The new 911 GT3 RS 4.0 is Porsche's ultimate street-legal track racer and a fitting farewell to the current 911 series, codenamed 997, which will soon be replaced by an all-new model set to be unwrapped at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show in September. There’s a lot to like about the new GT3 RS including the fact that it is fitted with the largest engine ever to be mounted on a factory-approved 911; a 4.0-liter naturally aspirated flat-six unit that develops 500 horsepower at 8,250 rpm, 50 horses more than the standard GT3 RS. It is also the most powerful 911 naturally aspirated engine with 125 horsepower per liter. The engine carries the crankshaft from the 911 GT3 RSR racing car, while the forged pistons' connecting rods are made from titanium.
The impressive output and peak torque of 460 Nm (339 lb-ft) at 5,750 rpm help the sports car achieve stunning performance, such as the Nürburgring-Nordschleife lap time of 7 minutes 27 seconds, 1.7 seconds faster than the Carrera GT and 6 seconds faster than the GT3 RS. Power is transferred to the rear wheels via a six-speed sports transmission with gearing designed for the circuit. Porsche says the car sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds and to 200 km/h (124 mph) in under 12 seconds.
The 911 GT3 RS 4.0 uses motor racing suspension components and weight-saving materials such as carbon fiber for the bonnet and front wings, plastic for the rear windows, light bucket seats and even weight-optimized carpets. As a result, the car tips the scales at just 1,360 kilograms (2,998 lbs) with a full tank of fuel. The power-to-weight ratio is an amazing 2.72 kg/hp, as very few production cars drop under the threshold of 3 kilograms per horsepower.
On the outside, the 911 GT3 RS 4.0 is finished in white as standard and comes with optional “RS 4.0” decals. It is also distinguished by the wide track and low stance, a large rear wing with adapted side plates and central twin tailpipes. The front bumper sports lateral air deflection vanes, which make their appearance for the first time on a production Porsche. They increase downforce on the front axle and in combination with the rear wing push the car onto the road with an additional 190 kg (426 lbs) of aerodynamic force at top speed.
The car will launch in Germany in July 2011 with a starting price of €178,596, taxes included. In the U.S., the 911 GT3 RS 4.0 will cost $185,000 (excluding destination charges) and will go on sale in late 2011. Production will be limited to just 600 units worldwide.
By Dan Mihalascu