Posts Tagged: 911

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.

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…

35mm Pictures from Monterey (that took 3 years to scan)

These previously-unpublished images are scans from the 2009 Monterey Historics which featured Porsche. In addition to the digital and Holga pictures I took at the time, I shot a few rolls with my Olympus Trip 35, which I finally got around to scanning. I’m headed to the same event later this week, which was partially the motivation for getting these scanned. Continue reading…

No dramatic title needed: Driving impressions of the Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Last fall at a track event I got the chance to drive a Porsche 996 GT3. It left an impression on me. 

It wasn’t the fastest or the sexiest car I’ve driven, but, simply, the best car I’ve driven. The GT3, any GT3, is just that good. Tight, connected, visceral – it’s everything you want in a car. It’s the most honed-in version of the most evolved car on the planet. So after writing some words about the 996 GT3, David, a Drivers Edge instructor and commenter on this very blog offered to let me try out his newer 997 GT3 RS for comparison. In the name of science, I agreed.  Continue reading…

Porsche 991 pictures published

I got to preview the new Porsche 911 for CultureMap last week. [Story here]. This one was pretty run-and-gun, and less than ideal as far as location and timing. Mid-day on a Friday, in Sugarland, I scrambled for a location that wouldn’t be too distracting or have too many locations and ended up at an office park. The reflections were still an issue, but not deal breakers I don’t think, although I did end up cropping tightly or throwing away some angles where the reflections were really bad. I had my choice of a white, black or grey 991, and chose the grey because I wanted a little more interest and a challenge (white or silver is a walk in the park). It seems the grey wasn’t much better than black but it probably came out more interesting than white would have. For my full impressions on the car, see the review but in summary: fantastic. It’s pointy and stretched just enough to make the 997 look like a tub of goo. Everything is solid, everything is as it should be. Great car.  Continue reading…