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Soul Of Porsche – Porsche 911’s Hall of Fame !

Quand la firme de Zuffenhausen décide de réunir toutes les générations de Porsche 911 en Asie, ce n’est pas pour faire un strip poker dans un tripot de Macao. Non, c’est pour tourner des images splendides dans un pays qui ne l’est pas moins et des caisses pas trop mal non plus. Indice : c’est […]

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Hillclimb Duel: 997 GT3 Cup Dices With an 800-HP ’88 Carrera

Comparing Rupert Schwaiger’s 800-horsepower Carrera to a 997 GT3 Cup is the stuff racing geeks lose sleep over. In the green corner, Schwaiger’s machine makes twice the power and weighs less, but it doesn’t benefit from the silky smooth power delivery of the Cup Car. As we see here, power and weight are important, but how that power and weight are managed are just as important—if not more so. For those fascinated by motorsport minutiae, this duel between two very impressive 911s is worth dark circles under the eyes.

Completely Different Compositions

Aside from having the engine in the rear and a similar silhouette, these two 911s are quite different in their compositions. Schwaiger’s car is not new to these pages. As we’ve seen before, the basic ’88 Carrera is a rocket on the hillclimb, and the septuagenarian Schwaiger isn’t intimidated by it in the slightest. Willing to wrestle with the 800 horsepower his 3.5-liter motor produces, he indulges in big slides regularly and really throws the car into the corner. Thanks largely to nicely-sized Garrett turbos, most of the torque is available at 2,000 rpm; suiting it to the tightest hairpins. Little lag and a paddle-shifted 997 RSR gearbox allows it to get up to speed very quickly.

Thanks to the a 964 RS rear end between 335-section Avon slicks, most of that power makes it to the ground, and the power advantage can be enjoyed in reasonably straighter sections. KW 3-way coilovers, some aero from a 993 GT2, and a confidence-inspiring setup allow him to drive quite confidently through faster sections, as we can see through the overlay at 1:48

The Space Between

Where Schwaiger is aggressive with the wheel, Manuel Seidl is silky smooth. This does help considerably in putting the power down, as does the more manageable wave of torque with the normally-aspirated Cup engine. Meanwhile, Schwaiger—though using traction control—doesn’t seem to quite harness the power as easily. Listen to their throttle applications and you’ll notice Seidl stays on the throttle harder and longer, while Schwaiger tends to pop off throttle in a staccato fashion. Whether its style, power delivery, or a combination of the two, it looks like Seidl can lean more comfortably on the car out of slower corners.

Seidl’s also a little more committed into some corners, specifically the faster ones. This could be attributed to more downforce and a better sorted car, which never seems to dance over cambers like the yellow and green car does from time to time. To take either car through this confined, cliff-line Austrian hillclimb deserves applause, but its a combination of smoothness, slightly more efficient lines, and a more tractable powerplant that gives Seidl the upper hand. Had this battle been waged on a faster track, the Turbo might be the victor, but where traction and runoff area are extremely limited, Seidl’s approach and vehicle seem better suited.

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Watch As This 997 GT3 R Screams Up A Portuguese Hillclimb

With his usual Ford Escort steeds in the shop for repairs, Portuguese hillcimber José Silvinho Pires had to resort something else for his latest trip to the Rampa da Falperra hillclimb. His replacement, a 997 GT3-R, offered him more than enough performance to temporarily forget his old Fords. With a striking livery reminiscent of the old John Player-sponsored Lotuses, it looked as good as it sounded. Most importantly, it was approachable enough for him to but in a series of storming laps after minimal warmup time.

The iconic livery looks stellar, especially when peeking out of the shadows.

It should be mentioned that Pires has competed in Porsches before. At the same hillclimb, he made appearances in a 996 RSR with one of the most raucous engine notes around. Those frantic laps prepared him well for the lighter, fitter, younger sibling, which also enjoys a considerable bump in power.

Despite having nearly 500 horsepower from its 4.0-liter motor, the GT3 R never looked unwieldy in his hands. Granted, he was driving somewhat conservatively, but having only ten laps to prepare on a course as demanding as this, that’s sensible. Through the faster sections, he’s able to flirt with the guardrails and carry some impressive entry speeds, but it never looks like he’s completely at one with the Porsche.

However, he’s still getting the GT3 R up on its tiptoes; sliding the rear slightly on braking, and getting back to power very early. Nevertheless, the GT3 R puts all of its power to the ground without fuss, whether it’s crossing over cambers or on a completely flat part of the course. It’s an incredibly capable, confidence-inspiring car that brings the best out of anyone in the seat, provided they have enough sense to treat it with some respect. Those guardrails do seem to jump out of nowhere, after all.

