It’s hard to believe that two decades have passed since the world was introduced to the 911 GT3. Porsche revealed the first-gen at the 1999 Frankfurt Motor Show, and touted the 996 GT3 as the most focused member of the range and the spiritual successor of the legendary 911 Carrera RS 2.7.
The first GT3 came with a 355hp 3.6-liter flat-six engine that could rev up to 7,800rpm, the six-speed manual from a 993 GT2, a 30 mm lower and adjustable suspension with model-specific axle geometry and anti-roll bars, a more aggressive aero pack and plenty of weight-saving measures.
The result was one of the first production sports cars that lapped the Nurburgring (at the hands of none other than the legendary Walter Röhrl) in under 8 minutes, setting the new benchmark in its segment. Unfortunately, that first-gen GT3 never came to the U.S.
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From that point on, Porsche presented a new evolution of the 911 GT3 every three to four years. In 2003, power went up to 375 HP (381 PS) thanks to the adoption of the VarioCam continuously variable camshaft control and carbon brakes became an option for the first time. The 996.2 GT3 was also the first one to cross the Atlantic.
Four years later the 997 GT3 arrived, still powered by a naturally aspirated 3.6-liter flat-six unit, which now produced 409 HP (415 PS). This was the first time a GT3 was offered with an active suspension (PASM in Porsche-speak) that was also upgraded with divided control arms for greater adjustment of the camber angle.
In 2010, the 997.2 GT3 debuted with a new, larger engine that now measureed 3.8 liters in capacity. Power climbed to 429 HP (435 PS), while the red line was raised from 8,400 to 8,500rpm. This was the first time a road-going GT3 got the then-new center-lock hubs and optional dynamic engine mounts, while the PASM was re-calibrated for better track performance. The 997.2 GT3 lapped the Nurburgring in 7 minutes and 40 seconds.
The 991 GT3 was first introduced in 2013, featuring a new 3.8-liter flat-six with 468 HP (475 PS) that could rev up to an incredible 9,000 rpm, active rear axle steering and (much to the dismay of Porsche die hards) a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission as standard.
The current 991.2 GT3 packs a 4.0-liter engine with 493 HP (500PS), with Weissach bowing to customer’s demands and offering a six-speed manual alongside the PDK. The company even offered the more discreet Touring package that replaces the fixed rear wing with an less ostentatious, automatically extending spoiler.
Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for the new 992 GT3, which has been spotted during development testing on several occasions. Porsche is still keeping its cards close to its chest, but the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show in September sounds like a good bet for its debut.