On the anniversary of Porsche’s 70th birthday, the German sports car company gave itself, and hungry Porschephiles, a pair of 911 GT3-based 911 Speedsters to drool over. The drop-top GT3s, however, were unfortunately just concepts. But the calls for their creation spread and rumors of their eventual production quickly grew among Porsche’s enthusiast inner circles. Now, at the New York Auto Show, Porsche has unveiled the production 911 Speedster and its just as good as the concepts.
Like the two cars from Porsche’s anniversary, the 911 Speedster is based around the outgoing 991-generation Porsche 911 GT3. Underneath its rear engine cover sits the fiery naturally aspirated 4.0-liter flat six-cylinder from the GT3 and GT3 RS. However, unlike its non-chopped sibling, the 911 Speedster’s engine receives individual throttle bodies to enhance the 4.0-liter’s already lightning-fast throttle response. The 911 Speedster's flat-six engine produces 503 horsepower and 346 pound-feet of torque sent exclusively to the rear wheels. According to Porsche, the 911 Speedster’s engine tuning produces an experience “just like the 911 GT3 R race car.”
Unlike its roofed counterpart, the 911 Speedster will not be available with Porsche’s dual-clutch PDK witchcraft. Rather than a computer offering up electrifyingly quick shifts, the 911 Speedster is only available with a six-speed manual transmission. Though the row-your-own stick is slower than the dual-clutch, the 911 Speedster is capable of snatching 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds. As for its top speed, the 911 Speedster will be able to hit 192 mph. So, yes, it’s still brisk.
As the 911 Speedster was developed by Porsche Motorsport — just as the 911 GT3, GT3 RS, and GT2 RS are — the car’s dynamics have also been touched and isn’t just a 911 GT3 without a roof. Underneath the 911 Speedster’s carbon fiber and polyurethane body panels, Porsche Motorsport’s engineers fiddled with the car’s rear axle-steering system, as well as its active engine mount calibration to better suit the car’s roofless construction.
Likewise, given the 911 GT3-base, Porsche made sure that weight would stay as close to the donor GT3 as possible. Aside from the aforementioned carbon fiber and polyurethane body, Porsche developed a “low-cut” lightweight windshield and the roof was built with lightweight fabric. The roof mechanism itself is manually operated as to further reduce the need for heavy electronics. The only electrically operated part of the roof is how it locks into place.
The interior of the 911 Speedster has also seen weight reductions. The door panels are lightweight units with door pulls instead of heavier standard handles. Porsche even built carbon fiber door sills with the “Speedster” designation integrated into the design. The standard manual transmission, which is 40 pounds lighter than the PDK, as well as the carbon ceramic brakes further reduce the 911 Speedster’s weight. With all of that lightweight knowledge applied, the 911 Speedster tips the scales at 3,230 pounds, just 77 pounds heavier than the hardtop 911 GT3 to which it's based on.
Porsche plans on producing just 1,948 911 Speedsters. The price, which includes destination and delivery, will set Porsche-purists back a cool $275,750. That said, as with other special edition Porsches, you’ll likely have to fight the throngs of other deep-pocketed Porsche enthusiasts in order to listen to the 911 Speedster’s 9,000 rpm GT3-song.