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2022 Porsche 911 GT3 gets faster without sacrificing its best features

The chassis and aerodynamic improvements help the 992 GT3 pull off a sub-7-minute Nürburgring Nordschleife lap time.

Well this looks fun AF.

Porsche

Tuesday marks the arrival of a brand-new Porsche 911 GT3. And while there's certainly a lot to talk about with regard to chassis components, lap times and, yes, that new rear wing, arguably the best thing about the 992-generation GT3 is that it carries on the best attributes of its predecessor.

Crucially, that means the GT3 retains naturally aspirated flat-six power -- something Roadshow first cheered while riding right-seat in a prototype last year. The free-breathing 4.0-liter engine is an evolution of the flat-six from the 911 Speedster, and Porsche says it's "nearly identical" to what you'll find in the 911 GT3 Cup race car. In the 992 GT3, this engine produces 502 horsepower and 364 pound-feet of torque, increases of 2 hp and 25 lb-ft over the 991.2 GT3. That's more than enough power for a car like this, and happily, you can still rev the bejesus out of this engine, all the way up to its 9,000-rpm redline.

Porsche's seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission is standard and the company created a new automatic gear shifter that looks (and supposedly feels) exactly like a manual transmission's stick. This should offer a lot more tactile engagement for folks who buy the PDK, though all DCT GT3s will also have steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Don't worry, a proper six-speed manual is available, too.

The GT3 is certainly quick, with Porsche estimating a 0-to-60-mph acceleration time of 3.2 seconds for the PDK-equipped car. Yes, the new Porsche 911 Turbo S can do that same run in an even more impressive 2.6 seconds, but with the GT3, it's not about being quick, it's about being fast (yes, there's a difference). Porsche took a 992 GT3 prototype to the Nürburgring Nordschleife, where the car pulled off an insane 6-minute, 59.927-second lap time. To put that into perspective, that's more than 17 seconds quicker than the 991.2 GT3, about 12 seconds slower than the 911 GT2 RS and only 2 seconds slower than the holy-grail 918 Spyder.

To achieve that level of track-attack performance, Porsche vastly upgraded the GT3's suspension for the 992 generation. The double-wishbone front setup is essentially a tweaked version of what Porsche uses in the 911 RSR racer, and the company says this results in better steering response and higher levels of cornering grip. The GT3's front track is also 1.9 inches wider than a standard 911 Carrera, adding to that front-axle traction. The rear suspension uses the same multilink setup as before, but Porsche added more ball joints to make everything stronger. Porsche assures us the GT3's suspension does not share any parts with the standard 911 Carrera models.

Looks like a manual transmission, but that's actually the new dual-clutch automatic shifter.

Porsche

Helping with overall grip is a new set of staggered summer tires that are 10 millimeters wider at all four corners. Up front, the GT3 has 225/35-series tires on 20-inch wheels, and around back, you'll find meaty 315/30-series tires wrapping 21-inch wheels. Porsche says it will offer customers a "street-legal track tire" option that was previously reserved for GT3 RS models. The company has yet to confirm exactly which tires these are, but we're told they're the ones that were fitted to the GT3 prototype that set the sub-7-minute Nürburgring time.

The GT3's standard braking setup consists of cast-iron discs all around, with big, 16-inch units up front -- just over an inch wider in diameter than the stoppers on the old GT3. Buyers can pay for Porsche's stronger ceramic composite brakes, as well, with 16.1-inch discs up front and 15.3-inch units at the rear. The company says the more-expensive ceramic composite brakes weigh half as much as the standard iron setup, which is great, since weight reduction is definitely key with a car like the GT3. Speaking of which, while we don't have an exact spec just yet, Porsche says the 992-generation model has "virtually no increase in weight" compared to the 991.2 GT3.

Aerodynamics play a big part in keeping the GT3 stable at high speeds. The front fascia has integrated air intakes and both the front lip spoiler and diffuser are adjustable, with a track setting that Porsche stresses is not intended for normal road use. Moving around back, you'll see what's likely the most controversial bit of design on an otherwise hot-looking car: the wing, which has a swan-neck design for improved downforce. Compared to the outgoing GT3, Porsche says the new wing allows for up to 50% more rear downforce when set in its normal position. Put the wing and the front lip in their track positions and you'll get as much as 150% more aerodynamic downforce than before. That, along with the new chassis and grippy tires, is why the GT3 is so freaking fast despite not really having any more power.

The new GT3 shaves 17 seconds off the old model's Nürburgring Nordschleife lap time.

Porsche

Now that I've seen the finished product, I actually kinda dig the swan-neck wing; it looks great on the redesigned 992 GT3 body. Aside from some functional air vents, new side skirts and a ducktail spoiler above the taillights, the new GT3 looks like any other 911, which is great, and it'll no doubt be offered in a whole bunch of rad colors, not to mention Porsche's seemingly endless paint-to-sample catalog.

Inside, the GT3 gets standard four-way sport seats, though you can spring for 18-way-adjustable Sport Seats Plus and even carbon fiber full buckets, the latter of which cut about 26 pounds. Aside from the manual-looking automatic shifter, the GT3's interior isn't all that different from other 911 models -- which isn't a complaint, mind you. Porsche's excellent infotainment tech is on hand, and the displays on either side of the tachometer have a Track Screen mode that reduces the amount of information shown at one time. Other sports cars have functionality like this, so it's nice to see the GT3 adopting this minimalist appearance, too.

The 2022 911 GT3 will cost $162,450 (including $1,350 for destination). Porsche is rumored to be working on a wingless Touring version, as well, which ought to be a particularly lovely thing. Look for the first round of 2022 GT3s to hit US dealers this fall.