While many eyes are currently focused on the new premier Hypercar category of the WEC and IMSA championships, which promises a great show for 2023, the more modest GT3s are also at the dawn of a small revolution. A new regulation will allow them to participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans from 2024. Porsche and Ferrari have been able to shine in recent years in several GT categories, the first with the 911 GT3 R and 911 RSR type 991, the second with the 488 GT3 and 488 GTE. The announcement of the next sporting rules follows the recent launch of the 911 GT3 type 992 and 296 GTB on the road. The cards are shuffled; Porsche and Ferrari unveil their respective assets one day apart.
GT3 R, a 911 above all
The new Porsche 911 GT3 R pushes further the development of the 992 generation, after the road GT3 and the one-design championship GT3 Cup. The displacement of its atmospheric flat-six has increased from 4 L to 4.2 L, as on the latest RSR to date, but unlike the latter, the newcomer remains faithful to a rear overhang layout. A six-speed sequential dog gearbox is responsible for transmitting 565 hp to the rear wheels, a power increase of 15 hp compared to the previous GT3 R, combined with a wider usable rev range according to the manufacturer. The regulatory balance of performance (BoP) aims to balance the cars on the grid; this additional reserve of power offers greater freedom of adaptation to the teams which can also play on the weight or the aerodynamics when adjusting the car.
Among other improvements, Porsche also announces better downforce without increasing drag thanks to a revised flat bottom and a gooseneck-mounted rear wing. The aluminum and steel alloy body is clad in a carbon body. Porsche has opted for a double wishbone suspension at the front, multi-link at the rear. In addition, the wheelbase has been lengthened by 8 mm and the driver’s seat refocused compared to the previous generation. The latter had won at Spa-Francorchamps, Sebring or Daytona among other prestigious events; customers therefore expect the best from the new model. This is displayed at the base price of €511,000 excluding VAT. And it could give some clues as to the specifications of the next road-going Porsche 911 GT3 RS, announced for August 17, 2022.
296 GT3, racing thoroughbred
Read also: Ferrari 296 GTB test: no V8, hybrid, but what a foot!
The Ferrari 296 GT3 is less close to the road model than its German rival, starting with its engine since it is 100% thermal while the GTB is rechargeable hybrid. Its 3L V6 turbocharged open at 120° develops 600 hp. It is positioned further forward than on the GTB, and associated with a six-speed sequential gearbox installed transversely to which the alternator is attached. The aluminum chassis of the GT3 is specific to it and the wheelbase of the car is slightly longer than that of the GTB. Ferrari announces increased rigidity of 10% compared to the 488 GT3. The coupe is equipped with a double wishbone suspension on all four corners. The new multifunction steering wheel incorporates certain functions used by the Scuderia in F1.
The 296 GTB is Ferrari’s first road-going six-cylinder (the 1960s-1970s Dinos were not Ferrari-badged); the GT3 follows in the footsteps of the V6-powered 246 SP racing car which, more than 60 years ago, was the brand’s first car with a center-rear unit. It will make its debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona in January 2023. Its development could serve that of a radical version of the 296 road in line with the 458 Speciale and 488 Pista.