It's no secret that a vast majority of drivers prefer automatic transmissions over three-pedal manuals. Even in the high-performance realm, dual-clutch gearboxes with automatic or electrically-operated manual gear changes have become the norm. Such systems can change gears faster than any human could hope to achieve, but still, there's a visceral connection for driving purists that comes from moving mechanical components by hand.
Perhaps it should be no surprise that a visceral vehicle like the Porsche 911 GT3 is well-suited for old-school manual shifting. The previous-generation 991.2 GT3 saw a six-speed manual return to the analog supercar, and boy did buyers respond. According to Porsche, 40 percent of those GT3 sales around the world featured the old-school stick versus the dual-clutch PDK, but that's not the big news. When you focus on just 991.2 GT3 sales in the US, the manual take-rate jumps to 70 percent. Average American drivers certainly want automatics, but for passionate GT3 owners, shifting cogs with a stick and clutch is the preferred choice by far.
Gallery: 2022 Porsche 911 GT3
We suspect those surprising stats contributed to Porsche's decision for a manual option in the new 992-generation GT3. The latest version of the track-focused 911 also retains its naturally aspirated 4.0-liter flat-six engine, spinning to a glorious 9,000 rpm and making 502 horsepower (374 kilowatts) in the process. It's virtually the same output as the previous GT3, but an upgraded double-wishbone suspension sees the rear-wheel-drive 911 lap the Nürburgring in just under seven minutes – 13 seconds quicker than its predecessor.
Will GT3 buyers continue loving the six-speed manual with the new model? Porsche isn't willing to speculate on such things at this time, but evidence certainly suggests there are many drivers craving such interaction behind the wheel. The new 911 GT3 reaches US dealerships this fall, so we might have a taste of manual-versus-PDK sales by the end of the year.