The success of the 911 R is undeniable. Porsche gave the people what they cried out for and that was a manual 911 GT3 RS without a rear wing. But since all 991 911 Rs were bought before it was even announced, chances of getting one new were impossible — and when it hit the second-hand market, the asking price more than quadrupled. Luckily, Porsche realized the demand is incredibly high for a sports car that doesn’t put Nürburgring as the number one priority. The 911 GT3 Touring is Porsche’s response.
Think of it as a 911 R-lite. Where the 911 R was based on the range topping manual GT3 RS with a rear wing-delete option, the GT3 is able to be spec’d with a Touring Package which does the same thing. You still get the same 4.0-liter naturally aspirated flat-six putting out 500 horsepower and 339 lb-ft from, but now you have full control of the gears and there’s no massive rear wing announcing to the world you have a high-performance Porsche.
The best news is, it’s absolutely free — as in, it costs you $0 to tick the Touring Package option box. Porsche catches a lot of flak for charging its customers more money for putting fewer things on their car, but Porsche seems to genuinely want more high-performance manuals on the road. Maybe this is a sign that the Turbo, the only 911 to only come with a PDK, is next up for the Touring Package treatment.
The bigger discussion is: when did it become such a big deal to see a sports car come with a manual transmission? At least we haven’t started calling them retro-transmissions — yet.