Diminishing returns and the 991 GT3

A lot of people are counting on this car to be the ‘best-ever’ GT3, which makes no sense to me. The GT3 is the stripped, purest version of the 911, so why would I want it to start from the most complicated and arguably compromised 911 platform?

Before this car debuted, I had been wondering if the 997 was that last 911 that’s still cool to like. I’m just talking about standard model 911s, for right now. The 991 is an incredible car, but depending on your view of what the 911 is, it’s quite possible that the 991 is one increment too far from the 911 premise. In retrospect, we may see the 997 as the last 911 that seems traceable to the old cars.

That’s a broad, easily dismissed thought. But the beef with the GT3 isn’t. What is the GT3? It’s not the fastest 911. It’s the rawest, most precise and most sorted. If it was about being the fastest, it would be a Turbo. So if that’s the premise of the GT3, the 991 is such a polished, noise-canceling base to start with, it’s not ridiculous to theorize that the rawest variant of 991 is probably still more insulated and digitized than a base 996.

With this type of car, it’s simply a matter of diminishing returns. A big part of what makes the GT3 a GT3 is that it feels like the closest to an older 911. More racecar than luxury car. If that’s your view, why would you want a 991? If you think of the GT3 as just the fastest NA 911, this one is fine. It’s more GT-R than GT3, and it will be exceedingly quick. But I think the GT3 is about more than lap times. The people who equate “newest” with “best” will be very happy.  It’s about connection, communication and the sensory inputs it delivers. A car that delivers less of those inputs can still be a very quick car, but I’m not sure it makes a great GT3.

We saw this happen with the M3, and it’s an almost inevitable dilemma: the goals of the mass-market platform move in the opposite direction of the goals of the niche, driving-oriented version. Because of this divergence, you can have a ‘perfect’, “best-ever” base car (in this case, standard 911, or regular 3-series) that achieves all of it’s goals, while the performance version is not as good as it’s predecessors. This is almost a certain fate for the GT3, if not this version.

And I never even mentioned PDK.

The ultimate guide to determine if your sedan-based coupe is useless

Whenever someone brings up a coupe that’s just a two-door version of an existing sedan, my impulse is to immediately criticize the vehicle and then make snap judgements about the life choices of anyone who’s bought one. They are completely useless.

I love impractical, useless cars. We all do. In a performance car, sacrifices must be made. Back seats? Toss them. Trunkspace? It had to go. But I’m not talking about performance cars here. I’m talking about the coupes made when a car company takes an existing four-door, and turns it into a coupe. It’s a recipe for…something bland that I’ve already forgotten the name and taste of.

Continue reading…

2012 List: Every car I drove this year

Continuing my douchey humblebrag list of cars I’ve driven in the past year, here is my list for 2012. Same disclaimer applies: some I drove for ten minutes, some for a week.

Up until just two-and-a-half years ago, the most powerful car I had ever driven had 315 horsepower (BMW M Coupe). Thanks to greater opportunities, and ever-soaring horsepower figures in this crazy age we live in, that number has been topped countless times in some unexpected ways. To put it in perspective, 9 out of the 11 Ford models in this list have 365hp of more. Continue reading…

Driving Circuit of the Americas in a Cadillac CTS-V

Two weeks ago I had the chance to drive on Circuit of the Americas in a 556-horsepower Cadillac CTS-V. Needless to say, it was an incredible experience. The track is light years beyond any track I’ve ever driven. Here are a few notes: Continue reading…

Attending the 2012 United States Grand Prix

It’s not very often that your favorite international racing series decides to hold a motor race practically in your backyard, but I’ll take it! It’s taken me years to make it to a live Formula 1 race, but it finally happened and was better than I dreamed.

The last time I was at Circuit of the Americas was in March, and it was still mostly dirt and expectations. My, has it changed. The facility is incredible, and almost overwhelmingly huge. It takes a while to get anywhere, so you tend to stake out one spot and stay in that area for most of the day. Continue reading…