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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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Watch Adam Carolla Guide his Ex-Paul Newman 935 Around Laguna Seca

Even when streaking downhill, the power advantage of the turbo cars is obvious.

This isn’t the first time Adam Carolla’s taken his ex-Newman 935 around Laguna Seca. Now a familiar face at the big-name vintage events there, he shows some genuine bravery when threading this $4.8M racing icon through traffic at this year’s Rennsport.

Though it’s a bit like hanging a Picasso above the stove, competing in the 935 is what it was meant to do—and the thick-skinned former host of The Man Show and Loveline proves his mettle by hustling this machine around a field of drivers of varying talent. The field’s one throughline: all the cars seen here cost a pretty penny. Therefore, even if the lap here is a bit on the casual side, he deserves a tip of the hat; putting a car that pricey in a compromising situation takes some courage.

What is obvious is the power advantage he and the driver of the yellow 935 enjoy. Screaming past a field of focused RSRs and 944 GTRs, the force-fed six is a real asset—especially at the power-favoring Laguna Seca circuit. With 589 horsepower and 437 lb-ft of torque powering a car weighing a mere ~2,200 pounds, it accelerates like an ICBM.

There are likely very few former construction workers who now fire a classic racing car around one of the most prestigious racing tracks in the world as a hobby. Watching this footage certainly gives me some motivation to wake up a little earlier in the morning.

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Jeff Zwart on the sound that first drew him to Porsche

According to Jeff Zwart, the distinctive sound of a Porsche six-cylinder engine is what drew him in to the brand. With the possible exception of the 928, no classic Porsche really sounds right at idle. Most Porsches need to be prodded with a stick. Until you wind it up, a 356 or 914 sounds like a Volkswagen bus. The 924 sounds like an AMC Gremlin (though for obvious reasons, this doesn’t really change as revs climb). Even early 911s sound fairly timid at idle. Driven hard, the way Porsche intended, things change radically. Induction noise drowns out the mechanical chatter, and with heat and vigor, a pile of aircooled parts cruising in loose formation becomes a force of nature.

Jeff’s story started with Porsche, he learned to drive in his father’s 1964 Porsche 901, chassis #35. Zwart’s first car was a 1973 Porsche 914-6, which he still owns. Indeed, his first car is still part of his collection and in 1997 he claimed second place in the 10,000 mile Panama to Alaska rally in it. Forty years on, his passion for the brand burns brightly as ever, and he continues to be closely associated with Porsche.

Jeff’s introduction to Porsche is not typical, and few of us had early-production 911s in the family garage. In the comments, share what drew you into the Porsche brand!

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The Top Ten Coolest Street Porsches From Rennsport

There are so many totally cool Porsches at Rennsport Reunion that aren’t even Rennsport racers. While walking around the track for three days, I saw a ton of incredible street going Porsches. Here are ten of my favorite, in order of awesome quotient. Check them out and drop your favorites (or whether you agree or disagree with our choices) in the comments below.

10. A Porsche 924 Carrera

It’s no secret that I absolutely love Porsche’s Transaxle cars, and the 924 Carrera GTS is among my most favorite of that lineup. I didn’t spend enough time scoping this one out to verify whether it was real or not, but if it’s a replica, it appears to be a relatively convincing one. Very cool car, either way.

9. The Guntherwerks 400R

It’s been on the scene for over a year now, but the Guntherwerks 400R is still a beautiful machine to see in person. It’s incredibly wide, especially at the front, and takes the concept of the 993 to its fullest extent. This is what the 993 was always meant to be. The full carbon body 993 they were showing off on the same stage was equally cool, but didn’t photograph as well. The red will always be my personal favorite anyway.

8. Ruf CTR2

Does a CTR really need an explanation? This is the single most rad Ruf ever built.

7. Pre-Safari Off Roader 911

This old 911 Targa has been running around for years in NORRA off road racing. Before the current Safari trend, there was this car. For the last couple of years it’s been sidelined with a blown engine, so I was a little bit surprised to see it out and about. Dirty as always, and well loved.

6. Porsche Fresno’s Savage1 Project Car

Porsche Fresno took this high-mile 993 C2 in on trade, and because it would otherwise have gone to a used car auction, they decided to turn it into something of a promo car for their shop. With a set of KW Clubsport wheels, a nice pair of carbon kevlar GT seats, a completely unmuffled exhaust, and some questionable aesthetic changes, it was built with the intent of driving about as fun as any car can while grabbing attention. Hate it or love it, this 993 rips.

5. Canepa Design’s 959 SC In Tangerine

This car is about ten steps above a ‘regular’ 959. With several hundred more horsepower than stock, a complete bare-metal restoration, and a complete color change, each 959 SC is different from all others. A half dozen or so of these have been finished thus far, but the Tangerine example remains my favorite. If you’re going to go all out, you may as well choose an eye-searing color with historic ties to the Porsche brand.

4. The Formula One-powered Porsche 930

Allegedly 12 of these V6 turbo-powered 930s were built in the 1980s and tucked away in hiding for that long. For years I’d hardly heard any word about them, and then one magically resurfaced at Rennsport. The story goes that one of McLaren’s higher-ups (allegedly Ron Dennis) wanted a TAG Porsche V6 engine in his 911. Whatever the backstory, it’s extremely cool.

3. This Road Worn Porsche 356C Coupe

Porsches are meant to be driven. If your new 991 doesn’t look like this in 50 years, you’re doing something wrong.

2. Vonnen Performance Hybrid 991 GT3

Home-brew electric performance is the wild west of modified cars at the moment, and I could not love it more. Vonnen has added an electric motor in place of the stock flywheel, and it adds a whopping 175 horsepower for short bursts. Their kit is available to fit all 991 and 981 model 911, Boxster, and Cayman built between 2012 and 2016, including Turbo and GT3 examples. A very cool project.

1. Rock Chip Heaven Nine-Eleven

Bar none, this is the single coolest car in the parking lot. It’s used. A lot. and it has the battle scars to prove it. With a roll bar in the back, a rear seat delete, hundreds of thousands of hard miles worth of rock chips, and a gorgeous patina developed, this might be the best 911. I appreciate it so much, and I want to be friends with the person who drives it.

 

Honorable Mention – My Steed For The Weekend, The Rad44

As a fun car to drive, the 944 owns all for the money. A few friends and I purchased this 944 to share as a fun ride, and also as a marketing tool for Radwood, our 80s and 90s car show. This 944 is a European model with no sunroof, a manual steering rack, and a manual transmission. Since we got it, we installed a set of Campagnolo wheels from Group 4, a set of Pirelli P6000 vintage-look tires from Tire Rack, and a few other minor upgrades, as well as the livery, which was inspired by the 924 Carrera GTS that ran the 1982 Rally Monte Carlo with Hugo Boss sponsorship. I drove this car on the Momo Road To Rennsport Rally last week, and it’s been a blast.

 
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Porsche Pictures From Rennsport Reunion VI

We had such an incredible time at Rennsport Reunion this weekend, and we will be uploading more content from the largest Porsche motorsport event in history. For now, we’ve got an incredible array of photography from the extremely talented eyes of Brett Sloan and Greg Keysar, who were both at Laguna Seca watching it go down in real time. With shots from the race track, around the paddock, and in the vendor row, of cars both brand new and ancient, this is an excellent aproximation of what it was like to be at Rennsport. Of course, it’s impossible to truly experience Rennsport solely through photos, so check back throughout the week to see our extended coverage.

 
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