Production: 1999-2001 | Generation: 996 | Units built: 1,868
Engine: 3.6L Water Cooled Flat-6 | Power: 355 hp | 0 – 60 mph: 4.7 s | Top Speed: 187.7 mph
The GT3 we love today all started in 1999 with the 996 model GT3 and it all started because Porsche wanted to enter the GT3 class of the FIA. Porsche began investing in developing both the race car and the road-going version which was required by GT class homologation rules and the GT3 was the result. The GT3 became the 996’s range-topping model until until a new GT2 was launched.
Based on the 996 Carrera, the 996 GT3 was a really a track focused sports car that was lighter, sharper and more potent than its everyday sports model siblings. To help in the performance stakes, the GT3 the water-cooled flat six was loosely based on the GT1 and got a dry-sump crankcase with an external oil tank making it more powerful and higher revving. Gone were the rear seats, sunroof, air conditioning, radio and a boatload of sound deadening.
Major design changes included a more aggressive front end with larger headlamps shared with the Boxster, a sleeker body, and a more raked windshield. Design and aerodynamic features exclusive to the GT3 included slimmer air vents for the front bumper, a front splitter, new side skirts, a revised rear bumper, new wheels, and massive rear wing.
The GT3 quickly became the choice for drivers because of its remarkably sharp throttle response, better steering, steady balance, and amazing engine. While a Turbo had it beat for outright speed, this was the ultimate drivers Porsche. Its lighter body and race tuned suspension tuning also made it a perfect machine for attacking weekend drivers who wanted a track car.
If you are in the U.S you may at this point wonder, why you can’t find any GT3s from the era for sale. Porsche did not bring the GT3 to the United States until 2004 (find the 996.2 model later on).