to a wider range of the power band.
“Therefore, the drivability is better. The throttle response is better. So it’s been a good improvement there.”
Debut in 24H Series Race Possible
While Porsche has traditionally used end-of-year VLN races to debut its new cars, Walliser hinted towards a potential endurance race later this year, most likely in 24H Series competition.
He said the Creventic-run 24H Series is “one of the options” currently on the table.
It’s believed either the 24 Hours of Barcelona, on Sept. 7-9 or the 12 Hours of Spa, scheduled for Oct. 12-14, could be the leading candidates.
“We could also maybe test it with a customer to see how we can handle the feedback for more integration,” Walliser said.
“It could be Manthey, it could be a customer. It’s not yet been finally decided how it will be operated. It depends a little bit on the progress we are doing in the final endurance testing.”