So how do you follow the Porsche GT3 without disappointing? More power, more focus, more aggression – a GT3 RS perhaps – um, not exactly. Rather, in all its wisdom, Porsche has opted for a more reserved offshoot of the 991.2 GT3, unveiling the Porsche GT3 Touring at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show. The new car rekindles the basic philosophy behind the 911R and will go to market with a £111,802 price tag, the same as the current GT3.
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The differences between the Touring (a no-cost option package) and the normal car are few and far between. Chief of them is the absence of a fixed rear wing (a feature on all GT3s until now), thus the Touring cuts a cleaner, svelter figure, projecting its motorsport origins less conspicuously. In a similar fashion to the 911R and 911 Carreras the GT3 Touring has a retractable spoiler that deploys automatically, above which sits a new mesh grille branded with a GT3 Touring plaque.
Like the 911R, the exterior is largely assembled from the GT3 parts rack – the flared body, rear bumper and 20-inch forged wheels are all carried over. Underneath the Touring is as per the GT3, sharing the same atmospheric flat-six that revs to a 9000rpm redline, making 493bhp and 347lb ft of torque on the way there. The 4-litre unit drives exclusively through a six speed manual ‘box – there’s no twin clutch option for the Touring.
Without the snappier changes of PDK the Touring’s 0-62mph sprint time of 3.9sec is 0.4sec slower than the twin-clutch equipped GT3, but on a par with the three-pedal regular GT3. Incidentally the Touring’s top speed of 196mph, 2mph slower than the manual GT3, is surprising as without the rear spoiler one might have thought the Touring would have less drag.
The rear-wheel steering system is retained for increased agility and stability, so too is the torque vectoring limited-slip differential. The adaptive chassis with the adaptive dampers of the GT3 is utilised hence the Touring rests 25mm lower than the basic 911 Carrera.
Inside the Touring is more civilised than the ‘normal’ GT3 – there’s no roll cage or swathes of Alcantara – and the seats are finished in leather with fabric centres. There are, still, no rear seats despite what the rumours might suggest.
If that all sounds a little too sensible for you, then don’t despair; the Touring can be equipped with every option that’s available on the regular GT3 bar the PDK transmission, Alcantara trim and the Club Sport package – so no rollcage. Still, if you want a front axle lift system, bucket seats, lairy seat belts, carbon-ceramic brakes or Sport Chrono, Porsche will happily oblige and fit it to the GT3 Touring for you.
With more subtle looks, a manual gearbox as well as the proven chassis and engine from the current GT3, the Touring will undoubtedly please all those Porsche customers who couldn’t get their hands on a 911R. What’s more, the GT3 Touring isn’t a limited edition model, but that’s not to say it will be easy to get hold of one.
Why is Porsche selling the Touring Pack, and why should you buy one?
The decision to produce a Touring Pack option for the 911 GT3 was made some 15 months ago between Vice President, Motorsport and GT road car development Dr Frank Walliser and head of GT cars Andreas Preuninger; “We were in the kitchen at our office and AP said we had to do something with the GT3. The customers wanted it,” explained Walliser on the eve of the Frankfurt Motor Show.
“We know that for a number of our customers that the standard GT3 is too much. Not in terms of performance, but in how it looks. They can’t be seen driving such an extravagant car. But they don’t want to give up their GT3. The Touring Pack is for them.”
By opting for the Touring Pack GT3 customers are doing more than ticking a rear wing delete option. The removal of the fixed rear wing and relying on the retractable wing of the regular 911 Carrera and the small, additional Gurney flap on the trailing edge of the engine cover, means the car’s aero is changed significantly. It has resulted in a shorter front splitter being fitted and beneath the engine and behind the rear bumper there is a bespoke rear diffuser, although this differs compared to the one fitted to the 911 R.
As a result of the aero changes there is less downforce produced, but there’s less drag too, with Touring Pack equipped GT3s quicker than a manual GT3 with the standard body. Cars fitted with the Touring Pack also require their ECUs to be reworked and this requires GT3s ordered with the Touring Pack to have a different wiring loom fitted. It’s one reason why existing GT3s can’t be retro-fitted with the Touring Pack.
How many GT3 customers will order their car with the Touring Pack option? Walliser expects it to be in the region of 20 per cent of all GT3 customers, although he’s expecting very few customers who have already ordered a standard GT3 to ask to have the Touring Pack option added to their car.