Andreas Preuninger, the head of Porsche’s GT division, owns a 2012 Ram 1500 long-box. He mostly uses it to haul his motorcycles. It apparently won’t fit in his parking spot at work. It’s a far cry from the lightweight, track-focused 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 RS that was revealed this month at the Geneva Motor Show, though both vehicles were built for a specific purpose.
Porsche followed the GT3 RS reveal in Geneva with the reveal of the Weissach Package at the 2018 New York Auto Show. The latter is an $18,000 weight-loss program that replaces parts like the roof and some suspension components with carbon fiber. The total weight savings could also be gained by spending some time at the gym, but Porsche expects the take rate to be as high as 90 percent. (A savvy collector might be better off not checking the box, making their car a rare one. The could even spend the cash on something more practical.)
But it’s not just about what makes sense financially. It’s about building the best, most track-focused 911 that Porsche can design. The GT3 RS is a tool, and the more refined that tool is, the better it will perform.
Porsche is here to cater to its customer’s needs. If 90 percent of them are willing to shell out the money to shave a few pounds, Porsche is happy to oblige. The same thing can be said of the manual transmission. Customers wanted a three-pedal setup in the GT3, so Porsche delivered. Since the 991.2 generation GT3 went on sale, two-thirds of customers opted for a manual.
We asked Preuninger about the future of the GT3, specifically about electrification and the continued use of naturally aspirated engines. The GT3 is the only Porsche left that doesn’t use a turbocharger. It’s 4.0-liter flat-six makes 520 very healthy horsepower (Preuninger says that’s a summer in Death Valley rating. In moderate climates the car makes a bit more).
The average GT3 customer is in their mid-50s. These are people that grew up worshiping the original air-cooled cars. They want a pure, unadulterated driving experience. That means no turbos and no hybrid systems. Preuninger isn’t ruling either out in the future, but until customers demand it, there isn’t much incentive to change. He believes the GT3 can improve and live on for a while without downsizing or adopting electrification. We wonder what he thinks of the mild-hybrid system on the new 2019 Ram 1500.