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    A year with the GT3 (in words and pictures)

    I've been quite silent the last couple of month (reading almost everything though), so I thought it's about time to contribute again something. Well, here's a short report and some pics about my first year with the GT3. Please excuse my mistakes. Unfortunately I have neither the journalistic talent like Carlos nor do I have the same level of command of the English language.

    Roughly a year ago, my dealer's magazine arrived in my mailbox and as usual, there was the used car list at the very end that I usually just browsed casually and without much interest as I had been very happy with my 997C2S at that time. But there it was, a red 997GT3 (Mk2), about a year old with just 15k km and all the options I would have chosen - the right mix of track relevant options (such as the Club sport package) as well as comfort ones (such as Navigation, cruise control and some more). The later mainly to be used on the occasional self-gratification of a Friday commute to work in the GT3 instead of the boring Golf GTD. 

    Cars & Tracks - 2299.jpg

    I was lost on the first meters of the test drive and took the plunge, exchanging it for my five year old beloved 997C2S. Given that November is not really the best time to sell a sports car, I was able to negotiate a price (and in addition one free maintenance, a set of tires and an extended warranty) that I was able to justify to myself.

    My experience on race tracks extents to some 20-30 track days spread across 5 years that I had started doing after I had bought the Carrera. My driving talent is certainly and unfortunately not above average. I have no intention to do races nor do I measure my track times - I just do it for fun and the much needed excitement it gives me after a couple of weeks of endless hours working. So mid-November a year ago I picked it up and sure as hell - a few days later, there's the snow...

    After four eternal month of just staring at it in the garage without being able to drive it (at some point I got almost afraid of damaging the paint with my stare), spring finally sprung and the first track outing was here: Dijon-Prenois - a former F1-track with no really long strait but lots of altitude change. Oh boy, this thing is a different beast compared to the regular Carrera. The engine revs much more freely and above 4k rpm, there's paradise. The scream when the flaps in the exhaust open when you accelarate out of the pit lane is just intoxicating. There's no other car that is that much music to my ears. OK, maybe there are few but they are way out of reach. As it was still April, there was not much traffic on the track and I could explore the car to the fullest of my abilities and courage. Needless to say, I was nowhere near the limits of the car. But this thing is some much more powerful and agile that the Carrera. Being firmly strapped into the bucket seat with the 6-point harness adds even more to the sensation. The Carrera's sport seats are not bad at all but also just not holding you firm enough on the track (which has the effect that you have to sort of hold/stabilize yourself at the steering wheel - not ideal at all). The day flew by and so did the thread on my tires. After four stints of 15-20 minutes, I was as much tired as I was happy.

    A few weeks later, the Salzburgring was in the agenda. I barely could wait to take it out again to the track. Beautiful sunny and warm day. That thing is bloody quick, reaching 250km/h on the back strait towards Fahrerlager-Kurve. Oh wow, you really need to stay focus as everything is happening way faster than with the Carrera. Due to its confidence-inspiring behavior while turning in, I carry a lot more speed through and out of the curve and as a result, top-speed at the following strait is much higher than it used to be with the former car, resulting in a sudden need to brake harder and shift down quicker approaching the next curve. But boy this is fun, I can tell you that. Even for a lame amateur like myself.

    Cars & Tracks - 2513.jpg

    For mid-June, I had booked the Master training in Leipzig - two days of great fun and lots of useful practice time to get to know the car even better. The track in Leipzig is really great, combining various famous turns from several tracks from around the world. I can highly recommend the Master training. One gets a lot of seat time and they even follow you two times while filming your line, offering feedback and tips afterwards.

    Cars & Tracks - 2611.jpg

    Cars & Tracks - 2639.jpg

    Cars & Tracks - 2690.jpg

    Cars & Tracks - 2698.jpg

    Now comes the highlight - two days in Spa. I was looking for an opportunity to drive this track for quite some time. Now everything matched and I attended a two day training up there in Belgium. Wow, to me, that track comes really closed to the Nurburgring in terms of excitement. Chosing between the two would be a tough call for me to make. Spa has the advantage of offering a much higher safety margin in terms of space around the track all the while posing some real challenges for the driver, especially Eau Rouge... The GT3 was up to the challenge of course, but the brake disks were done after the two days. Hell, I must go back there.

