2018 Porsche 911 GT3 with Touring PackageEnlarge Photo
Following a report from Motor last week suggesting the next-generation Porsche 911 GT3 would ditch its naturally aspirated flat-6 in favor of a turbocharged engine, Porsche’s head of GT motorsport and GT road cars, Frank-Steffen Walliser, offered a softly worded denial.
Speaking to Drive in Australia, Walliser said Porsche plans to hang on to naturally aspirated engines for as long as emission laws and regulations would allow it. However, he didn't flat-out deny the report altogether and said, "I would like to continue with it—it makes the car unique, it’s still a light engine," in regard to the next 911 GT3's choice of powertrain.
The Motor report pegs the next-generation 911 lineup to go all turbo, including the GT3. The car would ditch its 4.0-liter flat-6 for a turbocharged engine with an additional 50 horsepower, paired to an 8-speed PDK transmission. To offset any weight gains from the turbocharger setup, the next GT3 will allegedly incorporate more high-strength materials.
Walliser certainly seemed like a proponent for another naturally aspirated GT3 in his additional comments with Drive. He added that other turbocharged 911s may be faster, but enthusiasts still long for 911s sans forced induction.
"The uniqueness comes from the normally aspirated engine," he said. “As long as we can do it, we will do it."
He also seemed to back the manual transmission for the GT3, saying that it "matches very well" with the 9000 rpm engine, and that 50 percent of U.S. customers choose it and 25 percent of buyers in the rest of the world pick a manual.
Walliser also said the last car ever built would be a sports car (perhaps meaning for Porsche). “I know it more precise—it’s a GT3 manual,” he said.
That's music to the ears of purists.