Not changing a great deal over the years is an accusation often levelled at the Porsche 911 by its detractors, and it's fair to say the way it looks doesn't alter very much at all. However, what does change is the way this legendary sports car performs, and the latest 2018 version of the 911 GT3 really does appear to be a big step forward for the Porsche. Setting a new lap record for itself at the Nurburgring Nordschleife might be what we'd expect from a new version of such an iconic performance car, but knocking more than 12 seconds off its previous best is enough to make even the most seasoned observers sit up and take notice.
The latest 2018 911 GT3 celebrated making its debut on the legendary German track by clocking a lap time of 7 minutes 12.7 seconds, which is a stunning 12.3 seconds better than the best its predecessor managed.
What perhaps makes this achievement even more impressive is the fact although this is undoubtedly a track-bred car, it's not some hardcore race car with slick tires that's not designed for a daily driver. The new GT3 does make use of more pure racing technology than the previous GT3, but its power ratings are relatively modest when compared to the output of some rivals offering similar levels of performance.
The 2018 model has the same 4.0-liter 500 horsepower engine as its predecessor, which is the high-revving, non-turbo flat-six also seen in the 911 GT3 Cup race car. It's the way the Porsche handles the power that makes all the difference here though. The GT3 that was used to set the new lap time employs rear-axle steering, a seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) dual-clutch transmission, and Michelin Sport Cup 2 N1 tires, so that means it took to the track in its production specifications.
Andreas Preuninger, Porsche Director of the GT Product Line, said of the new car, "A few years ago, lap times like this could only ever be achieved by thoroughbred race cars with slick tires. The new GT3 achieves this with comparatively modest power, and is still fully suitable for everyday use."