TRACK TOY: Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (991)

Dedicated track toys are an interesting thing. First, a track toy says something about your wallet — as in you have enough disposable income that you own a car which is essentially useless for getting groceries home or ferrying the kids to school. However, that is what is so cool about track toys, they only have one purpose: speed. In this installment of Track Toys, we look at a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, referred to by Porsche nerds as the 991. This is the epitome of a factory production racing car.

When it comes to a pure track car from a factory, nothing really compares to the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. This things oozes speed just sitting in the garage.

I stumbled upon this particular track toy specimen at Buttonwillow Raceway in Central California during a Speed District track day. It got my attention when it went by me at ludicrous-speed along the front straight. After the session, I found the Porsche taking it easy in the shade along with its owner, Ross Murray. The car was fabulously covered in race rubber and dead bugs, which meant this car was clearly driven hard just as it was designed to be by Porsche. Ross said he purchased the car to race it in the Pirelli Trophy West USA series. The door-to-door racing series has a specific class for the GT3 Cup car and an eight-race calendar for the 2018 season.

The front bumper of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup has a slick fold in tow hook. This is a nice design as it allows for easy access to the tow hook, but also allows you to bump draft without damaging your tow hook, or the back of a fellow competitor’s car. If anyone is actually inclined to bump draft a $213,000+ track car, well, that is a different discussion.

The GT3 Cup is powered by a 3.8-liter, six-cylinder engine putting out 460 horsepower at 7,500 rpm. It is rear-drive through a six-speed, dog-type gearbox with mechanical limited-slip. Shifting is completed via paddles near the steering wheel.

Grabbing gears on this track toy is done via the paddles beyond the steering wheel. Driver radio, wiper on/off, and other amenities are all controlled with a touch of a button on the wheel.

The GT3 Cup car is built on the same factory floor as the road going GT3s in Germany. Engineers were able to slice out over 600 pounds from the car getting the weight down to 1,175 kilograms -which means absolutely nothing to us Americans. To translate metric, it means this GT3 Cup car weighs a mere 2,590 pounds. The combination of 460 horses and 2,590 pounds is a fantastic power-to-weight ratio which means this car will fly down the track.

When you open the carbon-fiber driver’s door, you are startled by its insane lightness. It feels like you might rip it right off the hinges. Electric windows? Nope, these windows don’t roll down, so ordering at Taco Bell will be a challenge.

The race department for Porsche is in Weissach, Germany, where the real magic for the suspension modifications occurred to ensure more stability at high speeds on the GT3 Cup. Factory racing/test drivers put thousands of miles on these cars as they are designed to make sure they are perfect for their racing customers. Porsche Motorsports redesigned the single-piece, 18-inch race rims with central locking hubs. The width of the racing slicks at the front axle measures 27 centimeters, and at the rear axle 31 centimeters.

To remove a wheel it is a single lug nut to make pit stops super fast. No, you will not find the correct socket for this in the tool section at Sear’s.

Because this thing is a pure racecar, it arrives from the factory with the ability to tune it for specific track needs. It comes with blade-style anti-roll bars that can be made stiffer or softer with a simple twist of the blade. Ride height is adjustable as well as camber and track width. It also comes with brake-bias adjustment. All this means is you can make the car faster, or you can screw it up. Choose your own adventure.

Every Porsche 911 GT3 Cup comes free with air jacks (don’t kid yourself, nothing is free). But, think of all the money you will save on jack stands. Simply plug an air line into this port and “boom” the car is up in the air.

Once you use the air jacks to get this car in the air, you can easily remove your wheels (one lug per wheel) and inspect your brakes. This track toy comes with 380 millimeter, multi-piece brake discs, clamped by six–piston, aluminum, monobloc-design racing calipers. No fancy carbon-metallic rotors here. This is an actual racecar with easy to replace and maintain brake parts. Brakes are vented and cooled through air ducts.

The safety roll cage is factory-installed and meticulously welded into the chassis back in Germany. The fabrication on this cage is second to none.

Engineers gave driver safety a high priority in the development of the 911 GT3 Cup car. Drivers are protected by a factory-installed safety cage and race seat, specially molded around the head and shoulders and individually adjustable with the help of a padding system. A rescue hatch in the roof provides easy access for medical attention and for the extrication of the driver. This is a part of the car nobody ever wants to have to use.

What racecar would be complete without hood pins? This pricey 911 GT3 Cup is no exception. I think I saw a set of these exact hood pins at O’Reilly Auto Parts for $15.

There isn’t much under the front bonnet of this track toy as the powerplant and drivetrain is all in the rear. However, if you are looking for the fuel door on this car, look no further, as it is under the hood. This bad boy can run on simple super unleaded pump gas.

On the front cowl, driver’s side, is the emergency kill switch accessible from outside the car by emergency course workers.

Every detail of this track toy is pure racecar. It comes from the factory meeting all of the general club codes and racing regulations of most sanctioning bodies: roll cage, cut-off switch, racing seat, hood pins, you name it. This car is ready to race, all you need to do is find out where you want to run it. For all of this supercar, race wizardry the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (991) will set you back a minimum of 213,000 clams. Not an easy lift for any track rat, but just like the ad campaign said back in the ’80s, “Porsche. There is no substitute.”

About the author

Rob Krider

Rob Krider’s mantra is “Race Anything, Win Everything” and is a multi-champion driver who currently competes in the NASA Honda Challenge series.
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