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I don't suppose any car this year will require less
introduction than this.
Come on, people.
It's the new GT3.
And so this is the new GT3 being driven up a hill
somewhere in Europe.
What to make of this car?
Well, let's drive it fast, and try and explain some of
what's going on.
I've got all the systems switched off at the moment.
I've got the PDK gearbox in normal, that's what's advised.
I've got the sports exhaust on, and I'm
shifting gear myself.
This is quite a car.
Revs to 9,000 RPM.
Rear-wheel steering, well, that's something new for me.
Because if I do this--
then the steering goes to absolutely fixed.
It's incredible, the calibration work they've done.
The chassis is a massive step on.
We've got a wider front track.
The car just turns so much better than the 997 version.
And because of the four-wheel steer working now, actively,
it's much more agile.
Much more agile.
Steering, well, we'll touch on that again in a minute.
The steering is superb compared to the normal 901.
There's a lot more weight.
I just feel more connected.
Now, let that engine go.
That's 9.
The last 500 RPM.
Just wow.
Interestingly, when I'm driving like this, I'm not
actually thinking, where's my manual gearbox?
But that does come.
I assure you, that does come.
This isn't quite one of our normal videos.
It was a smash and grab effort, shot on my own, hence
the camera sitting in the passenger
seat most of the time.
Because we had a chance to drive an engineering car very
early, and I grabbed it.
But before we delve further, let's have a look around.
You really need to see this thing in the flesh to
appreciate how much punchier it looks than a base 991.
That protruding chin-line, the big splitter element, and some
gaping intakes give the 991 GT3 a menace that's missing in
the base car.
You'll need the optional front axle lifter in town, as well.
The car uses the wider 991 body shell, which is almost
all aluminum.
And the claimed curb weight is 1,430 kilograms, which has got
people screaming it's too heavy.
But then, it does now have a PDK jaw
clutch gearbox as standard.
Porsche claims it can shift in less than 100 milliseconds.
There is no manual option.
I'll repeat that.
There is no manual option.
The box itself is heavier, but the new motor is
lighter than before.
It's a 3.8-liter flat-6, based on the Carrera motor, and it
produces 475 horsepower at 8,250 RPM, and 325
foot-pounds of torque.
The limiter is set at 9,000 RPM.
The claimed 0-to-100 time is 7.5 seconds,
which is naffing fast.
The ring lap time is 7 minutes, 25 seconds, on both
OE tires, the Dunlop and the Michelin.
These are the optional 20-inch forged rims, which look
achingly gorgeous, and are beautifully
dished at the rear.
For the first time, there is an OE Dunlop tire, measuring
305/30 at the rear and 245/35 at the front.
The rear steering works in the opposite direction to the
front wheels below 50 miles an hour, and in the same
direction above that speed.
So at low speed you get a shorter wheelbase feeling, and
at high speed a longer
wheelbase feeling for stability.
The interior's pretty subtle.
This car has the club sport pack, which gives you a
bolt-in rear cage and a fire extinguisher.
The carbon buckets have fixed backs.
All the control surfaces are Alcantara covered, except this
engineering car has a leather wheel.
And there's enough GT3 badging to remind you that you're not
driving a Carrera, although you should be shot if the way
this thing demolishes a road doesn't decide this for you.
There are some funky GT RS gadgets, too.
This performance meter thing I didn't really understand.
And the G-meter is a bit pointless, too.
But then, people love toys.
Me, I'm kind of more interested in the way the new
GT3 drives.
Now, I've thought long and hard about how to
approach this car.
How I should approach it as a journalist, how I should
approach it as a previous GT3 owner, how I should approach
it as a GT3 fan.
And I've reached this conclusion.
I think I need to separate the factual from the
philosophical, OK?
So I'll deal with the factual first.
This is what I see as the facts of the situation.
A company like Porsche--
any company that makes sports cars that's a sort of pioneer,
a market leader, whether it's a Ferrari, or a Maserati, or a
BMW, an Audi, a Mercedes AMG,--
they have to improve on the car that they replaced, right?
So the new GT3 had to identify what the old 997 GT3 did, and
do those things better.
[INAUDIBLE] lack of knowledge of those cars, I spent quite a
bit of time in them.
And the way I saw it, the following things
were not very good.
The front axle grip, at times, wasn't what you
wanted it to be.
It was a bit of a problem.
You found you had a lot of understeer.
Getting the car into a corner was a problem.
You had quite an aggressive differential that added to
that understeer, but then gave you quite severe oversteer
after that neutral point.
So the front axle of the car was always a bit of a problem.
