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World’s Coolest Dad Takes His Kid Around the ‘Ring in a GT2 RS MR

Whether it be fear or ecstasy, the GT2 RS MR is a special implement which can bring out that intense emotion better than perhaps any other road car. In fact, for most, the only thing which cause more joy would require a syringe and a piece of rubber hose. But I digress.

Seeing this kid’s ear-to-ear grin is a reminder of the overwhelming effect a quick car has on the young, and why they often become obsessed all things quick and four-wheeled. Six-year-old Max Mitchell gets to experience what a quick but conservative lap around world’s trickiest track is what is possibly the fastest road-going car in the world. What a charmed life.

The GT2 RS MR, fitted with some of the more important go-fast bits from the famous Manthey Racing, is enough to snag a 6:40.3 at the 12.9-mile Nordschleife. A comprehensive aero kit, stainless brake lines, better pads, Manthey-tuned KW coilovers, and magnesium wheels round out most of the Manthey kit. Interestingly, no power adders come along with this package, though an additional water sprayer ensures the driver gets to enjoy the full 700 horsepower without any temperature-related dropoff. Though the stat-centric cynic might not feel these mods justify the astounding price tag, they improve feel and confidence—which count for a lot at the Nurburging. Just look at the way this mega-stable machine goads Mr. Mitchell down through the treacherous Fuchsröhre (2:03)!

Max squeals and waves gleefully as they pass their friend in the M4.

For obvious reasons, Max’s dad isn’t putting it all on the line, but he is pushing hard enough to pass everything on the track—even his talented friend in a Schirmer M4 Ring Taxi. With some wet spots on the track and a well-used set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires underneath him, there’s no way he’s anywhere near the limit of this monster. Perhaps that conservative approach better illustrates just how ridiculously fast the car is, even at 6/10ths.

Father and son share a tender moment at 70 miles per hour.

The body control, aerodynamic stability, and unbelievable traction help keep Max at relative ease. Perhaps he’s too young to appreciate the danger, but maybe the car is just that composed. Either way, let’s hope Max’s dad sticks him in a kart soon—he may have a bright racing future ahead of him.

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15 years of the Porsche 997.1

A new model of 911 is always controversial. Porsche enthusiasts tend to get so used to the current version that they can be almost resentful when it is replaced.

Indeed, the arrival of any new 911 is usually at least slightly controversial, and with over half a century of history, examples abound: the 964 disappointed for resembling its aging predecessor so closely; the 991 shocked some with its considerably larger dimensions and, for more conservative types, the 992 was not only wider still, but a daunting tech-fest.

Then, of course, there was the 996, Porsche’s imaginative and brave attempt to translate the 911 into the 21st century idiom. Such was the outcry that it was hard to distinguish whether it was the styling or the water-cooled engine which upset diehards more.

The original 901 attracted more curiosity than outright admiration, but in 1963 nobody knew what the future 911 would be capable of. 30 years later and the 993 was mostly favourably received, if still seen as quaintly old fashioned outside Porschedom

By contrast there was one 911 for which praise was unanimous when it appeared, and that was the 997. Here, Porsche managed to combine tradition and progress as never before or, for many people, since. Allow us to take you through the 997’s history, tech, and current standing.

Planning dictated that the 996 would run out six years after its launch, and preparations for that successor began within a year of the 996 appearing in the showrooms. In response to market and press reaction, ideas for its successor were already taking shape.

Two things became clear: if aesthetically modern, the 996 was a little too radical. The Carrera was seen as a shade too refined-looking, lacking a certain aggressive element.

If the Aerokitted versions partly addressed this, in reality they still looked too much like aftermarket modifications. The cabin, too, was not quite right: certainly it was more spacious, and ergonomically it addressed the classic faults of the old 911 cockpit, with its scattered and not always logical switchgear.

But the 996 interior’s curves were, for many observers, overstylised. There was also the matter that the 996 shared not just its cabin, but the entire body from the doors and A-pillar forward with the much cheaper Boxster. 

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Bringing the 959 and 911 GT2 RS Together: The Pinnacle Of Porsche

Even thirty two years on the little details of the 959 can make other 911-based cars seem pedestrian. Where the GT2 RS is a wild machine covered in scoops, wings, and hyperbole, its floor is mere metal. The 959 separates its occupants from the pavement with nomex. Point, 80s dream machine. It seems that every other trait about the car is similarly insane. Time may have marched on from its contemporaries, but so much of the 959, at least on paper, seems thoroughly modern and extraordinary. While we know that in every measurable way related to on-road performance the GT2 RS will savage the elderly 959, but Everyday Driver seem to be asking is the new car as compelling?

In a strictly dollars for donuts way, the GT2 RS absolutely is. The GT2 RS cost less than the 959’s recent maintenance. Despite its formidable performance it remains oddly accessible, a trait it shares with the 959. The two cars also share interiors with lesser contemporary 911s. Oddly the GT2 RS and the 959S share a 211-mph top speed.

The two cars of course differ in focus. While the older car may have been developed for Group B homologation, in implementation it fell somewhere between 80s Supercar and ultimate-GT, with a dash of rock crawler thrown in for good measure. The one in the video was street parked in Monaco for many years, and was apparently used regularly. The GT2 RS is a fairly unabashed track car.

Of course, given our focus here at Flatsixes, we’ve talked about the 959 at length. We’ve featured wrecked 959s, 959s Doug Demuro likes, modified 959s, and Brad has ridden in one. We’ve also spent a lot of time discussing the GT2 RS, from heavily-optioned cars, to record setters. While we could crow on about how the 959 is the ultimate expression of Porsche’s transition into a tech-driven automaker, we’ll let Everyday Driver show you. This 28-minute video is an excellent watch.

