The Porsche 911 GT3 is Simply Sublime!
Updated: Jun 30
“The clutch catches in the middle but don’t ride it; it’s either on or off, nothing in-between.” Those were our parting words from Porsche South Africa’s PR Manager as we aimed the nose of a manual Porsche GT3 to the horizon to prove why 3 pedals will always be better than 2. Times like this are few are very far in-between. My brain just couldn’t contain my excitement as my right foot had the pleasure of showing how to best use 375kW of raw power to the tune of a manual gearbox, all at my control.
We leave the kind people of Porsche Center Cape Town and Francisco does the honours for us. From the passenger seat, the GT3 makes itself known from the get-go that this isn’t a car for the early morning school trips nor ambling around the city. Anyone that has driven an E platform BMW with early run flat tires will know of the harshness that I speak off. You forget on smooth roads but on a bad road, the suspension complains at the same rate as the passenger. The driver? As it quickly became my turn (older brother thing) all I cared for was to see the tachometer needle rush to its red line. Simple.
We set off from a fuelling station and I’m in full control of this steed. From the first gear change, the action is weighted like what it should, and the whole experience feels like you are the conductor of a very intimate choir. The fast pedal urges you to mash it to the floor, the gear shift ready for its part of the song and the break in power, noise and acceleration is so brief, the throw of the gear knob so direct and short, that as a season driver who cut his teeth on wonky manuals, you thought trails into “surely, I’m doing this as quick as the PDK?” More on that later…
This love affair grows with every gearshift, with every meter that you get to hear that raspy exhaust note. Life couldn’t get any better, and it doesn’t. Smack, boom, bang, we hit Cape traffic on a Friday, near a mountain pass that’s been closed. The “Shark Blue” GT3 is now running bumper to bumper with all of the taxis, Polo’s and the infinite number of Ford Rangers from JHB that are now waiting for their CAA number plates.
It is at this time that you have to pull off your best impersonation of the characters of the Madagascar movies as now you are in the bluest of blue sports cars, in arguably one of the prettiest places on the world, smiling and waving. I have never seen so many motoring enthusiasts at once and since we weren’t going anywhere, we had window conversations about the car with almost everyone who lined up in either side. Could this be, could we be having fun, while the world goes through war, crimes against humans and not forgetting a pandemic?
We get to the bottom of the mountain pass and as we look up at the ribbon of tarmac. We see that it’s sparsely decorated with cars but while we are both in dreamland about this lack of cars, a Metro officer who was manning the intersection makes a beeline for the car. I roll down the window to which he also states that he seen that there is little to no traffic in front of us and that it would be a shame if he didn’t see and hear an enthusiastic launch. Ever the crowd pleaser, I happily obliged and chased the revs in each of the low gears and this set us up for some of the best corners that you can experience without going on a track, while still abiding – albeit closely – to the speed limit.
The way the car changes direction is something I can’t get over. The part of your brain that monitors safety, being nice to others and importantly, how not to bang other people’s cars, is working overtime, as you come into a very tight hairpin at 65km/h. Yes, that doesn’t sound like much but when it’s a very acute angle and you trailed the brakes in and your mind says that “it’s about to oversteer” at any hint of throttle but then it doesn’t, and simply drives you out at a level of grip that doesn’t make sense, you are left gob-smacked as to the capabilities of this machine. At no time, did we come close to the GT3’s limit and that because its limit is so deep in its chassis that you really have to overdrive the GT3 to try and trip the car up.
We settled into our journey and now had an 80-kilometer drive along the coastline. Unlike its younger siblings, the GT3 Manual gets six ratios instead of seven and yes, this is my only bug bear with this set up. At the speed limit, the car sits at a rev range that has you looking for the next ratio. It’s not the worst of thing but for the five minutes that you have to take a call and not have to worry about something else that steering and changing gears, it pops up but as soon as you flex that right toe and things get moving again, you forget about that. Quick sticks!
Over at our overnight stop, we were greeted by the Porsche staff who were adamant that there was a bike that was Infront of us. There wasn’t…
The night was spent conversing about the new car and how Porsche keep moving the goal posts. With the 991.2 version of the GT3 in RS guise, in my mind, is the epitome of motoring and just couldn’t figure out how it’s been made so much better but yet, seems so familiar. You look at the details and yes, a “Car Person” will be able to single out all of the differences but to untrained eye, it could be a “facelift” and not a new car. The heart of the beast was taken straight off its racing production line. With motorsport everything, it was the next logical step in the evolution of the GT3. The new suspension set up with helper springs made sure to make us look like heroes ensuring the car did most of the work.
The next day, our steed was changed, and the most important change was the re-introduction to the PDK box. Now let’s get one thing straight. No manufacture makes a double-clutch auto like Porsche. I would delve into what makes their iteration so unique and fast but that’s all you need to know. It will launch all day every day without any need to cool down or driver some 100 kilometers until you can do it again. It’s simply magic that they have put into the car, and it will respond to your every need, 99% of the time. The 1% is just in case something does fail and I’m being quoted in a dealership.
The PDK changed the whole appeal of the car. I suddenly don’t have to be “on it” all the time. When you don’t have to worry about changing gears, you can spend more time taking in the experience as a whole and not looking at your line, while heal and toeing, while steering.
My summary of the GT3? `I don’t know what to expect with the RS version but a manual one of these with the with its gorgeous Subaru-eating rear wing is just the right stuff. In my mind, I’m quite the eccentric digital millionaire and for my imaginary spec, I’m doing a Manual Touring with retro fit rear seats for the kiddos and the wing, so we have somewhere to put the drinks and ice creams on our Sunday drive.