While many eyes are currently focused on the new main Hypercar category of the WEC and IMSA championships, which promises a big 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 various 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 upcoming 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 present their respective assets within a day of each other.
GT3 R, a 911 above all
The new Porsche 911 GT3 R further drives the development of the 992 generation, after the GT3 road racer and the one-design GT3 Cup championship. The displacement of its naturally aspirated six-cylinder has increased from 4 L to 4.2 L, as in the last RSR to date, but unlike the latter, the newcomer stays true to a rear overhang design. 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 teams that can also play with weight or aerodynamics when tuning the car.
Among other improvements, Porsche also advertises better downforce without increasing drag thanks to a revised flat bottom and gooseneck-mounted rear wing. The aluminum and steel alloy body is lined with a carbon body. Porsche has opted for a double-wishbone suspension at the front and multi-link at the rear. In addition, the wheelbase has been lengthened by 8mm and the driver’s seat has been reoriented compared to the previous generation. The latter had won at Spa-Francorchamps, Sebring or Daytona among other prestigious events; therefore, customers expect the best from the new model. This is shown at the base price of €511,000 excluding VAT. And it could give some clues about the specifications of the next road-going Porsche 911 GT3 RS, announced for August 17, 2022.
296 GT3, thoroughbred racing
Also read: Ferrari 296 GTB test: no V8, hybrid, but what a foot!
The Ferrari 296 GT3 is less close to the street model than its German rival, starting with its engine since it is 100% thermal while the GTB is a rechargeable hybrid. Its 120° open turbocharged 3L V6 develops 600 hp. It is positioned further forward than on the GTB and mated to a transversely mounted six-speed sequential gearbox. to which the alternator is attached. The GT3’s aluminum chassis is specific to it and the car’s wheelbase is slightly longer than the GTB’s. Ferrari advertises a 10% increase in stiffness compared to the 488 GT3. The coupe is equipped with double wishbone suspension at 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 (1960s and 1970s Dinos didn’t have the Ferrari badge); the GT3 follows in the footsteps of the V6-powered 246 SP race car which, more than 60 years ago, was the marque’s first car with a rear mid-drive. It will make its debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona in January 2023. Its development could serve as a radical version of the 296 road car along the lines of the 458 Speciale and the 488 Pista.