So here it is then, the worst kept secret in the Porsche world: the 991 series GT3 made it's world debut @ Geneva 2013, and despite sharing floor space & column inches with an unprecedented amount of high profile world debuts the hotly anticipated hardcore 991 held it's own drawing, huge crowds all day long.
How hardcore? We can't wait to get behind the wheel and find out, but in the meantime here's a few vital statistics: 468bhp from a 9000rpm(!) 3.8 litre evolution of the current 991 DI engine, mandatory 7 spd PDK (controversially there is no manual option), 0-62mph despatched in 3.5secs. Beautiful (and doubtless super light) 20" centre lock wheels shield 380mm carbon ceramic disks and 6 piston calipers, so it should go and stop just as well as the visuals promise.
And the visuals promise much. Following the template of the previous GT3 (if it aint broken...) the 991 GT3 has huge air grabbing vents up front, a deep front splitter and the bonnet edge air vent first seen on the 997 GT3. The rear wing sits atop posts with the same '3.8' decal as the 997 gen GT3 - is that a hint at future larger engined variants? Vents behind the arches aid brake cooling whilst the twin central exhausts separate the GT3 from the standard 991. Sitting 44mm wider at rear, the 991GT3 nails that typically hunkered down stance, and especially in the show cars white looks ready for a few sponsor stickers before heading to the track for a weekend of racing...
At which it would no doubt be super competitive. Augmenting all of the technical aspects above (and a real curveball - nobody saw this one coming) is a new rear wheel steering system designed to aid low speed turn in with toe out, and high speed stability with toe in. As with the 911, it seems that every iteration of the GT3 family pushes that bit further and brings a new level of dynamic excellence to the class.
The expulsion of the manual box will split the opinion of many enthusiasts, but if you're going to go automatic then at least we've got the best in the business with PDK. And - hallelujah - the logic of the sequential shifter has been changed to the more natural pull to change up, push to change down. Shift paddles operate with a shorter, more positive action whilst pulling both simultaneously allows selection of neutral. The 'creep' programmed into the standard system has been removed. Fundamentally the philosophy shifts to true paddle-operate manual instead of mimicking a conventional auto as with standard PDK.
The stats of 0-62mph 3.5secs, 0-124mph 'under 12secs' and top speed of 196mph tell only part of the story, for the GT3 has always been focused more on track performance & driver satisfaction. Given the excellence of the 991, there's every chance the GT3 will sweep all before it, and despite a price tag now into 6 figures (£100,540 to be precise) it still seems good value in the super sportscar market.