This Porsche 996 GT3 R is being offered for sale by Coys of London. When it was launched in 1998, the Porsche Type 996 represented one of the most significant changes to the 911 model range in its (then) 35-year history. While all previous road-going 911 models had been powered by Porsche’s air-cooled six-cylinder engine, the 996 ushered in the model’s first water-cooled power plant. The standard road car was fitted with a 3.4-litre version of the new water-cooled engine.
Just one year later, the 996 GT3 model was introduced featuring a larger 3.6-litre engine, which developed 360bhp at 7200rpm, and gave this performance model a top speed of 188mph (302km/h). Porsche’s engineers were never far off developing a racing version of any of the 911 models throughout the company’s history, and as from late 1998 development work on a racing 996 GT3 model was already underway. The first hurdle to jump was to have the car ready for the Le Mans test weekend in May 1999, but by this time the model had already undergone many thousands of miles testing at Weissach and at Paul Ricard.
Known as the Porsche 996 GT3 R, it was this car on which much of Porsche’s GT racing future would hinge. The bodywork was lightened significantly compared with the production model and this included a carbon fibre rear engine cover and rear wing, front bonnet, front fenders, nose and doors. The side windows were made from Plexiglas as was the rear windscreen. The front nose section contained additional air inlets for engine and brake cooling. A steel roll cage was welded into the body and the GT3 R was then fitted with an air-jack system, fire extinguisher and racing seat with safety harness.
The suspension was similar to the production car in principle, but with variable springs, adjustable shocks, anti-roll bars and spherical joints. The car could be set up precisely for each track. Large brake discs (standard specifications: 350mm front and 330mm rear) were fitted but ABS brakes were not permitted within the rules.
The 3.6-litre engine (Type M96/77) developed 410bhp at 8200rpm when fitted with a 43.1mm air restrictor plate, thereby meeting class regulations. The engine was fitted with a Bosch Motronic 3.1 engine management system. Other engine modifications included titanium conrods and valves, a racing exhaust system, as well as a dry-sump lubrication with an oil-water heat exchanger. A 6-speed Type G96/91 gearbox was installed.
Two of these cars were entered in the 1999 Le Mans 24 Hours, the first was entered by Manthey Racing (#81) and finished in thirteenth place overall, while the other under the name of Champion Racing (#80), finished nineteenth.
Our feature car, thePorsche 996 GT3 R with chassis WPOZZZ99ZYS692090, was manufactured in 2000 (a total of 66 of these cars were manufactured that year) and it saw action in two Belcar events with Team M1 Club-Renstal Excelsion in 2000. In June that year, ‘692090’ was entered in the 24 Hours of Le Mans where it was driven by Philippe Verellen, Rudi Penders and Kurt Dujardyn. Starting from 46th place on the grid, the Belgian trio of drivers brought the car home in 24th place overall and fifth in the GT class.
Between 2001 and 2003, ‘692090’ remained under RTM Belcar control before changing hands to S&P Racing Belcar (run by FG Motorsport Services). After a rebuild in 2007 for the Dunlop Maxx Endurance series the car was rented to McDonalds Racing for the 2008 and 2009 series. In 2010 McDonalds Racing bought the car and upgraded the body to a 997 shape, but all 996 body parts were retained with the car. Today the car is powered by a 3.9-litre 2004 RSR engine which produces 440bhp with 442Nm of torque and is mated to a 2002 RS manual 6-speed sequential gearbox. The car had a full body restoration in 2016 bringing it back to its original 996 Le Mans body specification.
Written by: Glen Smale
Images by: Coys