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Porsche 911 GT3 hauls 469 hp behind the steerable rear wheels

March 4, 2013

On the 50th anniversary of the Porsche 911, the German sports car maker can also celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 911 GT3, it's race-ready variation on the theme. At the Geneva Motor Show today, Porsche revealed the 2014 edition of the 911 GT3, offering 469 hp and a bevy of technical updates — including a Porsche first: steerable rear wheels.

The most track-capable GT3s usually forego most luxury accoutrements in order to save weight for going fast, from sound deadening to replacing door handles with fabric pulls. The new GT3 keeps a few high-end touches, such as all-LED headlamps, but saves weight in other areas, such as with a large rear wing that's fixed rather than deployable.

Under the rear hatch, the 3.8-liter flat-six engine shares little with the unit in regular 911s, with titanium connecting rods and other custom parts that push the redline to 9,000 rpms. The seven-speed PDK automatic transmission also gets reworked for GT3 duty, and the suspension has been modified for track use.

But the biggest change comes from the steerable rear wheels, a Porsche first. After first appearing on cars in the 1980s, and disappearing as an overpriced gimmick, luxury automakers have been testing it again. Porsche says the new system will turn the rear wheels in either the same or opposite direction as the front tires depending on the speeds in use. Given that the new 911 GT3 will supposedly lap the Nürburgring in under 7 minutes, 30 seconds — at least 10 seconds faster than the previous generation — whatever Porsche has done to the rear axle isn't hurting.