New 911 GT3 Cup Car: Porsche Is Taking Orders

2011 Porsche GT3 Cup

I like Grand Touring (GT) racing, because it puts a real premium on car design and driver skill. And the cars are all production-derived. For some years, the worldwide standout has been Porsche’s 911 GT3, and the 2011 racing version, called the Cup Car, will be no different.

It is the latest edition of what Porsche claims is the best-selling race car of all time (1,400 GT3 units sold since 1998). The GT3 RS just picked up the prestigious Autocar magazine’s award for Best Driver’s Car for 2010, beating out the Noble M600 and the Ferrari 458 Italia.

The Cup Car has compiled an incredible record. It has won all kinds of championships, including the 2010 GT2 class at Le Mans. The 2011 version, to come early next year, is still based on the 911 GT3 RS road car, but features much-reduced weight, a wider track, better aerodynamics, and some very neat driver features and controls.

You can see these after the break in a great driving video (the best I’ve seen of true sports-car driving) of the Cup Car at Silverstone in the U.K.

The 2011 car has a slightly increased engine capacity (by 0.2 liters), to give it 450 hp and, as Motor Ward tells us,

drives the rear wheels through a sequential six-speed manual gearbox and limited slip differential. Since as the Cup is 170 Kg lighter than the RS, it offers even sharper performance on the track.

The new Cup Car has larger wheels than the prior version all around, plus more downforce, front and rear. Inside, as the video shows, the driver has an array of six switches on the steering wheel, plus an “Info Display” and shift lights on the dash.

How does this car compare to the top-of-the-line Turbo? Autoweek editors had their say here: interesting, except for Natalie Neff’s loony comments. The Turbo, we conclude, is the ultimate road car. But the GT3 Cup Car is truly something else.

Okay, you have $175,000 in your pocket. Would you buy the Cup Car or the GT3 RS road car or the Turbo (at $25K less)?

—jgoods

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