Racer's dream: 2013 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
Proof that Porsche still takes sports-car racing seriously.
One could be forgiven for contemplating Porsche’s future in the sports-car industry, what with the advent of vehicles such as the Cayenne and the Panamera, followed by the unceremonious departure of former CEO Wendelin Wiedeking under the watchful eyes of Volkswagen and Ferdinand Piëch.
And to those who subscribe to the theory that the existence of the Cayenne and the Panamera are heresy, we’d like to direct your attention to the 2013 911 GT3 Cup racer—proof that Porsche is as serious about sports-car racing as ever.
The GT3 Cup provides us with a very good idea of what the series-production version of the 911 GT3 will look like.
It makes use of the clean lines of this 991-generation and is relatively easily differentiated from its 997-based predecessor. The race car is powered by a naturally aspirated 3.8-liter flat-six that produces 460 hp at 7500 rpm. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels through Porsche's own six-speed manual transmission, which is operated by paddle shifters rather than the traditional stick. Does this mean that the roadgoing, series-production GT3 will get a similar transmission? No. Our intelligence tells us that it will get a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic instead; the 911 Carrera’s seven-speed manual could be offered as well, but no six-speed stick.
For the GT3 Cup, Porsche has developed new 18-inch aluminum wheels with a central-locking mechanism, which are shod in Michelin race rubber. There are six-piston brakes up front and four-piston brakes in the rear, with all four corners making use of steel discs rather than carbon ceramics. The chassis has been modified, with Porsche saying that drivability at the limit was a strong focus of the development.
The driver is protected by a redesigned roll cage and a carbon-fiber racing seat that is custom-fitted to specifically protect the driver’s head and shoulders in the event of a crash. The roof is fitted with an escape hatch, designed to assist first responders.
There are two NACA ducts on the hood, the front fenders are widened with additional body applications, and the rear sports a massive fixed spoiler.
Xenon HID headlights, LED daytime running lights, and LED taillights are standard, as is a center-exit exhaust with dual outlets. The rear side windows include vents and are made from polycarbonate. The minimalist dashboard features a small digital screen and a racing steering wheel sans airbag. The Sport Chrono stopwatch that makes poseurs feel like racers in the standard 911 does not appear on this race car's equipment list.
The 911 GT3 Cup ushers in a new era in 911 racing cars, being the first model using the 991 architecture. The racer is built on the same production line in Zuffenhausen, Germany, as many of Porsche’s street cars, but is finished in Porsche's technology and motorsports center in Weissach. In 2013, the GT3 Cup will run exclusively in Porsche's Mobil 1 Supercup, costing its owners €181,200 before taxes (or roughly $242,500 in American currency), and only coming in the single paint scheme you see before you. Oddly, not even Porsche is willing to collect more of your hard-earned dollars in exchange for a range of color choices. See? Porsche really is as serious about sports-car racing as ever.
-- Jens Meiners
More from Car and Driver:
- Comparison Test: 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S vs. Corvette Z06 and Nissan GT-R
- First Drive: 2013 Porsche Carrera 4 and 4S
- Instrumented Test: 2013 Porsche Boxster S
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