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Porsche Celebrates Twenty Years of the 911 GT3

The GT3’s formula is something that stirs any driver with a drop of motor oil in their veins. A high-revving naturally-aspirated flat six engine closely related to the engine used in motorsports, rear wheel-drive, a lightweight construction, upgraded aerodynamics, and track-focused suspension made the GT3 a must for the drivers wanting a little more than what most supercars could offer. While there are cars with greatest statistics, the well-rounded nature of the GT3 has made it a wondrous car that still pulls at our heartstrings after twenty years. As we’ve seen, integrating more tech hasn’t dulled its appeal, either.

The successor to the 2.7 RS, the 996 GT3 ushered in a level of performance not available to customers for two decades.

Spiritual Successor

Upon its release in 1999, the Porsche GT3 was one of the few road cars to lap the Nurburgring in less than eight minutes; Walter Rohrl snagged a 7:56.33 in one of these edgy, temperamental, and rewarding cars. Lowered suspension, a distinct aero kit with an adjustable rear wing, a standard limited slip differential, adjustable suspension, and 360 horsepower made this one of the sharpest 911s available. While we Americans didn’t receive the GT3 until the 996 was facelifted, the two years on the market had us all waiting eagerly for the arrival of the next generation.

More Tech, More Speed

It was the 997 which captured the public’s attention Stateside. A bevy of new electronic systems, divided control arms, more power, and eventually center-lock hubs, the 997 was a step or two in practicality beyond the first iteration. Traction control, electronic stability control, and an optional front axle lift system made this generation of car a much more usable product, but still as capable over a backroad or a circuit. In fact, the 997 GT3 was significantly faster with a 7:40 lap at the ‘Ring.

Sophisticated but Pure

Continuing on that theme, the 991 introduced both a PDK gearbox and rear wheel-steering. These gadgets caused outrage among the purists, but the resulting performance only helped cement the 991 GT3’s reputation as one of the best track cars on sale. With its 3.8-liter’s 485 horsepower pushing a still svelte 3,153-lb car, the 991 GT3 became much more of a dragster than its predecessors, and its improved aero and agility helped chop another massive margin off its previous lap time at the Nurburgring. There aren’t many cars in the GT3’s price range which can dawdle around town comfortably and still set a ‘Ring time of 7:25.

Despite twenty years of electronic assistance and greater practicality, Porsche’s rawest car is still a hot-blooded machine. Perhaps it’s not as focused as its spiritual forebear, the 2.7 RS, but it’s still a thrilling, demanding car that rewards the talented. The 911 GT3 represents the beating heart of Porsche’s commitment to building pure, uncompromised sports cars—and proves that involvement and usability aren’t mutually exclusive.

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Ride Onboard For Some Silky Smooth Laps in a Track-Spec 996 GT3 at Road America

Photos & video courtesy of Ryan Gates/311RS, LLC.

With the right modifications, the 996 GT3 becomes a car that will sway the most skeptical, please the frigid, and bring out the best in the timid. Not that it was slow from the factory, but with some talented tuners and a skilled set of hands making the most out of the least loved of the GT lineup, we see that it—like every other member of its purebred stable—is made for carving quick laps and stretching smiles.

Minneapois-based motorsports design firm 311RS is responsible for making this GT3 into something capable of cracking off consistent laps in the 2:26-range. They spared no expense here, starting with JRZ-RS Pro coilovers with custom 311RS damping. ERP arms and solid bushings came next, and the suspension maximizes the footprint made by the 311RS-spec BBS E88 18×9″ & 18×11.5″ wheels wrapped in Michelin Sport Cup 2s.

With roughly 400 horsepower courtesy of a Cup exhaust, BMC filters, an IPD plenum, and a tune, it’s definitely rapid and needs serious stopping power. The brakes, still factory reds, use Girodisc rotors, Pagid Yellow pads, and stainless lines. For a track as fast as Road America with heavy braking zones, these bring the ~3,000-lb GT3 to a stop. On that note—they trimmed a little heft by removing the airbags, sun visors, glove box, front console, and head unit. It’s a track special, no doubt.

More than its straightline speed and its stopping ability, this GT3’s stability and responsive front end are its most impressive features. Rather than some frightening, hair-trigger monster, it’s composed and neutral, especially in high speed corners. Granted, Ryan Gates has the deft touch of an experienced driver, but no wiggling under braking, no mild corrections in the quick stuff, and only a hint of oversteer on turn-in proves 311RS really dialed it in. Perhaps a more aggressive driver would bring out its fangs, but Gates is still clicking off quick times with a very economical, subdued style.

