I’m sitting in a parking lot at the end of a long mountain road, listening to the GT3 RS.
Its 444bhp 3.8-litre flat-six was off for a while, but not yet in silence. Is met, such as structural components, body panels and exquisitely engineered mechanical parts all made from different materials and of different shapes and thicknesses cool at different speeds. Tick, tick, tick.
The new car will not tick over, or maybe they do, but you only need a couple of years and many thousands of miles on the clock before that. This is one of the seven years of age, it is almost up to 30,000 miles and, I guess, the most difficult is driven by the second-generation ‘997’ GT3 RS of all of them. It was the original press car and it would have been smashed, slipped off and was given countless times. Porsche press office would be too discreet to talk about it and there is no evidence to suggest, but I would be surprised if, in all those miles on road and track, someone, somewhere had also had a phenomenon of interaction with the field. Is met beautifully as the heat of the moment, is slowly seeping out of his body.
Living with a Porsche because when your natural working life concluded, I guess, in 2011, no one could quite bear to see it go. Maybe that’s because by then it had a name. Thanks to the last three letters of his numberplate, is known by all in this business, simply, as ‘Hebe’. Or maybe it’s because already then it was clear that this car was special, even by the standards of GT of the 911 series. It is my happy task during the next 1500 words or so to try to explain why.
But actions speak louder than words, so I’ll tell you what I did when I Hebe knew that came to stay: I escaped the fact that in conversation with a couple of freelance colleagues that had been cultivated since long ago that the look of superb indifference of wheels out when they are presented with a opposite number to whom fortune has smiled. “Hebe, eh?”, it was said. And the smile. With this car, you really can’t avoid it.
Hebe arrived in a truck and, literally, the first thing I had to do was go shopping. I’m blessed to have a couple of other options for that task, no less important, the new 911 that I have in the Autocar long-term fleet, but it never occurred to me nothing more. I love to do things incongruous in the exotic car â€“ I’m particularly proud of having taken a Lamborghini Aventador SV through a Mcdonald’s drive thru â€“ but the great thing about this GT3 RS is so amazingly useful. It is narrow by supercar standards, it rides really well for this type of car, and while not burying the pedal above 4000rpm, it is still pretty quiet. The trunk is large and that carbonfibre rear wing the ideal place to rest your Lidl bags (Hebe went to Waitrose, too, I promise), while you furtle in the pocket of his unique, non-retractable key.
Here is another wonderful aspect of the 997-series GT3 RS, and another reason why you would like to have that go shopping. Look at that wing, the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, your posture, the carbon / carbon brakes and the decals, and its race track credentials to yell again. And, however, there is much to enjoy, even in heavy traffic. The sensation of his address, the action of the gearlever, and the perfectly the weight of their pedals are all there to be savoured below the urban speed limit.
And this must be done. You didn’t rip the cork out of a bottle of Petrus, lift and drink direct from the bottle and not with one such as this. It is important to do some boring stuff first: if I may torture the analogy, until you are on your knees begging for a bullet, this is the swirl in the glass bit, the application of the horn to its rim and drawing deep of her scent in his lungs. Round Weissach way, it seems that 2010 was one of the best years.
So let’s take a small sip and you can put the spittoon away: this is to stay on board. The way is opening their limbs are loosening, and you can hear the flat-six starting to warm to the task ahead. A word that is forming in your head and that is ‘mechanical’. More than anything else, which is what this car feels, and if that sounds like a statement of the bleeding obvious, it is not. Like all people in his 50 years, I think I feel about 30, but the problem is that I can’t remember what 30 actually felt like, so I’m probably cheating. In the same way, if all the unit are a modern car that offers electric power steering, flappy paddles and unemployment for the left foot, it is very easy to forget what a time, at least, certain cars felt completely different. And it was not a long time ago. When changing gear in the Hebe, not just move a lever. You are participating in the mechanical process necessary to disengage a gear wheel and engage another. When you push the clutch in and sits to his left quad is complain you know that it feels that way because the weight is absolutely necessary to ensure long-term reliability of a transmission designed to tolerate a life inside and outside of the race track.
