Matt tries out the 2 final 997.1 911s again to again to seek out if it’s the pure driving instrument or the ballistic powerhouse which reigns supreme.
Written by: Matt Parker
There are days that are higher than others, after which there are days which is able to keep on with you for a very long time to come back – at this time was very a lot the latter. Our associates at John Holland simply occurred to have the 2 final variants off the 997 Gen I Porsche 911 in inventory – GT2 and GT3 RS – and stated that we may take them each for the day for a again to again function. Sounds just like the stuff of desires for a self-confessed Porsche nut like myself!
I already had an thought in my head of how the 2 would examine. I believed the GT2 can be brutally fast however finally that the GT3 RS can be the higher dealing with, extra thrilling machine with its screaming naturally aspirated engine.
Sufficient theorising although, it’s time to get behind the wheel of the 2 final iterations of the 997.1 technology 911. After a lot deliberating and a little bit of eeny, meeny, miny, moe, I resolve to begin with the GT2 – the one they name ‘The Widowmaker’.
Each vehicles have large presence however the GT2 is extra a kind of ‘if you recognize, you recognize’ vehicles in refined silver, whereas the GT3 RS shouts about its racing roots with orange stickers and an enormous carbon fibre wing. As you’d count on, each vehicles have bucket seats and roll cages however the GT3 RS is as soon as once more the extra full-on machine, sporting six-point harnesses in addition to the usual crimson seat belts.
Anybody who has pushed a daily 911 will really feel at dwelling behind the wheel of the GT2, it’s all very acquainted aside from the upright carbon-backed bucket seats and the Alcantara steering wheel and kit lever. Issues begin to change, although, as quickly as you press the clutch to begin the automotive. It’s a lot heavier than that of a Carrera and that theme continues as you seize first gear and switch the wheel, each management having a substantial and pleasing heft to it.
When you get used to the load of the controls, although, the GT2 is as docile as every other 911 at cruising speeds. Within the PASM adaptive dampers’ tender setting, the journey is firmer than a Carrera however nothing such as you’d think about from a track-focussed Porsche, even over the crumbling roads of South Yorkshire. Agency mode is greatest saved for a billiard desk observe.
At any pace, the gearbox is the most effective I’ve ever used and is completely befitting of the rifle bolt cliche. Getting onto the M1 for a brief stretch, I glanced in my mirror and, barely obscured by the GT2’s large wing, Adam was on my tail within the GT3 RS – “That is going to be an excellent day!”, I believed.
As if the usual GT2’s fame isn’t fearsome sufficient, this explicit one has been remapped too. I’m unsure of the precise energy output, however John Holland suggests it’s in extra of 600bhp, up from the usual automotive’s 530. Torque is effectively in extra of 500lb ft all the way in which from 2,200 to 4,500rpm, so it is sensible that it provides you fairly the thump within the again.
Since we have been on a four-lane motorway, it appeared the best time to dip my toe into the GT2’s notorious energy, so I dropped down to 3rd, tentatively wound my method onto full throttle and “Oh. My. God.” The power with which the automotive thrusted ahead and pinned me in my seat actually took me again, and it will proceed to take action each time I bought anyplace close to the enhance for the remainder of the day.
As we escape the motorway onto some extra Porsche-appropriate roads, I resolve to strive my hand at second gear for the primary time. Ranging from round 2,500rpm, there’s some hesitation as these turbos awaken however then all hell breaks unfastened. The rear hunkers down, pushing the sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s into the tarmac. They scramble about for grip and the entrance finish desires to maneuver throughout the street because it lifts below the huge torque. It’s evident you’d want a whole lot of room to essentially exploit a GT2, however on the street, you simply maintain on for pricey life and chuckle out loud till your lungs harm.
The GT2 exceeded all expectations and I’ve by no means pushed something fairly as unhinged, so I questioned if it is likely to be a little bit of a let down when the time got here to swap to the surgeon’s scalpel after Thor’s hammer.
There isn’t a whole lot of noise past the infinite whoosh of the turbos, however you’re so busy focussing on taming the beast that it doesn’t appear to matter. Actually, I really like the way it simply sounds of pure energy, even when it’s just a little quiet.
When you’ve scrubbed off your principally possible severe pace with the massively efficient carbon ceramic brakes, flip in is sharp and the automotive is superbly composed by way of corners as you collect your ideas collectively and marvel in the event you’re feeling able to deploy the mad energy once more on exit.
A splendidly old-school character shines by way of within the GT2. It’s closely turbocharged motor and mechanical handbook field give it a contemporary F40 sort of really feel in that you just anticipate the turbos, journey a wave of brutal enhance, seize the subsequent gear and the method begins over again. It’s addictive, hilarious and albeit fairly scary in equal measure!
