Porsche draws on motorsport methodologies for 911 GT3 road development

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The new Porsche 911 GT3 represents the pinnacle of the company’s high-performance road car range. According to the German marque, its engineers pursued one overarching development aim: to enhance the performance of the car compared with the previous model, without compromising on everyday usability.

Achieving this entailed close cooperation between engineers from the company’s series development and motorsport departments, as Andreas Preuninger, director GT Model Line, explained: “When we have the same engineers who develop our race cars also working on the design of a new GT car for the road, that is the most direct technology transfer I can imagine.”

The motorsport-inspired optimization of the car’s aerodynamics is particularly apparent. For example, the GT3 is the first road-going Porsche to feature a suspended rear wing, with the swan-neck mounting similar to that used on the 911 RSR and the one-make championship 911 GT3 Cup. With two brackets holding the wing element from above, the airflow can pass undisturbed across the underside, which is aerodynamically more sensitive.

Porsche says that this new design led to a reduction in the flow losses and not only increased the downforce but also resulted in well-balanced negative lift conditions together with many other detailed improvements. “We developed the aerodynamics of the new 911 GT3 in around 700 simulations. We spent more than 160 hours fine-tuning the car in the wind tunnel,” said aerodynamics engineer Mathias Roll. “Not only are the components very similar to those used in our race cars, but the development methods are also similar. In our ultra-modern wind tunnel in Weissach, we do not just drive straight ahead – we simulate every conceivable driving situation. We make the car roll, pitch and yaw in order to simulate the physical influences on the track.”

Bench testing of the high-revving, naturally aspirated flat-six engine also drew on the company’s racing experience. “In total, the engine in the new GT3 ran for more than 22,000 hours on the test rig. During testing, we repeatedly simulated typical circuit profiles and ran the engine at full throttle for a very high proportion of the time,” explained Thomas Mader, project manager for GT road car engines. The engine is based on the unit found in the 911 GT3 race car; with an output of 502bhp, it is 10bhp more powerful than its predecessor.

The engine was also put through its paces by the engineers and test drivers off the test rig. “We conducted 600 emissions tests during development in order to meet the strict standards,” noted Mader. Strict standards were also applied in terms of the engine’s endurance: the engine had to perform flawlessly throughout a continuous run of more than 5,000km on the oval at Nardò in Italy at a constant speed of 300km/h, stopping only to refuel.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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