Porsche GT boss Andreas Preuninger says that, for the road, the carbon-ceramics are ideal because they’re lighter, but if your car is a track hag, then you should have steels because they’re cheaper to replace, what with the carbon-ceramic options costing £6498 and all.
Inside, things are broadly similar, although Porsche’s latest infotainment beckons and there is less sound-proofing, because there have been a few kilograms added to the body – some extra plates to increase crash stiffness – and Porsche would like to maintain the same 1430kg weight as the last 911 GT3.
The steering wheel is round and bereft of buttons, wonderfully, although I might live without the £168 red strip at noon o’clock. Maybe. The seats in this example are full buckets, at £3324. I might have those. GT3s hold their value so well that you should just spec it how you like it.
Further back still, the rear suspension is mildly tweaked again: it’s “very RS-ish”, Preuninger has said. There are helper springs at the back, which allow the main springs to be lighter, and dampers are retuned all round and said to make the GT3 both ride better on the road yet be more taut on a circuit than before when you plonk them into firm mode. There’s still active rear steer.
At the very back is a new rear bumper, made from the same weight-saving material as the front one, while the rear spoiler is the same as before but mounted 20mm further back and 10mm higher. Combined with some new underbody aerodynamic tweaks, it improves downforce by 20 percent while not affecting drag at all.
And under all this is, of course, the engine. It’s a 4.0-litre rather than a 3.8, and it now makes 493bhp (a round 500hp), but don’t think it’s just the 4.0 GT3 RS or 911 R engine bolted into a GT3.
If anything, it’s all but identical to the latest 911 Cup car’s engine. There is a different crankshaft, with bigger seals, it’s stiffer and it has oil channelling through it. There are new pistons, with different liners and an ever more slippery coating on them.
And, reputedly most significant, there are no longer hydraulic valve adjusters inside a new head design, which reduces the oil pressure you need to lubricate them.
Apparently, new materials used mean that the valves won’t go out of adjustment even if you run one on a dyno, as Porsche has, for 200,000 miles, so they say.
The upshot of all of that is that this engine spins more freely, to a rev limit of 9000rpm, higher even than the GT3 RS and R could. Which sounds rather promising. Peak power comes in at 8250rpm; torque, and only 339lb ft of it, at 6000rpm.
So you’re going to have to work to get it, which you can do via the medium of a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch gearbox or, wonderfully again, the biggest, baddest, shockingest and greatest news of all: the GT3 has again become available with a manual gearbox. Woohoo. Anyway, naturally, this test car is an automatic. No, I don’t know, either, but there you are.
Still, beyond a 10kg difference between the two – the manual car is lighter – the other difference is that the PDK requires a hydraulic pump, which also drives an electronically controlled limited-slip differential. The manual gearbox does without the pump and therefore gets a conventional mechanical limited-slip differential. Given its near-instant shift times and the advantages of wheel slip being electronically monitored, a PDK-equipped car will be faster on a circuit and a manual one will be arguably more fun – a bit more liberal, loose and content to let things slide.