Another problem is that even though people like me loved
the manual gearbox and felt it was the last of the great
driver's cars, there were an unknown number of people--
I say unknown, because they never got the chance to buy
one-- who wanted some paddles and didn't
want a manual gearbox.
And that's the way the market is inextricably going.
So factual situation is this.
Porsche's fixed the front axle problems on this car, for a
combination of wider front track, a totally different set
of kinematics, and lower arms to a normal 901 Carrera.
And this very clever rear-wheel steer system--
we can break down how it works and the way it does things,
but the reality is, on the road, you just
don't notice it.
You just have a steering wheel that, when you turn the car,
makes this car feel a whole load more agile, and
transparent, and easier to go fast in, than a 997.
It just wants to go into corners.
They've got a 997 GT3 here, I just jumped into it, and it
feels ancient by comparison.
You can't believe how much arm work you've got to put in.
So, yes.
In those terms, it's a massive result.
The steering.
Oh yeah.
There are no mechanical hardware changes
to this over a Carrera.
It's just a calibration and software job.
But by hell, if this steering doesn't appear on every single
911 soon, I'd be amazed.
OK, we've got different tracks, we've got a different
tire, we've got different spring and damper rates, we've
got a solidly-mounted lower-suspension arms--
that all helps give us a better connection to the road.
But this is, by far and away-- in fact, by a margin I can't
even explain-- better than any electric power steering I've
ever driven.
It really is quite superb.
Got a lot more weight to it.
Not once today have I thought I wish it
had hydraulic steering.
And that's a surprise, because I thought I would.
What about the engine?
Well, again, factually, once you've driven this thing,
you'll forget the Metzger ever existed.
I mean it revs, and revs, and revs.
OK, it's only 500, 600 RPM more than last time.
But that last 600 RPM, the noise--
this sort of hard, mechanical valve-train noise that comes
through-- that is addictive.
Absolutely addictive.
And it's a step change.
It's something entirely new.
OK, it doesn't rattle and graunch and make quite as many
characterful noises as before, but this doesn't feel very
related to a 901 that comes straight out of a 991 Carrera.
It feels very different.
Very different.
How they're gonna make it reliable to 9,000 RPM over
100,000 miles, I don't know.
But they're Porsche, so I'm sure they will.
Let's talk about the transmission.
Comfortably the best PDK that Porsche's ever made.
Fast, intuitive.
And just a step beyond in terms of what you can extract
on the road, in terms of performance.
And for many people, I suppose, enjoyment.
For me, maybe not.
But let me try and alter my point of reference for a
minute and pretend that--
I'm in a sports car market, I'm not, you know, David
Coulthard, I'm not Mark Lieb.
I'm a normal driver.
Well, I can extract so much more performance from this
car, compared to its predecessor, you can't make a
You just pull a lever, down two gears, I execute a perfect
heel-and-toe, I'm into the turn--
because that front axle wants to turn--
I've gotten amazing traction from those massive rear
Dunlops on this car--
it's easy.
It really is easy.
And it's-- you know what?
Earlier, I was going quite fast on some technical roads,
and I didn't once think I want a manual.
Because I realized that if I had a manual I'd almost have
too much work to do.
Where does that leave us?
Well, it leads us to the philosophical question.
And that's, should I be in a car with a badge that says GT3
on the boot, and all this heritage and history, and not
once have I changed gear myself in the time I've been
talking to you?
I've just left it in automatic, and it's been doing
it all for me.
Philosophically, is that acceptable?
Is that the way things should be?
I'm not so sure.
I think this car, objectively, is everything I hoped it would
be, and better.
It's so fast, it makes an amazing noise.
It just takes the game to a new level.
But I think a GT3--
or maybe not a GT3, but a car built by Porsche, the shape of
a 911, with this engine--
should be the last bastion of the manual gear change.
I think it's a massive shame that they haven't made the car
with a manual gearbox.
But I can't beat up what I've got here,
because it's so good.
It's such a good car to drive.
And it is so much fun.
But I do miss the fact that it's not a manual.
And I think there is a small portion of the marketplace
that will feel disenfranchised, and might not
go out and buy the car.
My guess is that for every one that doesn't buy it there
might be three or four that do buy it because
of what it's become.
What does that tell me about the GT3?
It probably tells me more about my beliefs in cars, and
what I want, and how that doesn't sync with the
marketplace, than it does about the GT3, if I'm being
honest with you.
But when you're up it, when you're driving it fast and you
step out of it, it is a piece of work.
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New Porsche 991 GT3. First Drive. - /CHRIS HARRIS ON CARS

2697 Folder Collection
稲葉白兎 published on November 1, 2014
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