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Porsche celebrates 20 years of the Porsche 911 GT3

By Chris Thompson, 09 Aug 2019 News

Porsche 911 GT3 20 years celebration feature

Stuttgart’s naturally aspirated hero has made it to its 20th birthday

One of Porsche’s all-time greats has hit a milestone; the Porsche 911 GT3 is now 20 years old.

Having remained naturally aspirated and rear-drive since its first generation launched in 1999, the GT3 is often hailed as the ‘purist’ Porsche. It’s now the only proper production 911 badge (along with its RS brother) that hasn’t gone turbo. Yet.

Picture: 1999 Porsche 996 911 GT3

The recipe of a flat six, having since increased from 3.6-litre to 4.0, and risen in power greatly (the first had 265kW, the 991.2 has 368kW), combined with rear drive and (usually) a manual gearbox has even convinced Porsche that it’s “the most popular Porsche 911 among purists.”

Of course, Porsche draws strong links between the race cars which inspired the GT3 name and the road-going model itself, though the GT3 is the spiritual successor to the earlier 911 Carrera RS 2.7.

“For the first time, the model was not given the designation “RS” for Race Sport, but the name GT3 – a reference to the GT class in which the motorsport versions of the model were to compete.”

Five Greatest 911s: '73 911 Carrera RS 2.7

Picture: 2003 Porsche 996.2 911 GT3

Since the year 2000, Porsche 911 GT3 racers have won 7 times at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring, as well as having taken the titles at the 24 Hours of both Spa and Daytona in 2003, Spa again in 2010, and the most recent Bathurst 12 Hour.

“It is part of the recipe for success of the Porsche 911 GT3 that the experience and innovations from motorsport are always incorporated into the development of the next road version.”

Celebrating driver's cars: 911 GT3 Touring

Picture: 2006 Porsche 997 911 GT3

As such, Porsche says around 80 per cent of all 911 GT3s ever built are regularly driven on track.

And sometime, those track drives are undertaken by MOTOR Magazine. Notably, the Porsche 911 GT3 has won three times at Performance Car of the Year, if you include the RS. In 2007, the 997 took out the prize, before the 911 came back in 997.2 GT3 RS form and did it again in 2010.

Classic MOTOR: 2007 997 911 GT3 v 1958 356 Carrera GT

Picture: 2009 Porsche 997.2 911 GT3

Then, in 2016, the 991 911 GT3 grabbed the gong again only a year after its Turbo brother had the honour, and a year before the 991.2 Turbo S did so.

Of course, the 992 GT3 is yet to debut, so Porsche has confirmed essentially nothing about the next GT3. However, MOTOR’s European correspondent Georg Kacher originally reported in early 2018 that the 992 911 GT3 would be a 400kW, turbocharged supercar with a PDK gearbox.

MOTOR review: 991.2 911 GT3

Picture: 2013 Porsche 991 911 GT3

Since, it seems that insider info from Porsche proved to be hearsay, as a test mule which is widely believed to be the next GT3 has been spotted around Germany sounding very naturally aspirated.

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