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Doppelkupplung for next GT3

2011-02-09 07:56

DOPPELGÄNGER?: Never thought Porsche’s GT3 road-racer would revert from three- to two-pedal configuration, now did you? Well, the new 911 range (débuting at the Frankfurt auto show later this year) is set to change all that.

Porsche’s 911 is the most successful sports car of all time.

From its record sales, to its longevity and unparalleled circuit racing pedigree, Porsche’s 911 remains the quintessential performance car.

In fact, so popular is the 911 that Porsche manages to market an amazingly bloated range in excess of 20 derivatives.

Imagine Ferrari producing a range of 20 different 458s, it would be quite ridiculous, but the 911's popularity (and engineering integrity) manages to absorb all the odd ideas Porsche's marketing department attempts to visit upon it.

One salient feature of the 911 range has always been the hallowed status of its GT3 models. No forced-induction. Minimal sound-deadening materials. Outrageous aerodynamic aids enhancing the styling presence.

These are all signature engineering characteristics of the 911 GT3. Oh yes, and absolutely no two-pedal transmission solutions; 911 GT3s are all controlled with an old-fashioned six-speed h-gate manual.


Well, with the new 911 due soon(ish) and a third-generation GT3 following in 2013, the rumour mill from Germany indicates that the heel-and-toe downshifting that so endeared the GT3 to demanding drivers may become a thing of the past.

Porsche’s PDK dual-clutch transmission has become increasingly popular (in fact, most dealers encourage customers to tick the PDK option in the interest of transmission longevity and driving convenience) and it appears the 991-series GT3 will become a two-pedal supercar only.

Porschephiles who fear the GT3 will become contaminated and compromised by series production Carrera technology will be relieved to know that the dual-clutch transmission being prepared for GT3 will be a PDK-S version of Porsche’s doppelkupplung - featuring circuit-tested shift technology.

Paired with the new PDK-S transmission will be Porsche’s direct-injection flat-six engine, codenamed 9A1. Projected to power up to 353kW, the GT3’s 9A1 engine will not be burdened by efficiency enhancing technologies such as stop/start or hybridisation, set to proliferate amongst the 911 Carrera range in future.

If the idea of a dual-clutch 911 GT3 is unconscionable to you, Porsche is also rumoured to be preparing a fitting send-off for the current GT3. Ostensibly carrying the GT3 RS limited edition nameplate, this GT3 will feature Zuffenhausen’s competition-specification 331kW 4-litre RSR flat-six engine, which currently does duty in 911 GT racers.

Sentimental 911 fans will note that this RSR-powered GT3 will be the last model powered by Porsche 964/GT1 block architecture, which traces its design lineage to the days when 911s were still air-cooled.

Traditionalists will question the justification of a PDK-equipped GT3. Trackday specialists though, will evaluate the merits of being able to keep both hands on the wheel all of the time, and regard the new PDK-S enhanced GT3 as a means to an end – shaving off those last few tenths of a second from their lap times.


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