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What do you think of this Hemi-powered 911 Custom?

Purity be damned, early water-cooled 911s and Caymans do lend themselves well to V8 swaps. In most cases the engine winds up right where Porsche intended, taking place of the flat-six. While this can require fiddling with the bulkhead in mid-engined cars, drivers do seem to welcome the update. A French custom shop, however, is taking a different approach. Rather than putting a compact LS-series V8 under the rear decklid, they’ve opted for a much larger Hemi.

This isn’t the first 911 Danton Customs has built, either. The French shop has built a V8-powered front-engine 964 as well, showing it off in Monaco last year.

However, unlike the LS-swapped cars, Alexandre Danton has opted for a more traditional and very un-Porsche engine placement. Now with the engine up front where the fuel tank used to be, this 997 is apparently destined to forever lack subtlety. Renders from the builder show their intended path with this car, which apparently includes a tall supercharger, some wild aero, a roll-cage, and a skimpy bikini roof.

This is certainly not a car for introverted types, and by most measures it isn’t really a Porsche any longer. What do you think of this 911 Cabriolet Hemi? Is it a step too far?

Check out @danton_arts_kustoms on Instagram when you get a chance to see the renderings, some of their earlier crazy hot rod projects, and to follow their progress with this weird build. Personally, I like the rear louvers and the use of the 993-style rear tail light and heckblende system. It’s certainly unique, I’ll give it that.

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996.2 v 997.1 GT3

Passers-by seem impressed, if a little nonplussed as to why we’re photographing two seemingly identical 911 GT3s. But to Porsche aficionados the 996 and 997 generations actually represent two very different flavours of GT3, and spark lively debate. Today we’re comparing the last of the 996 GT3s with the first of the 997, putting the GT3’s first generational shift under the microscope and declaring a winner.

It’s now 20 years since Porsche released its first 911 GT3, a road car that was produced to homologate the racers. The arrival of Andreas Preuninger soon after saw ‘Mr GT3’ put his stamp on the 996 generation with the revised 996.2 GT3 of 2003. He had to wait for the subsequent 997 GT3 of 2006 to take ownership of a GT3 generation from the start. That car is now identified as a 997.1, differentiating it from the later 997.2 GT3.

Both 996.2 and 997.1 Porsche GT3s remain highly coveted sports cars today, and overlap in pricing – the bulk of 996.2 GT3s span £60,000 to £80,000, with 997.1 GT3s grabbing the baton at £70,000 and accelerating off to £90,000.

We’ve come to Porsche specialists Paragon in East Sussex to explore two excellent examples currently residing in stock. Paragon’s 996 has covered 37,000 miles and is up at £74,995. The 997, meanwhile, is yours for £84,995. Both have undergone significant prep work to lift them to Paragon’s standards.

Both are as road-spec as they come in Comfort trim – no roll cage, fire extinguisher or buckets – featuring stock six-piston brakes with no carbon-ceramics, and factory suspension specs including camber settings. You’re unlikely to find two fitter, more representative, more comparable examples.

I jump into the 996 for the 20-mile trip to our Beachy Head photo location for two reasons: I’ve had good seat time in 997 GT3s, but have only once driven a 996 GT3, and pretty briefly on track – this is the car I really need to get my head around. I’m also curious to see how different it is from my own 996 3.4 Carrera.

The GT3’s headline changes versus the Carrera included lower, stiffer suspension; deletion of the rear seats; slightly wider 18-inch alloys; uprated six-piston front brakes (four rear) and, most importantly, the completely different Mezger 3.6-litre flat six, here rated at 380bhp and 385Nm.

I’d expected a significantly more aggressive temperament than my own car, but that’s just not true. Yes, it bobbles a bit when driven slowly over imperfect urban tarmac, and you notice the more responsive front end, a little extra weight to the steering on initial turn-in and reduced body roll even at more moderate speeds, but it actually rides with generous compliance, and there’s no huge penalty in terms of road noise. More aggressive than a Carrera, of course, but potter about and I don’t think there’s a huge trade-off here.

Driven harder on the twists that course down to the coast from the top of Beachy Head, the 996 is sublime. The steering immediately loads up with weight to contextualise lateral forces loading through the suspension; its intimidating detail encourages you to hold the wheel gently to better let it breathe and communicate through your fingertips. 15 years on its ratio still feels perfectly quick enough, and the way the front end arcs into corners without delay remains strikingly immediate – there’s very little roll and waiting for mass to settle, no slack to work through to get the steering working.

For the full 996.2 v 997.1 GT3 head-to-head test, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 177 in shops now or get it delivered to your door via here. You can also download a digital copy with high definition bonus galleries to any Apple or Android device.

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