If there’s one thing we know about Porsche, it’s that they know how to take advantage of the technology at their disposal and build incredible cars and the new 2023 911 GT3 RS is a testament to that. Designed for maximum performance, the 518 horsepower, road legal sports car has taken inspiration from motorsports.
Beyond the intelligent, lightweight construction and high revving, naturally aspirated engine with obvious racing DNA, it’s the cooling and aerodynamic systems of the 911 GT3 RS that connect it in the most direct way with it’s motorsports companion, the 911 GT3 R.
First used on the Le Mans class winning 911 RSR and subsequently, 911 GT3 R, the 911 GT3 RS relies on a large, angled center radiator, located where the luggage compartment is on other 911 models, as opposed to the three-radiator layout of previous cars. Centralizing the radiator has made it possible to free up space on the sides to integrate active aerodynamic elements. Continuously adjustable wing elements in the front and on the two part rear wing, in conjunction with a number of other aerodynamic measures, provide more than 900 lbs of downforce at approximately 124 mph. That is twice that of the 991.2 predecessor and three times as much as a current 911 GT3. At 177 mph, total downforce is 1,895 lbs, or the equivalent of a Porsche 356 A.
This Porsche also has something that no other production Porsche has ever had and that’s a drag reduction system (DRS). When trying to achieve low drag and higher speeds on straight sections of the track, DRS allows the wing to be flattened out at the push of a button, within a specific operating range. During hard breaking at high speeds, the airbrake function positions the wing elements at the front and rear to support deceleration by maximizing aerodynamic drag.
Everything on the 911 GT3 RS goes back to aerodynamics, and that includes the new, more purposeful look. One of, if not the most prominent feature of the GT sports car is the swan-neck-support rear wing. It is significantly larger than the wing of its predecessor and consists of a fined main wing and a hydraulically adjustable upper blade. In another first for a Porsche production vehicle, the upper edge of the rear wing is higher than the roof. A front splitter divides the air flowing over and underneath, working in parallel with side blades on the front fascia that deflect air outwards. Front wheel arch ventilation is provided via distinctive louvered openings in the front quarter panels. Behind the front wheels are inlets inspired by the iconic Le Mans winning 911 GT1, that reduce the dynamic pressure in the wheel arches. Air from the centrally positioned radiator flow out of large nostrils on the front lid. Further back, fins on the roof direct the air outwards which ensures cooler intake temperatures in the rear. Exclusive to the 911 GT3 RS, the openings in the rear side panel are used to improve the aerodynamics and not to draw in combustion air. The rear wheel arches also feature an intake and a side blade for optimized air flow and the rear diffuser is a modified version of the one fitted to the 911 GT3.
When it comes to the suspension on the 911 GT3 RS, it’s even been modified for improved aerodynamics. Because the wheel arches on the car are subject to powerful airflows, the components of the double-wishbone front axle are designed with teardrop-shaped profiles. This increases the downforce on the front axle by around 88 lbs at top track speed and otherwise are only used in high end motorsport applications. Front track width increases by 1.14 inches (29 millimeters), necessitating longer double-wishbone front axle links.
Because maintaining the downforce balance between the front and rear axles under high speed braking is so important, the suspension engineers specifically reduced pitching under braking. The front ball joint of the lower trailing arm has been set lower on the front axle. The multi-link rear axle has also been adjusted with modified spring rates and the driver assistance systems along with the rear axle steering have been given an even more dynamic set up.
When selecting from the three driving modes, Normal, Sport and Track, you have a lot of individual adjustment. Specific to Track mode, the rebound and compression damping of the front and rear axles can be adjusted separately and in several stages. The rear diff can also be adjusted via rotary controls on the steering wheel, this is done quickly and intuitively with an operating and display concept borrowed from endurance racing. Four individual rotary controls and a button for DRS are located on the steer wheel. These rotary controls appear in an instrument cluster during the adjustment process. The track screen in the 911 GT3 RS is similar to that of the 911 GT3 as well as the gearshift indicator light and analog tachometer. With the touch of a button the driver can reduce the two seven inch side displays to essential information only.
The 4.0 liter high revving, naturally aspirated engine, compared to the 911 GT3, has been further optimized. The increase in horsepower, from 502 to 518, has been achieved primarily with new camshafts that have modified cam profiles. The single throttle intake system and rigid valvetrain are derived from motorsports. Like the 911 GT3, this engine has six individual throttle bodies, one per cylinder. The seven speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) has a shorter overall gear ratio than the 911 GT3 and is aided by air intakes on the underbody to ensure the transmission can withstand even the most extreme loads during frequent track use.
With acceleration from 0-60 mph in 3.0 seconds, 3.2 for the 911 GT3, the 911 GT3 RS reaches a top speed of 184 mpg in seventh gear. Six piston aluminum monobloc fixed caliper brakes and brake discs with a diameter of 408 mm are used on the front axle. The piston diameters are increased from 30 to 32 mm as well as the thickness of the discs from 34 to 36 mm. The rear axle continues to be fitted with the same 380 mm brake discs and four piston caliper fixed caliper brakes. Though there are optionally available Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) that use 410 mm discs on the front and 390 mm discs on the rear. The 911 GT3 RS comes standard with forged light alloy, center locking wheels. Street legal Ultra High Performance tires measuring 275/35 R 20 at the front and 335/30 R21 at the rear provide a high level of mechanical grip.
Intelligent lightweight construction has been a basic principle of all RS models ever since the legendary 911 Carrera RS 2.7. Thanks to an array of lightweight construction measures such as the extensive use of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), the 911 GT3 RS weighs in at only 3,268 lbs.. The doors, front quarter panels, roof and hood, for example, are made from CFRP. Lightweight CFRP is also used in the interior, including the standard full bucket seats, trimmed in black leather and Race-Tex joining carbon fiber trim throughout the interior to characterize the pure, sporty ambience.
All of this sounds pretty great to most consumers, but if you are looking for a little bit more from your 2023 GT3 RS, the Weissach package is available at extra cost. This package includes a large number of changes to the standard vehicle. The hood, roof, parts of the rear wing and upper portion of the side mirror housing feature visible carbon fiber. Front and rear anti-roll bars, the rear coupling rods and the sheer panel on the rear axle are made of CFRP, which contribute to the enhancement of driving dynamics. Another highlight is the PDK shift paddles with motorsports derived magnet technology. Thanks to a pressure point and clearly perceptible click, it makes those gear changes feel extra precise. Also included in the Weissach package are forged magnesium wheels that save 17.6 lbs of unspring weight compared to the standard wheels.
All in all, the 2023 911 GT3 RS has a starting MSRP of $223,800, excluding $1,450 for processing, delivery and handling and is expected to arrive at US dealers by Spring 2023.