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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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993 v 991: wild Porsche GT2s

The year 1994 offered something of a step change for Porsche Motorsport. After multiple notable racing successes with naturally aspirated 911s such as the Carrera RSR and RS 3.8, the company once again turned its attention to turbocharging for elite GT racing. A new car was born out of the 993 generation, wider and wilder than ever before. The name given to this new high-performance 911 was simply the racing class it was to participate in: let us say hello once again to the now-legendary 993 GT2.

However, these cars were badged ‘GT’ – as can be seen below its huge rear wing. To compete in this class Porsche had to manufacture and homologate a street version, which became available as early as April of 1995. Little did Porsche and 911 enthusiasts know at the time, but it would become an absolute icon of a car, and one of the most sought-after today.

Unlike the car it was based on – the new 993 Turbo – the GT2 offered 22bhp more and offered a host of upgrades to the drivetrain, body, suspension and equipment, to name but a few. The big news was that the GT2 would be rear-wheel drive only, the 200kg weight loss over a Turbo mainly being attributed to this change. With the GT2 Porsche had made it perfectly clear it was not about to relinquish the ominous widowmaker moniker too easily. Rear-wheel-drive 911 Turbos were until then aimed at the more experienced driver, but the change to four-wheel drive left a gap at the very top of the 911 range, one that was to be filled by the motorsport-inspired GT2 street car.

Fast forward more than 20 years and until recently customers had to look to the naturally aspirated GT3 RS model to have race-inspired thrills. However, as a final swansong to the 991 range, Andreas Preuninger and his GT team developed and manufactured the most powerful production 911 to date. One can ramble on about the finer details of this machine, which you would have read in previous issues of Total 911, but there is no better way to sum it up than the 6:47.25 time the 991 GT2 RS set around the infamous Nürburgring Nordschleife.

In South Africa where the owner of both these exquisite cars opens the garage door, I find myself subconsciously drifting towards the 993 GT2 first. The door feels light in my hand as I pull its handle. I lower myself into the Recaro bucket seat and shut the door, the thud reminiscent of a whole era of air-cooled Porsche. The seat offers side support from your hips all the way up to your shoulders – the goosebumps on my forearms already demonstrate this is an exceptional place to be!

The cabin is basic, but not Clubsport or race car basic; after all, this is the more comfortable ‘Strasse’ specification. However, there are no rear seats, only carpets with the neat ‘GT’ inscription, as is the case on the back of the car below the rear wing. The cabin is compact – you sit close to the dashboard and windscreen in classic 911 guise. I hold the leather-trimmed, three-spoke steering wheel, impressed by the fact there is not a button in sight.

I’ve been privileged enough to have driven a few 993 GT2s before, and every time it is a particularly memorable occasion. Today is no different. A quick peek in the side mirror gets me all excited again as those monstrous, tacked-on wheel arches fill the view. These were added to enable the GT2’s enormous 11-inch-wide wheels to fit under its arches.

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Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport (982), deux versions, Trackday et Compétition

Comme prévu, Porsche présente la seconde génération du Cayman GT4, à Daytona aux essais IMSA. Après 421 exemplaires produits (à ce jour), le nouveau 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport (type 982) est proposé en deux versions : Trackday et Compétition. Au menu, le même mécanique flat 6 atmo 3.8L qui développe 425 ch soit 40 de […]

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Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport : L’ultime 991 de course

Dans la foulée de la nouvelle génération 992 de son inénarrable 911, présentée en ce moment au Salon de Los Angeles, Porsche a dévoilé les clichés d’une très méchante 911 GT2 RS nommée « Clubsport ». Basée sur la précédente génération, la 911 GT2 RS, présente au catalogue de la marque de Stuttgart depuis l’an dernier (NDLA […]

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Porsche Unveils An Even Tougher RS: The GT2 RS Clubsport

There is a rare breed of driver who can’t quite stand anything that resembles a creature comfort. Even the thinnest carpet offends these serious folks. For those who would skip another meal in the name of another tenth off their best time, Porsche has released a meaner, leaner, even more exclusive version of their fastest RS. For better or worse, this particular model will never wear license plates—this is a track-only special.

The GT2 RS Clubsport will be eligible to run at clubsport events, Porsche Club of America (PCA) track days, as well as selected motorsport meets. « For the upcoming years, our customers will not only race the GT2 RS Clubsport during open track days but also at international motor racing events. We are currently holding very productive talks with the race organizer SRO, » says Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars. Does this mean the return of a customer racing program with turbocharged 911s, à la the 993 GT2?

To satisfy the ounce-obsessed road racer who skips carbohydrates three weeks before a track day, any unneeded pounds have been stripped from this svelte track scalpel. The Clubsport ticks the scales at just 3,045 pounds, and benefits from stronger brakes and stickier tires to shorten braking distances to those of a bonafide GT racer.

