Without first-hand experience from behind the wheel it is hard for someone to really understand the subjective differences between the latest GT3 3.8 and its RS counterpart. Apart from its on-paper superiority and quantifiably superior lap times, the RS really is a significantly more rewarding car to drive on both road and track.
However, we are all different and there are track-day junkies and racers for whom even the RS is not quite enough. This is where 9ff’s G-Track concept comes in.
As 9ff boss Jan Fatthauer explained, Our objective was to take a new or existing GT3 and turn it into a GT3 RS beater without exceeding the RS price tag. The idea is to prepare street legal GT series Porsches to deliver optimum performance on the racetrack, while still retaining enough comfort to drive to and from the circuit.
This yellow car, based on a ’10 GT3, is the first of the not-too-extreme and not-too-expensive G-Track 480 models that turns the 997 GT3 into an RS beater for less than the difference in price between these two factory models. As you can guess from its name, it has 480 hp, a good 45-hp increase over stock, and 30 hp more than the mighty RS.
There are no internal engine modifications, so everything done here is reversible. Starting with the intake system, the airbox receives a BMC free-flow air filter; while at the other end of the motor 9ff uses its own bespoke exhaust system in conjunction with the factory catalytic converters.
Dispensing with the two smaller side boxes, this highly efficient 57-pound stainless steel exhaust uses just a large rear silencer box.
The heavy, dual-mass flywheel is ditched in favor of a single-mass unit, and after the ECU remap, the engine dyno numbers showed 480 hp at 7800 rpm with 345 lb-ft of torque at 6180 rpm. This compares favorably with the 450 hp at 7600 rpm and 317 lb-ft at 6750 rpm of the RS.
A feature adopted from the current factory RSR racers is the rear bumper vents that help to draw heat from the engine bay and reduce the air pressure buildup inside the rear wings.
The dynamic engine mounts that are optional on the GT3 are a great idea, but they are heavy, 9ff boss Jan Fatthauer explained. This car had those mounts, and we replaced them with solid mounts for both the engine and gearbox, saving 6 kilograms in the process. These are our own mounts. We can’t use the Carrera Cup ones because the engine brackets are different.
Another one of our customers races in the VLN long-distance events, and uses a GT3 RS as his road car, Jan continued. He tested this car on track and says it is even faster than his GT3 RS, so we are very pleased that we have achieved what we set out to do.
The chassis of the RS benefits tremendously from the wider front track, so we increase the front track by an inch on either side and cover the wider wheels and tires with new, wider arches, said Jan. The wider front wheel arch flares are integrated with the front wings and have a different look from the RS’s add-on flares. Our customers certainly like the beefier look.
Downforce over the front axle is increased with a Carrera Cup front spoiler lip, while at the rear, the reproduction ’11 Cup car engine lid has an RSR-style wing on alloy struts. The wing’s side plates are our own design and sit further back than the RS ones to reduce air spillage, Jan explained.
As low weight is one of the linchpins of any high-performance car, and especially a track-day car, Jan was very keen to show me that a substantial amount of weight had been taken out of the GT3.
After he had shown me the suspension modifications and exhaust system with the car on a four-post lift, Jan wheeled out his corner weight system and lowered the car onto the scales.
I saw a figure of 2910 pounds with my own eyes, confirming that the G-Track 480 is indeed nearly 200 pounds lighter than the factory GT3 with a three-quarter tank of fuel. In dry weight terms, the car tips the scales at 2854 pounds. With air-conditioning and radio, many GT3s leave the showroom at 3152 pounds, said Jan.
The standard GT3 suspension is too soft for hard-core track junkies, Jan explained. Our coilover suspension is a combination of the factory PASM dampers with 9ff/H&R, RSR and some Carrera Cup parts. The uprated springs are made for us by H&R, and are rated 60 kg in front and 120 kg at the rear, compared to 40 kg and 100 kg for a stock GT3. The helper springs are low-rated to ensure a comfortable secondary ride on the road.
Continuing the shopping list of upgrades, the lower front suspension arms are RSR components, and support Carrera Cup brake cooling ducts. The rear suspension arms are also from the RSR, as are the tie rods and brake cooling ducts. The rear alloy underbody suspension crossbrace is a Carrera Cup part, and saves a further 5.5 pounds.
The ultra-light, forged OZ Racing alloys are sized 9.5 and 12.5x19 front and rear, with 265/30ZR19 and 325/30ZR19 Michelin Cup tires. Behind these wide wheels, the factory PCCB brakes are uprated with Porsche Supercup Pagid Green brake pads. Braided hoses replace the stock rubber brake lines and DOT 5 fluid is used to withstand the heat of heavy track use.
Open the driver’s door and the Cobra race seat with its deep head protection wings dominates your first impression of the G-Track 480’s cabin. Next to this is a more normal looking Cobra sports seat. Other than that, the only change is a 50-mm taller gear lever, which brings shift operation closer to the steering wheel, and improves leverage.
The first time I blipped the throttle, I just knew that this was going to be fun. The revs rise and fall instantly, just like in a Cup car, and the motor revs like a dynamo from idle to cut-out through the gears.
If the throttle response is keen, so is the steering. In fact, thanks to the geometry settings 9ff has dialed in, turn-in feels even quicker than the RS, and initially takes getting used to. Once you learn to palm the steering rather than grab it, it is not a problem. This is a car for calm hands.
In fast bends, the chassis and aero mods make this a real track-day weapon. The mechanical grip of the big Michelin Cup tires is enhanced to the point where grip seems endless, and when it does run out, the handling stays consistent and manageable. On the airfield runway I used for my limit handling tests, the car impressed with its superb balance and sheer speed.
The 9ff G-Track 480 package costs around $50,500 (35,000 euros) and is a remarkably different character from the base GT3. Just as Jan Fatthauer promised, it is even more focused than the RS, but still comfortable enough to be driven to and from the track.
If you are a track-day junkie and feel your GT3 is not the sharpest tool in the box, the 9ff G-Track 480 is the full fat, adrenalin-loaded answer to your prayers.
9ff G-Track 480 997
Longitudinal rear engine, rear-wheel drive
3.8-liter flat six, dohc, 24-valve, 9ff ECU software re-map, 9ff stainless steel exhaust, solid engine mounts
Six-speed manual, single-mass flywheel
Wheels and Tires
OZ Racing alloys, 9.5x19 (f), 12.5x19 (r)
Michelin Cup, 265/30 (f), 325/30 (r)
Carrera Cup front spoiler lip, front/rear 9ff fenders, 9ff RSR-style rear wing
Cobra race seats, 9ff shifter
Peak Power: 480 hp @ 7800 rpm
Peak Torque: 345 lb-ft @ 6180 rpm