The GT2 exceeded all expectations and I’ve by no means pushed something fairly as unhinged, so I questioned if it is likely to be a little bit of a let down when the time got here to swap to the surgeon’s scalpel after Thor’s hammer. There’s just one approach to discover out!
After hoisting myself out of the GT2’s carbon buckets, I drop into these of the GT3 RS and it’s a lot of the identical inside, which is not any dangerous factor. The bucket seats are barely totally different and the roll cage is much more severe wanting being vibrant orange within the rear-view mirror! I take the lazy strategy, choosing the common seatbelts quite than faffing with the harnesses as Adam did to make himself really feel like a correct racing driver as we carved our method across the Pennines.
Earlier than we go, I’ve the phrases of the blokes at John Holland ringing in my ear that this GT3 RS has a flawless rev vary report and has by no means been over-revved by a missed shift or grabbing the fallacious gear even as soon as in its ten-year life – greatest watch out then!
The naturally aspirated 3.6-litre Mezger flat six is noticeably louder than the twin-turbocharged unit within the GT2. Many individuals wax lyrical concerning the Mezger motor which has now been changed by a brand new direct injection engine within the more moderen 991 GT3 and it’s straightforward to see why. It’s essentially the most mechanical sounding engine I’ve ever encountered; actually, the only mass flywheel signifies that there’s an nearly alarming quantity of chatter at idle with the clutch launched however it’s all a part of the allure.
As soon as shifting, attain round 3,000rpm and provides it sufficient throttle and the valves open, releasing essentially the most pure motorsport soundtrack I’ve heard in a street automotive, howling by way of the automotive and screaming as much as its 8,400rpm redline.
There’s noticeably much less shove than the GT2, particularly low down; the GT3 makes you’re employed for its energy however the rewards are greater than price it. 409bhp may not sound like lots while you’ve simply skilled 600 plus, however it’s so usable that you end up making simply as a lot progress as you’d within the extra highly effective automotive, flowing superbly alongside a winding street the place you’d be clinging on in The Widowmaker.
The automotive feels much more tied down than the GT2 and rather more exploitable for mere mortals with its linear energy band and unimaginable traction. Even because the rain began to fall and Adam was on the radio telling me that the GT2 was attempting to kill him, the GT3 RS may put its full energy down, even on the identical Michelin semi-slicks because the GT2.
Perhaps that unshakeable competence of the GT3 RS means there’s much less of a studying curve than within the difficult and intimidating GT2 – I really feel like mastering the GT2 can be fairly a bit of labor however a massively rewarding achievement!
They’re such totally different vehicles that you just’d hardly imagine they arrive from the identical base mannequin, solely actually feeling comparable of their strong controls and refreshingly again to fundamentals feeling when in comparison with the most recent supercars. That’s the place the similarities between the 2 vehicles’ driving experiences finish, although.
The GT3 RS is a automotive you move with down a rustic street, carrying pace earlier than getting on the facility early and winding it out all the way in which to redline to get essentially the most from the motor and encompass your self with that wonderful motorsport soundtrack. The GT2 must be proven rather more respect; you possibly can nonetheless carry loads of pace by way of the twisties, however you want some endurance with the throttle. When you’re positive the street is straight you possibly can wind onto the throttle and really feel the enhance construct, and maintain constructing. The whoosh of the turbos is the one noise that accompanies you however it’s such an intense expertise, in contrast to any automotive I’ve ever pushed.
Whenever you take a look at the market, each vehicles haven’t far off doubled in worth within the final 5 years and each are asking no less than 25% greater than once they left the manufacturing facility ten years and nearly thirty thousand miles in the past. There isn’t an enormous hole of their costs at this time both at £129,00 for the GT3 RS and £149,000 for the GT2. The skyrocketing of Porsche sports activities vehicles appears to have inevitably come to an finish, however each vehicles will certainly characterize a strong place to maintain your cash whilst you get pleasure from driving them. The GT3 RS seems to be significantly beautiful worth to me while you attempt to discover comparable vehicles for comparable cash.
The actual fact is, they don’t make them like this anymore. Positive Porsche will now promote you a model new GT3 with a handbook transmission however there’s a compactness and an nearly old-school again to fundamentals feeling each of those vehicles offer you that appears to have escaped from nearly all trendy sports activities and supercars. There’s no faux exhaust or consumption noise and no pc programmed pops and crackles, simply pure, mechanical noises that may by no means get previous.
Which might I’ve? In case you actually pushed me to select, the GT3 RS can be the one for its extra exploitable efficiency and wonderful noise. Actually although, these two 911s complement one another so completely that, when you have the means, you actually do want each. In the event that they have been mine, I’d drive the GT3 RS more often than not, however for the odd morning after I’d taken a full pack of courageous drugs, nothing may fairly examine to the GT2.
For a Porsche fanatic like myself, days don’t get a lot better than this and we owe an enormous thanks to John Holland for letting us unfastened with two of the final word Porsche 911s.
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