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sponsored: Commission your Porsche 911 as fine art

Many 911 owners would already consider their car to be a piece of automotive art – we certainly do – and gazing over the curvaceous bodywork can give many hours of pleasure.  But there’s more than one way to enjoy the stunning appearance, and having it committed to canvas would be special indeed. Which brings us to the work of renowned artist, Rob Hefferan. Fascinated with art since childhood, his first exhibition in 2003 showcasing his skills in figurative work and portraiture was a resounding success. It’s those skills along with an international reputation for quality and unrivalled attention to detail that has led to his work being commissioned by numerous celebrity clients, and it turns out that Rob has another passion; “I’ve been obsessed with cars since I was young, and that developed into a love for Porsches, and the 911 in particular”. 

A serial owner of our favourite sports car, his collection has included the 996, both generations of 997 model, and he now enjoys a 991 Carrera S. A proper car guy, then, which is why he’s decided to focus his talents on the Zuffenhausen marque, offering owners and enthusiasts the opportunity to have their pride and joy recreated as fine art. He admits this is a new challenge and one he relishes, already having set to work creating around a dozen paintings of various Porsches. While such artwork isn’t entirely new, what’s different here and core to Rob’s ethos is capturing even the smallest of details that make each car unique. And having seen it for ourselves we are talking about beautiful pieces of art here, the sort of work that would complement 911 ownership in a way that other pictures just can’t. Painted either in oils or acrylic depending on the timescales involved, each work can take anything from 150 to 300 hours to complete and the work is also unusual compared to other automotive artists in that he is happy to depict not just the car but to include the owner as well. It’s where the talent for portrait work really pays off. 

As for the process of commissioning a painting, an owner can either provide pictures of the car or Rob will travel to view your 911, employing a professional photographer to take dozens of detailed reference shots from which to work. It’s a painstaking process but one that results in something very special, but there was something we were keen to ask and that’s whether he had a favourite 911. “Not really” says Rob. “I love all of them, but if pushed I guess I’d have to say it’s the cars from the 1960’s that most capture my attention.”  “It’s the shape and form that I find so appealing, and the way the light falls on the bodywork. There are few cars like it, and I really admire Porsche’s heritage, especially when it comes to motorsport.” That emphasis on history and quality really shines through when it comes to the finished painting, and whether you own just the one car or are lucky enough to have a collection to see them represented in such a way is likely to prove very hard to resist. You can see examples of Rob’s work by visiting his website at http://www.robhefferanautomotiveart.com, but we’ll say now that you should be prepared to find yourself as tempted to commission his services as we are.

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Porsche 993: the 911 that had to succeed

In retrospect, it’s easy to say Porsche’s mistake was its decision to keep the G-series 911 in production for 15 years, but from the company’s point of view, through the early 1980s the 911 was selling ever more strongly.

Regular updates and revisions ensured it remained at the top of the performance stakes. The robustness which made it a car you could count on day after day meant that despite its archaisms, it was still the ultimate road and track sports car.

However, within Porsche it was also a source of frustration to many of its engineers and designers keen to modernise it, dispensing, for example, with the torsion bar suspension and introducing assisted steering and a less idiosyncratic ventilation system. Journalists in other respects always well disposed towards the 911 observed it was becoming increasingly an enthusiast’s car, lacking broader appeal and depriving Porsche of a wider market.

The 928 launched in 1977 was supposed to address the GT segment of the market, but by the time the Vorstand had approved the next 911, Typ 964 in April 1984, sales of the 928 were already in decline. The 964 itself was a radical step in engineering terms – a completely new chassis and suspension which allowed fitment of ABS and assisted steering, a larger and more potent flat six, and four-wheel drive.

A conservative board, however, would not permit the designers to change anything above the axle line, which meant the 964, despite its revised front and rear bumpers, looked remarkably similar to its predecessor. Moreover its four-wheel-drive, such an innovation when Audi introduced the Quattro in 1981, was no longer a sensation, and early 964 buyers were able to confirm what the magazine testers had found, that Porsche’s fixed 2:1 rear/front torque split made the latest 911 an uninspiring understeerer.

The rear-drive C2 911 appeared a year later, but by then the damage had been done: in a generally morose market, and one which had halved in the US, clearly the 964 would not be the model to rescue an increasingly beleaguered Porsche.

A rolling of management heads saw new blood brought into the company. A former Weissach R&D engineer named Ulrich Bez was enticed from BMW Tech to become engineering boss, and he appointed his chief designer at BMW, Harm Lagaaij, another ex-Weissach man, to reinvigorate Porsche styling. These two were the impetus behind the next 911: the 993.

Bez was particularly critical of the 964’s crude ride and the C4’s handling, and Lagaaij’s remark when he arrived at Porsche’s design studios in October 1989 that there was “nothing going on” has gone into the history books. Work on 911 Typ 993 would start within weeks of the 964 C2 reaching the showrooms.

This time, a chastened Vorstand, which had pensioned off its managing, engineering and styling directors in short order, was prepared to offer Bez and Lagaaij more licence, and the pair took as much advantage as their still-constrained development budget permitted. 

Nevertheless, the new 911 represented a challenge: how could the new 993 retain its defining ‘Neunelfer-ness’ yet be endowed with a more modern appearance and wider appeal? 

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