Six-piston aluminium monobloc racing calipers on the front axle in combination with internally ventilated and grooved iron brake discs, with a 390 millimeter diameter provide excellent deceleration values at the front axle. In addition, the rear axle is fitted with four-piston calipers and 380 millimeter discs. Michelin slicks at all four corners provide the sort of grip and traction needed to exploit the thoroughbred chassis on pavement-rippling power.

Like the 935, the powerplant has not been modified to provide any more thrust; 700 is more than enough. However, it has been mounted rigidly, as has the transmission. The differential has been optimized to handle the added stress of racing and the increased grip, and the nanny systems—more for speed than safety in this instance—are adjusted via a map switch positioned on the center console. This allows for tweaking of the various systems independent of one another to best suit whatever situation the driver finds themselves in.

All that, as well as an air jacks, a fire extinguishing system, and a complete roll cage are just some of the added features which take the GT2 RS, a car which straddles the fence between road car and racer, and clear into the realm of the frighteningly fast and focused track toy for the most discerning enthusiast.

Overview:

Single-seater, non-street-legal race car
Basis: Porsche 911 GT2 RS (Type 991.2)
Weight/dimensions:

Weight: ca. 3,064 pounds (1,390 kg)
Length: 186.7 inches (4,743 mm)
Width: 77.9 inches (1,978 mm)
Total height: 53.5 inches (1,359 mm)
Wheelbase: 96.7 inches (2,457 mm)
Engine:

Water-cooled 6-cylinder aluminium twin-turbocharged rear-mounted boxer engine with rigid mounting; 3,800 cc; stroke 77.5 mm; bore 102 mm; ca. 700 hp; 4-valve technology with VarioCam Plus camshaft adjustment and valve lift control
Electronic engine management (Continental SDI 9)
DMSB-approved 100-cell metal catalytic converter
Rear muffler with twin tailpipes mounted centrally
Transmission:

7-speed PDK gearbox with rigid mounts and short paddle throws
Dual mass flywheel
Internal pressurized oil lubrication with active oil cooling
Limited slip differential optimized for racing

Bodywork:

Weight-optimized bodyshell in aluminium-steel composite design
CFRP motorsport rear wing
Enlarged air inlets with integrated LED headlights in 4-point design
CFRP roof with removable escape hatch complying with FIA Art. 275a
Lightweight CFRP front lid with quick release catches
Removable CFRP rear lid with quick release catches
115-liter FT3 safety fuel cell, refueling through the front lid
Welded-in safety cage
Recaro® racing bucket seat with longitudinal seat adjustment and padding system in accordance with FIA Standard 8862/2009
6-point safety harness
Air jack system (three jacks)
Fire extinguishing system with electronic release unit
Suspension:

Front axle:

MacPherson suspension strut; adjustable height, camber and track; optimized stiffness with high-performance spherical bearings; center-lock wheel nuts; 3-way racing dampers; reinforced tie-rods; electro-mechanical power steering with variable steering ratio; anti-roll bar

Rear axle:

Multi-link suspension; adjustable height, camber and track; optimized stiffness with high-performance spherical bearings; center-lock wheel nuts; 3-way racing dampers; anti-roll bar

Brake system:

Two separate brake circuits for front and rear axles; adjustable via brake balance bar system
Front axle:

Six-piston aluminium monobloc racing brake calipers with anti-knock-back piston springs; multi-piece iron brake discs, internally ventilated with 390 mm diameter, racing brake pads, optimized brake cooling ducts

Rear axle:

Four-piston aluminium monobloc racing brake calipers with anti-knock-back piston springs; multi-piece iron brake discs, internally ventilated with 380 mm diameter, racing brake pads, optimized brake cooling ducts.

Electrical system:

Instrument cluster consisting of Cosworth® color display ICD with integrated data logger; Sport Chrono clock and boost gauge in a vintage finish
Porsche steering wheel with shift paddles and quick-release coupling
PSM (Porsche Stability Management) with ABS, Traction Control and Electronic Stability Control (able to be completely switched off)
Center console with map switch to adjust the ABS, ESC, TC, and switch
between preset tire circumferences
Porsche Track Precision Race App
Integrated lap trigger
Lightweight lithium-ion (LiFePo) battery, 60 Ah, leakproof, mounted in passenger footwell
Emergency cut-off switch in cockpit and outside left of the windscreen
Tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS)
Air conditioning
Wheels/Tires:

Front axle:

One-piece light-alloy forged wheels
10.5J x 18 offset 28 with center-lock nut
Michelin transport tires 27/65-R18
Michelin rain/slick tires, dimensions: 27/65-18

Rear axle:

One-piece light-alloy forged wheels
12.5J x 18 offset 53 with center-lock nut;
Michelin transport tires 31/71-R18
Michelin rain/slick tires, dimensions: 31/71-18

Color:

Water-based paint
Exterior: white (9CA)
Interior: white filler coat, without lacquer
Limitation:

200 cars
Vehicle price:

$478,000 USD MSRP excluding tax, shipping, and import fees
Delivery from May 2019

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