In just a few weeks’ time, the refreshed Porsche 911 GT3 RS will be unveiled at Geneva. Its 4.0-liter naturally aspirated flat-six is slated to receive a power boost from 500 hp to around 520 hp. Aside from the GT3 and GT3 Touring Package, the rest of today’s 911 lineup is turbocharged. Question is, how much longer can this NA engine survive given increasing government-imposed fuel regulation standards? Australia’s Drive sat down with Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Porsche’s head of GT motorsport and GT road cars, and the subject came up.
First off, Walliser made it clear, once again, the 911’s engine will remain where it is, “in the right place…it’s in the back.” There were some previous rumors Porsche was considering switching the 911 to a mid-engine setup, but we really never believed that. Now, given the current 991.2 911 has been turbocharged, save for the aforementioned variants, what are the NA flat-six’s long-term chances? “I would like to continue with it – it makes the car unique, it’s still a light engine,” Walliser said. “A normally aspirated engine still fits a sports car. You cannot achieve the same with a turbocharged engine.” That’s all fine and good, but is Porsche committed to non-turbos? “As long as we can do it, we will do it.”
Another issue that’ll likely satisfy those 911 purists is the status of the six-speed manual transmission. According to Walliser, the 911 GT’s manual “matches very well” with the 9,000 rpm engine. In fact, 50 percent of US buyers, or one in four GT3s built for the rest of the world, opted for the manual over the PDK. Along with the refreshed 911 GT3 RS, we’ll also be seeing its engine in yet another Porsche high-performance machine, the new 718 Cayman GT4. It too will be making its debut appearance next month.