The similarities between the Porsche 911 R and the new GT3 Touring Pack are no coincidence.
Porsche seemingly answered the prayers or purists everywhere with the launch of the new 911 GT3 Touring Package. It offers all the benefits and none of the drawbacks of the limited 911 R. Like the 911 R, it's only available with a six-speed manual gearbox and comes powered by a 4.0-liter naturally aspirated flat six rated at 493 hp, resulting in a 0-62 mph time of 3.9 seconds and a 196 mph top speed. Unlike the 911 R, the GT3 Touring Package is not a limited production model, which means you won't see it being sold with insane asking prices.
There was a time when used Porsche 911 Rs commanded price tags of over $1 million which was over four times the original $184,000 MSRP. Unsurprisingly, Porsche wasn't happy seeing people profiting on the 911 R's rarity. "We did not expect this, let me say, crazy reaction concerning used car prices," 911 boss August Achleitner told Road and Track in a recent interview. "Because some people are making only money with the car. We don't like that. If [the GT3 Touring Package] helps keep the prices a little bit lower for the average customer of our cars, it's better," he added. "Of course, there are some specific customers who are a little bit disappointed, but it's ok, we can live with this."
The similarities between the 911 R and GT3 Touring Package are no coincidence, but there are still some crucial differences. The 911 R's fenders and hood are made of carbon fiber, while the roof is made of magnesium to save extra weight. The GT3 doesn't feature these attributes, but its potent 4.0-liter flat-six produces the same power as the more expensive 911 R, and revs up to 9000 rpm. However, Achleitner admits that the two cars are undeniably "similar." He also compares the limited 911 R to the new entry-level 911 Carrera T. "I had the first idea to form such a base 911 about two years ago during the last Rennsport Reunion," he said.
"I had some discussions and talks with fans and journalists, American journalists, and they mentioned such a base 911 would be nice, and I took this idea with me." Achleitner wanted to apply the same thinking behind high-end models like the GTS, GT3 and GT2 RS and apply it to a base car, which resulted in a 7-speed manual with shorter gearing, thinner glass, less sound deadening and standard Sport suspension. "This is not a collector's car. This is a car to drive," Achleitner said, a point that's made abundantly clear when you look at press photos for the Carrera T that show it being driven to its limits on heavenly mountain roads.
In other words, it's not a car designed to sit in a garage appreciating in value which makes it better than the 911 R from Achleitner's viewpoint. "If I had a 911 R, I would keep it in the garage because I wouldn't have the courage to drive it," he said. "Everybody has a look at this car and says, 'Oh this is 400,000 Euros, don't touch it,' or something like this. So, I would be more happy with a 911 T."