Thankfully, we managed to sample the GT3 on its natural playground of a race circuit, as we took to the technical handling circuit at the Aldenhoven Testing Centre and the Sepang International Circuit to put it through its paces.
Any 911 model to bear the ‘GT3’ moniker has huge shoes to fill, especially since purists can’t seem to let go of the fact that the latest model is now ‘PDK-only’. Of course, this sort of resistance occurs whenever the brand undergoes a big technical shift, be it air-cooled to water-cooled, Mezger to direct-injection and now, stick-shift to PDK, but apart from the rabid minority, the dust of such contention typically settles down into a grudging acceptance.
We’ve decided to include the GT3 in this tally because the local cars are just about getting their new engines after the massive recall earlier this year. After our run in the GT3 at Sepang, we’re happy to report that it is in rude health and ready to rumble.
The depth of the 911 model range means every variant from ‘entry-level’ to top-tier Turbo S share the same general shape, but driving purists and the brand’s legion of fans appreciate that the beauty of the sportier versions, especially the GT models, is more than just skin deep.
Even at rest, the GT3 always looks like it’s ready to go, and go-fast at that. The cabin is a driver’s haven and we’ve always found Alcantara to be comfortable, at least compared to leather. In this application though, the Alcantara is intended to reduce the glare from reflections, you know, when you’re hurtling down your favourite race-track at maximum attack mode and don’t want to be distracted.
Flogging the GT3 hard is like biting into a really juicy steak, as you experience a vivid explosion of flavours and that slight tang of blood with every mouthful. It takes huge chunks of meat from every corner, much like a lion would from a fleeing gazelle.
The blood lust only grows as the lap count increases, since you become increasingly more reluctant to part company with the GT3, especially not when you feel it has so much more to share as both man and machine meld their minds to act as one. Communication is digital immediate, but the steering feel is pure analogue warmth: feel, weight and precision are never matters to compromise in a GT3 and the 991 is no exception.
There’s no fighting to bend the car to your will, only the most fluid, fleet-footed progress as each learns the limits of the other as we conquer the circuit together. Every shift is like a brief detonation of unbridled performance, since this is not the type of dual-clutch that coddles you by softly slurring the gear-changes.
Every lap seems to uncover a new facet to the GT3’s abilities, be it in terms of pure mechanical grip, weight-transfers and body-rotation, with each minutiae of detail drawing you back into its fiery embrace – just when you think you’ve had enough, the car’s talents take your breath away again, as you reach yet another new level of motoring nirvana.
The GT3 isn’t just another one of those giggle-out-loud, instant gratification fast cars – it must be coaxed, cajoled and properly courted before it lets you into the inner circle. Nothing that comes easily is ever treasured, and so it is with the GT3, as you really have to work hard at driving it fast, but then again, the best things in life are always worth working for.
Porsche 911 GT3
Engine: 3799cc, flat6, naturally-aspirated
Transmission: 7spd PDK dual-clutch
Top speed: 315km/h
Fuel consumption: 12.4l/100km