Porsche uses the 911 GT3’s 3.6-liter six to homologate the engines it develops for racing, so it is beneficiary of a mouthwatering menu of technology. It’s all about getting weight out of the reciprocating components and making it breathe better. A total of 7.7 lb was removed from the engine, which turns so smoothly that no vibration dampers are needed on the crank, saving about 5 lb more. The intake and exhaust cams were tuned to a sharper edge, and a new tappet design contributes to more rapid valve opening and higher valve lift, essential components of a deep-lunged engine. Version ME 7.8 of Porsche’s engine management system ensures efficient, clean running.
The GT3’s gearbox is a six-speed manual transmission, blessed with delightfully short and precise shift throws, revised synchro rings (out of steel instead of brass) and splash oil lubrication and external fluid cooling (similar to Porsche racing practice). The track layout was ideal for exploring the car’s strengths-which are many but begin with the new, optional ceramic composite brakes. They’re 50% lighter than the standard system, reducing unsprung weight by almost 40 lb. The cross-drilled, inner vented ceramic rotors are immune to corrosion, are virtually fade-free and their hardness means an extended service life. On that day at the track, they were simply awesome, especially when setting up for the acute, second-gear right-hander just after the long, 150-mph front straight. It took a couple of laps to for me to "get" it; at first I was stabbing them much too hard and too early, but soon I learned how deep they could take me into a corner with smooth and steady application of the pedal.