The Business Case For Offering A Track-Ready Sports Car

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The all-new 2022 Porsche 911 GT3 is one of the highest-performing, most engaging, street-legal vehicles ever offered for public consumption. Boasting a 502-hp engine with a stratospheric 9,000-rpm redline, razor-sharp handling and massive brakes, the two-door coupe with an oversized rear wing is best described as a focused track-ready racecar with a splash of polish and civility. 

It’s a good bet that the all-new Porsche GT3 could be too hardcore for you, your friends, neighbors, and co-workers – but there’s a reason why Porsche only targets the most discerning automotive enthusiasts with this specialized model of its iconic 911 sports car.

Why would the German automaker spend tens of millions of dollars to satisfy such a small niche? What is the business case for offering a track-ready sports car in today’s competitive automotive marketplace? 

The answer isn’t found on an accountant’s ledger, which is where most automakers justify a vehicle’s costly development and continuation. Instead, the all-new 911 GT3 exists because it serves as an iconic example of how a manufacturer can earnestly listen to its audience and deliver a commercially successful product that is profitable, reliable, engaging, and enduring. 

“The GT3 is the rock star of the 911 range,” explains Andreas Preuninger, Porsche’s Director of the GT Model Line. “It’s the 911 that is there for the purist, the enthusiast, one that is made just for the sake of driving.” While it’s easy to argue that all 911 models are tuned for those passionate about driving, the GT3 is configured with several unique attributes that set it apart from its siblings – even though all 911 models travel down the same assembly line in Zuffenhausen, Germany. 

Standard 911 models are turbocharged, which is today’s industry-preferred solution to delivering torque and power with low displacement. The GT3, in sharp contrast, is fitted with a naturally aspirated 4.0-liter, flat-6, engine that revs to 9,000 rpm – about 2,000 rpm higher than its competitors. While it doesn’t deliver neck-snapping power on the low end of the tachometer, Porsche’s customers favor the high-revving engine for its lightning-fast responsiveness, seamless power delivery, efficiency, and race-tested reliability.

Nearly all automakers have abandoned the manual transmission, but not Porsche. At the request of its customers, the company re-introduced the traditional gearbox with the previous-generation GT3 and has no plans of discontinuing it. “Once again, the new 911 GT3 will be available with both a dual-clutch and manual transmission… we love giving our customers the choice.” boasts Preuninger. (Porsche doesn’t release specific numbers, but it is estimated that more than half of GT3 owners chose the manual transmission with the predecessor – an astonishing take rate in today’s automotive marketplace.)

As expected, the new GT3 vaunts advanced safety equipment, connectivity, and mechanical innovation to keep it ahead of its competitors, but these items add weight. Rather than compromise handling, the company’s engineers used aluminum alloys and composites to keep the new GT3’s mass down to just 3,126 pounds – about 500 pounds lighter than most of its competitors – because Porsche customers expect it. The result is a vehicle that feels agile and responsive from the driver’s seat. The steering feel is spot-on, and handling is exemplary – toss the GT3 into the corners and responds immediately. “The car has to evoke positive emotions, make you smile, encourage you to drive more and take the road less traveled,” says Preuninger.

Porsche’s unusual tactic of listening to its audience and fulfilling their needs has not backfired or cost the company profits. In fact, it has had quite the opposite effect. Even though the 2022 911 GT3 is a niche sports car targeting a very select audience, demand for the new vehicle is showing to be unprecedented.

The motoring press has showered the new GT3 with critical acclaim and customers are attentive and receptive. Hundreds of buyers have joined growing waiting lists at local Porsche retailers where dealers, limited only by supply, are asking upwards of $35,000 or more over the automaker’s suggest retail price. And the new arrival is having a positive effect on its predecessor’s resale value – a quick check of used GT3 prices reveals that most are selling for more today than they did when they were showroom new. Savvy buyers realize that they aren’t just buying an engaging sports car for today – they are buying a vehicle with extraordinary resale potential in the future.  

Don’t think that Porsche is selling the GT3 with incentives or with thin profit margins to generate all this excitement, buzz, and interest, which is a common industry ruse. The track-ready 2022 911 GT3 starts at $161,000 – more than four times the cost of today’s average new car – and most consumers will transact with $30,000 worth of options once they customize. A $200,000 sales price is not out of the question. 

The GT3 is not only profitable to Porsche, but it serves as an informal brand ambassador. The signature rear-engine 911 silhouette adorned with a massive rear wing (now a “swan neck” for improved downforce) is instantly recognizable on public roads or on the track. The sports car is a staple at every local car show or club racing event. Porsche even allows buyers to paint their GT3 any color, for a sizeable fee of course, so these “paint-to-sample” customers embrace the opportunity to seek vibrant, historic, or unique hues, which further increases desirability. There’s also a strong comradery among GT3 owners on social media that seems to reinforce the allure.

The business case for the 2022 Porsche 911 GT3 is unique because its root premise doesn’t rely on financial spreadsheets, making the product particularly affordable, or trying to one-up the competition. Instead, Andreas Preuninger and his team have been tasked to concentrate on delivering the world’s best sports car for a small discriminating audience. “Anyone with a passion for driving, who cares about engineering-driven and race-bred details,” says Preuninger. 

Get those details right – and historically the German automaker has – and the marketplace will reward Porsche with a popular and profitable 2022 911 GT3 that’s the envy of its automotive competition.

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