On June 15, Porsche showed off the subtle version of its hot 911 GT3. The GT3 Touring Package brings all the high-revving excitement of the track-happy 911 without as much visual pop, but a bizarre bombshell was part of the debut. Some problematic red tape in the California government prevented Porsche from selling new GT3 models in the state, but only when equipped with an old-school three-pedal manual transmission.
We found it as nonsensical as pretty much everyone else, and it's possible California officials weren't prepared for the onslaught of media attention that ensued. In a statement sent to Motor1.com, Porsche confirms that a solution with the Golden State is secured, and the new GT3 in all its stick-shift glory will be available through California dealers.
In short, California was using an obsolete test from the Society of Automotive Engineers and hadn't yet switched to the new test. With time running out and California officials still not providing a solution, Porsche was forced to pull the plug on the manual-equipped 911 GT3 since it wouldn't be legal for registration without the tests.
Gallery: 2022 Porsche 911 GT3 Touring
Here's the full statement from Porsche:
"Following consultations with California authorities, Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) is pleased to confirm that its dealers will be able to sell the new 911 GT3 with a six-speed manual gearbox – meaning that, when the first cars arrive in the fall, they can be legally registered and driven in all 50 states. The work in the past week by the California DMV and California Highway Patrol to find a solution has been appreciated and helped to identify an appropriate regulatory path forward.
On June 11, Porsche Cars North America received a notification from California Highway Patrol outlining that their existing test procedure (SAE J1470, from March 1992) was obsolete but it could not identify a procedural process to allow Porsche to test the new 911 GT3 equipped with a manual transmission through the modern test procedure (SAE J2805, from May 2020).
Discussions with the regulators continued but without visibility to a solution we took the difficult decision to inform dealers that the manual option would no longer be available in California, since there would be no way to legally register the cars in the state. We communicated this on June 15th, coinciding with the planned announcement of the 911 GT3 Touring package.
PCNA thanks California DMV and California Highway for their responsiveness and helping quickly to identify the appropriate regulatory path forward. The 911 GT3 arrives in the US in the fall, and will join 16 other model variants in the Porsche range that can be specified with three pedals."
Whether this was just a frustrating bureaucratic stumbling block or something greater, we're sure Porsche enthusiasts in California will appreciate hearing this news and rowing six cogs with the new 911 GT3 later this year.