Perhaps the large RS wing at the rear must help there, and the broad front splitter can’t hurt. Clearly, it’s a reassuring car with balance, braking performance, and punch enables Gates to charge without breaking a sweat and reel in some 991s. Note the distance he gains in braking and entry speed through the daunting Turn 11, known as the Kink (6:54). There, you want a car to sit nicely lest you leave a big black streak along the outside wall.

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Clandestine Collecting- A Porsche Collection Built in Secret

After a bad riding accident Lisa Taylor swapped horses for Porsches, and built up a secret collection worth drooling over. Though she had owned Porsches since the early 1980s, a 911 replaced her first-generation RX-7 in 1981, it wasn’t until later that Lisa caught the collecting bug. Her current collection is nothing less than impressive. In addition to a handful of air-cooled Porsches, including an Oslo Blue 2.7RS, Lisa’s collection includes numerous modern GT-series models. After giving up horse racing Lisa purchased a black and orange 997 GT3 RS from no less than Patrick Dempsey, and things only spiraled from there.

Lisa is a car enthusiast through and through. She and her father built her first car in the 1970s, an Aztec kit car (which looks like this, for the uninitiated), and has owned performance cars of one sort or another ever since. Lisa won’t confess exactly how many cars she owns, preferring the secret to overt bragging. She does allude to Mclarens and Acura NSXs also in the collection, and what is on display ticks all the right boxes.

Lisa’s tastes run towards high performance models in extremely extroverted colors. While mint green, Rubystone Red, Amethyst Metallic and vivid oranges might not be best for keeping a low profile, they certainly suit the cars in her collection beautifully. One 911 even appears to be color matched to Bianchi Celeste Green rather than a Mint from the Porsche catalog.

Did we mention that all of Lisa’s cars wear Michelin tires? Kudos, Lisa, and we certainly wouldn’t mind if you kept showing off your collection a little bit at a time for a long time to come.

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New 2017 Porsche 911 GT3 driven on UK roads: verdict

A new 4.0-litre engine derived from the GT3 Cup cars, a 991 GT3 RS-matching 500hp output, 997 GT3 RS-equaling downforce and the return of the manual gearbox alongside PDK makes the new Porsche 911 GT3 an even more compelling choice in 991 Gen2 guise. Mixing up elements of RS and R DNA, as well that from the Cup car, the Porsche 911 GT3 is a hedonistic shot of driver purity that underlines Porsche’s GT department is very much playing it’s ‘A’ game.

And so to the A422, Warwickshire. My drive home. I’ve driven the stretch from Banbury to Stratford Upon Avon so many times I know every twist and turn, crest, dip and rise. There’s a German-plated Porsche 911 GT3 here, and I’ve got the keys. It’d be rude not to go for a drive. Right?

I’ll not go over the details, you’ve read them previously on Total911.com. You need to know it’s a PDK, the manual’s being driven a few hours after you read this, but hey, we’re not so blinkered by the return of the stick to ignore the seven-speed PDK. Anything else? Well, there’s 500hp from that new 4.0-litre engine, it borrowed largely from the GT3 Cup cars. Still as enthusiastic for revs, it’s 9,000rpm limit is retained, but there’s the promise of even greater flexibility further down the rev range.

So it transpires, too. The new 911 GT3’s 4.0-litre boxer engine is different. Good different, the authority with which it gathers pace at lower engine speeds is notable, even if the sound it makes isn’t quite as appealing. Initially, at least, get more than 4,000rpm on the rev-counter and the old, howling, mechanical magic is there, the 4.0-litre a charismatic, immediate, and exotic-sounding unit that might have a racer’s edge, but it achieves that without any road car compromises.

Like that new powerplant, the rest of the GT3 formula has been finessed. The suspension has been overhauled. Spring and damper rates, the geometry, new GT3 specific tyres and detailed changes to the rear-wheel steering system are clear on the road. The GT3 mixes tight, fine control with a compliance that’s remarkable given its clear focus. The steering response is as immediate as you’d wish for, the brakes mighty, the PDK’s shifting with such quickness you’d swear those paddles were anticipatory.

The very definition of a puristic 911, the GT3’s an absolute triumph, more forgiving and exploitable as a road car than the RS, more R in its character, and unique among not just the 911 line-up but all its contemporaries. We expected a lot from this car. And it’s very much delivered.

The most in-depth review of Porsche’s new 991.2 GT3 anywhere on the newsstand can be found in Total 911 issue 153, in shops from 17th May.

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Best of Ruben Zeltner Porsche GT3 Rally Action

Not a fan of rallying and much prefer road or track racing? Well, the following 28 minute video may change your mind. This long yet extremely thrilling clip showcases rally driver Ruben Zeltner in his white Porsche 911 GT3 racing … Best of Ruben Zeltner Porsche GT3 Rally Action More news at
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