Quick: name a major multinational automotive motorsport series where a rear-wheel drive, naturally aspirated vehicle isn’t the dominant player in the field. Sure, there’s a turbo here and Quattro there, but the Porsche GT3’s template is the recipe for success from F1 to the 24 hours of LeMans. This simplistic design demands predictable power and handling poise, rewarding the driver with a loyal soldier who doesn’t lose steam from heat stroke, or fall to a snapped axle shaft or roasted clutch. Which is why the Porsche GT3 is an effortless street machine that’ll never miss a beat on the track.
Seeing is believing, and love at first sight is only the beginning. Compared to bloated muscle cars, Godzilla GT-Rs and overwrought Ferraris, the current 911 is tribute to Porsche’s finest forefathers. It’s a tradition of continuous improvement while remembering where you came from. More to the point, the GT3 is cut from the same cloth. Beetle-like front projectors, voluptuous fenders, tall greenhouse and low beltline are both classic and contemporary in execution. And the roof’s gentle teardrop curvature works nicely with acres of tumblehome: all harmonizing with the anti-riceboy sweeps of the GT3’s dual plane rear spoiler. Aside from the immature smile on the front bumper’s face, this car has all the right lines in the right places.
Inside is more of the same story, except there’s less. As in no vestigial back seat, a feature not missed given Porsche’s top drawer carpeting and seamless interior design. The standard buckets have suede inserts to do the body hugging thing right, yet accommodate a variety of Yankee-posteriors with ease. The other race ready touch points (steering wheel and shifter) ditch their slippery leather coverings for more suede: paired with racing gloves, the GT3 provides a Velcro-like surface to help drivers focus on—wait for it–driving. Wow.
But there’s still room for improvement. By name and price tag alone, the GT3 is a poseur magnet: but even wannabes know sunroofs have no place on a serious track machine. Yet the Navigation with Sport Chrono package gives a host of track and road trip worthy functions that are worth every penny.
All of which disappears into nothingness when the business of driving ensues. The GT3’s rousing engine note demands silence from the cabin, with an angry, camshaft-dominating burble you can’t duplicate in a boosted 911. Let the clutch out, slowly build some revs and feel a car that’s as pure to drive as a Boxster, but pulls with all the veracity of a turbocharged boxer. Enjoy the perfectly weighted steering unmarred by power delivery duties, linear stoppers, a reasonably quiet ride and delightful engine bark at civilized speeds: even the race ready GT2 can’t match the smooth, consistent mannerisms of the GT3.
But this so isn’t a Boxster. Fast sweepers become tests of will and life insurance policies, as the GT3’s boundless grip and flat cornering create overconfident drivers like beer muscles on bad boy wannabe. It’ll happen to the best, considering the engine’s seamless thrust and baby powder smooth, quick ratio gearbox. Exit a corner, blip the throttle for a quick downshift, and power through the VarioCam’s 8000 rpm redline.
So let’s get serious. Drop the clutch and feel the GT3’s moderate low end torque, face-planting midrange and sternum-compressing top end. Goodness, this car just keeps revving and revving. Grab the suede shifter for another hit of Zuffenhausen’s hot sauce: keep the speed on, change it up with effortless straight line braking and then grab a lower gear, powering out the apex with ease.
Perhaps the GT3 makes performance driving too easy: the symphony of engine sounds, fragrant fabrics, Renaissance artist worthy controls and the ability to blur the scenery in a few seconds means there’s far too much gratification available from a single automobile. Yet, my time with the Porsche GT3 was all for not. Driving at 8/10ths is an insult to this car’s potential: unfortunately there wasn’t a racetrack in sight.
Pity that. If only there was a road course to pit the 3100lb GT3 against the other all-motor heavyweight, the 3200lb Corvette Z06. The GT3’s stunning Pirelli PZero rubber aside, the General’s long forgotten mega-horse monster is still a credible threat to Porsche’s finest: run both on race tires and things might get real ugly, real fast. Then again, the bargain basement Z06 is approachable for good reason: there isn’t a single serrated edge on the GT3. Once again, the Porsche justifies its premium.
But few Porkers come along with this much grunt, sans power robbing all-wheel drive and forced induction’s delayed gratification. The Porsche 911 GT3 is a sports car in the purist sense, providing confident understatement and manhandle-free performance in any driving condition. It’s the pure-ist Porsche, pure and simple.
[Motorwerks of Houston provided the vehicle reviewed]
You can never have enough power, but this one’s got enough.
Reasonably calm, quiet and collected on the street.
And it might be the best in the world.
If a regular 911 is dull, this is good taste’s upper limit of good taste.
Porsche perfection with a kick of suede for extra comfort.
Fit and Finish 5/5
Insert a blanket statement on German Engineering here.
Navigation, Bluetooth, Sport Chrono and the make for Track and Street perfection.
A little pricey, but rich people don’t exactly lust for a Z06.
Price as Tested: $115,170
Perfect on the track, perfect enough on the street. Which is perfect.