The official Porsche magazine Christophorus has a terrific piece in their latest issue about the shakedown testing of the heavily-revised 2016 Porsche 911 GT3 R around the hot, humid Sebring racetrack in Florida. Dubbed ‘Black Magic,’ the article follows the Porsche customer racing team through a marathon 30-hour race test late in calendar 2015 — ahead of the car’s entry into numerous race series worldwide in 2016.
We’re excited to share the unpainted test car in its raw glory — but also some extra cool perspective on the 2016 GT3 R endurance racecar.
What is that? A few snaps of the latest GT3 street car at Daytona, plus a 20-pack of pics showing the new GT3 R as it was about to enter warmup laps for the 2016 Daytona 24-hour race last month.
In bright green chrome livery for Champion racing, we have a fairly rare high-res look at some of the new machine’s freshest elements: the aero package.
Up front, we see radical new fender vents with deep cuts into the front fenders. Newly deep hood aero slices are also visible in these photos, as are a pair of slim NACA intakes that appear a bit deeper than the 2015 GT3 R racer.
In truth, it is nearly impossible to visually distinguish the 2016 GT3 R from its 2015 predecessor — at least to our eyes. So much so… that now we are not sure this green dream is even a 2016, and not a continuation of the 2015 racer.
Are the the same, though?
Teraflops of data and hundreds of Porsche race analysts would beg to differ — and are working all-out to make the 2016 car a legendary race-winner!
Porsche 911 GT3 R – 2016 Daytona 24H – Quick Look
The new 911 GT3 R race car goes to Sebring for a final shakedown. A 30-hour endurance test on the former airfield in Florida confirms the car is ready to go for the 2016 season.
The 911 GT3 R is dressed completely in black. Not because Porsche has an official dress code for its new customer GT race cars, but for very practical reasons. “All of the carbon-fiber parts start off black and aren’t painted until after the test phase,” project director Sascha Pilz explains.
This black beast descended on Sebring International Raceway toward the end of summer, accompanied by a number of support trucks. The 911 GT3 R has already survived multiple ordeals, including component tests and test drives on various European racetracks and a heat trial in Italy. Now, on this iconic raceway in central Florida, the car faces its final exam: a 30hour endurance run, split into three 10-hour segments due to safety regulations at the site. The testing team described their plans as follows: “During the endurance run we will only be returning to the pit to refuel, change the tires, and switch drivers.”
This makes perfect sense, as the new race car will be competing in several 24-hour contests over the 2016 season and the idea is for it to win.
Data, data, and even more data
At the moment, the 911 GT3 R is still reclining on a platform under a tent in the pit. Without its hood and wheels, it looks more like a test lab on wheels than a race car. The bicep-like bars of its roll cage are nearly obscured by a colorful mass of wires. What might look like a heap of confetti, however, is a carefully connected assemblage to an array of electronic control modules. After all, the 911 GT3 R is not only supposed to complete its 10-hour tests, but also generate data, data, and even more data on a constant basis. Even its transverse links have been furnished with strain gauges, to gather information on stress levels and the associated effects.
Situated in swampland about 130 kilometers south of Orlando, Sebring evokes a romantic and specifically American air of racing. Originally an army airfield, it was converted into a challenging raceway in the late 1940s. The front straight, which was one of the runways, used to be separated from the bleachers by bales of hay. The course has been changed a number of times since, but still retains its original flair. The hay, by the way, has been replaced by concrete barriers.
The surface and curves are especially hard on tires and brakes
The 12 Hours of Sebring has been one of the highlights of the racing season since 1952. And Porsche is the greatest name in its annals. Back in the early days, small 550 Spyders competed against gigantic front-engine roadsters from Cunningham, Maserati, and Ferrari. They set the tone for what would become a tradition: with 18 overall victories, sports cars from
Zuffenhausen are by far the most successful make at Sebring. The most recent victory came in 2008, with Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas, and Emmanuel Collard at the wheel of an RS Spyder. So the 911 GT3 R could enjoy a home-field advantage, although the track remains as challenging as ever. Its combination of asphalt and concrete surfaces is considered especially rough on the suspension and brakes. And weather conditions in the late summer here about 60 kilometers from the Atlantic coast can bring their own cause for concern, such as a tornado or torrential downpour along with the subtropical heat.
2016 Porsche 911 GT3 R – Sebring Testing
Developing 368kW (500hp), the four-liter boxer engine of the 911 GT3 R is based on the current GT3 RS, i.e. on the fiercest naturally aspirated GT engine yet to be derived for the 911. The body shell starts off on the assembly line for roadgoing 911s at the plant in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, but is soon removed. After the roll cage is mounted, comprehensive finishing work is done by the motorsports department at the Weissach Development Center. The new powertrain with direct fuel injection is based on the 9A1 generation of the street-legal RS, and is also finished on the GT engine line in Zuffenhausen.