We are in the mountains now: a territory family in a car because I feel that I’ve known in my entire life. And yet, it still surprises. I don’t think that would be so fast, not least because I’ve very recently got out of a new 690bhp GT2 RS, but I was wrong. On the way in the GT2, I found myself not wanting to do much more than dip a toe in the waters of what I could do and had to wait for the track to learn more: in the Hebe, that wasted area does not exist. I’m not saying that you can use everything it has to offer all the time, but when the roads are open, empty and dry, does not feel the frustration of being perpetually held back by the limits of common sense and of social acceptability. On the contrary, you feel liberated.
In the first place, it is the engine, Mezger’s masterpiece. Even today, its 8500rpm redline seems sky high but I’m not shy about going there. The car may be very old and the engine has done enough miles to have circumnavigated the globe, but it feels very well the race, the stronger and more powerful than when new, better than ever.
In addition, most of the revolutions, the more happy Hebe has. Your engine is too small, its output is too high, to be blessed with a lot of mid-range torque, and they were the growl-howl-scream of the flat-six is not combined with the best shift lever each time you visit a road car, that could be a complete pain. In the event, it is more than a pleasure: it feels like a privilege. Everything that he had alter the relationships of transmission, that are unnecessarily wide for a car like this and say that unless you really do twist your neck in every gear, you’re going to be in danger of falling below the peak torque when you participate in the following.
So strong is the engine of the personality and dominant his presence in the cabin that it takes a while for the truth about his role in this car to leave. The fact is that it is a mere facilitator, not what the GT3 RS makes it better, but the provider of the means to get there.
Now we must venture into a twilight world, beyond 0-60 mph times, speeds, powers, NÃ¼rburgring laps or in fact anything that can be measured or explained by facts and figures alone. Here, all that matters is how this car feels and how, in turn, it makes you feel. Now what I need is some steel in your heart, a sparkle in her eye and a bit of heat in those fat, sticky Michelin.
Push the car, hard. Get some load on the suspension to bring it to life. The use of the ceramic brakes properly, get it hot and then the pedal, flooding with feeling. Only then the pedal placements sense and your heel and toe down in the natural way. Heel and toe? Another fast-dying art. Then, remember that this is a 911. This is not a warning because Hebe doesn’t have a treacherous bone in his body, but still the old rules apply: get in the corner early, then use the engine â€“ not only of his power, but also its location on the rear wheels â€“ to catapult you out of the turn. And if the tail moves from side to side, reduce the blockage and keep going.
Then will come the time in which the car and it seems that with a single machine. Your brain is your brain, its extremities the mechanism for the delivery of their instructions. And when you are in a car-park listening to the tick, tick, tick of the car as it cools, that is the time for you to return again and again. That is why this is not only the best unlimited of the production GT series Porsche I’ve driven, but one of the best cars of any type. I hope one day to make of their new knowledge.
The Mezger engine:
All Porsche 911’s have had flat-six overhead-camshaft engines. But within that format, there have been many different designs, none more revered of the so-called ‘Mezger’ engine is in the rear of the GT3 RS and many other 911. Is the name of its creator, the famous Porsche engineer Hans Mezger.
Mezger made many engines of Porsche, including the 1.5-liter flat-eight that had Porsche’s only Formula 1 win (1962 French Grand Prix), the 1200bhp 5.4 liter flat-12 Porsche all-conquering 917/30 Can-Am car and the Porsche TAG Turbo engine with which he won three world championships of F1 McLaren between 1984 and 1986.
In fact, Mezger was involved in almost all the iterations of the flat-six up until the cooling water is introduced in 1998, but the point is that while all the others 911, then adopted the new, and what could be sometimes troublesome engine, all of the 911 Turbo and all the GT series of cars stuck with the Mezger design right up until the 991 series. Why? Because it was a known quantity, had won at Le Mans in the Porsche 911 GT1-98 in 1998 and was almost unbreakable. The fact that it sounded just amazing, too, is just icing on the cake.
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