    Cars & Tracks - 2842.jpg

    Cars & Tracks - 2860.jpg

    The final and a bit earlier than planned last track day of the year was again at the Salzburgring in late September. The day started off well but came to a sudden, abrupt and brutal halt with the crash of a GT2 RS in the early afternoon. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a fatal one. To me, it was a brutal reminder of what can happen if things go terribly wrong when you're driving such a bullet. I hadn't know the driver personally but nevertheless, such a event leaves traces in your mind. So I decided to let it be for this year, grateful of having "survived" a couple of track days that gave me hours of goose bumps and fun without any damage to myself nor my crown jewel.

    Cars & Tracks - 2922.jpg

    Cars & Tracks - 2953.jpg

    So here we are, one year into a hopefully long ownership of a GT3. The car is down in the garage, waiting for spring again.

     

    What is worth to switch from the C2S to the GT3?

    First and foremost, any 911 is a beautiful car and - in the hands of a skilled driver - a very capable track toy. Then non-GTs are probably not good enough for the track addict, but for the ones like myself that go out about once a weekend every month in summer to get a shot of adrenaline and joy, the perfect match. I believe there's no other car, that has that mix of track-ability and every-day-usability rolled into one. Saying that, I would not have needed to switch. Nevertheless, to me, the GT3 is in a different league. If the Carrera is car-heaven, then the GT3 is cloud nine, packed with perfect ten super models serving frozen margaritas all day long for free. It is so much more on the track, firmer, quicker, more robust and above all, confidence-inspiring like no other car I have driven, all the while not giving up usability on public roads entirely. It had been my dream for years that I was able to fulfill. At the same time, the saying "too much car, not enough driver" is certainly applicable to me to as I am not able to exploit it to its fullest. But does that matter? Not to me, I am fully aware of it, don't care what others think and enjoy it even more, feeling blessed that I have the opportunity to drive such a car and knowing, that there is some safety margin left on the car' side that might forgive me should I run out of talent (not that I count or bet on it).

    A word about driveability on public roads. For me it is quite usable in regular traffic, even though it gets quite loud on the inside (and creeping in a jam in the city is kind of a workout for your left leg). I enjoy every meter in it. Would I want to drive it every day? Probably not, but not because of noise or a firmer ride. Since I drive it only maybe every other week, getting into the car is still something special that I am looking forward the whole day or week when I have plans to do so. This way, it doesn't loose that special occasion thing for me.

    But it is also worth mentioning that there's a down side to all this XXL-excitement. This beast eats tires, brake pads and disks like there's no tomorrow. With these 7 track days and some 10k public road driving, I used up

    • one and half set of front brake pads
    • one set of rear brake pads
    • one set of front brake disks
    • three sets of tires

    That adds up quite bit. The Carrera hadn't used half of it. It is worth it? Oh hell yes, to me it is. I live my car dream and - believe it or not - every time I come into the garage, I stop for a moment and look at it, leaving afterwards with a big smile. That's something a print out of a money account's balance usually can't produce.

    That's it, I hope I was able to transfer at least half of all the emotions and sensations I get driving it. 

    A final picture a friend of mine created - please click to expand to see all the details - I will have it printed and frame in large.

    CM9H2383 .jpg

    CM9H2383 .jpg


    --

    Matt C
    2009 997 GT3 Mk2  / 1988 911 3.2 Conv.


    Re: A year with the GT3 (in words and pictures)

    Awesome stuff Matt!
    You wrong yourself by saying that you don't have the writing skills that some others have! What a nice read, makes me as an "aspiring to be a Porsche owner one day" come really close to the experience of having such a beauty in the garage, thanks for that!

    Cheers Joost.


    --

    Porsche, seperates LeMans from LeBoys

    Re: A year with the GT3 (in words and pictures)

    Excellent write up ! kiss!  For me it is the best sportscar in history !! The 996.1/.2 GT3 and 997.1/.2 GT3 are just pieces of art ! Cant think of a better combination between pure racing, raw, passion and reliability the GT3 series offer.

    thanks for this great write up, I hope some time can be a happy owner of such a beast !!


    --


    Re: A year with the GT3 (in words and pictures)

     

    Wow Matt, this is one of the best threads I have read in a while!Smiley

     I love it, I felt like I was there along side you, maybe also because you did what I always wanted to do, if it weren't because I use my 911 for everyday, do a fair bit of miles, need rear seats and such, I would of gone for GT3 instead of CarreraS. You are very fortunate, and a true passionate Smiley

    Great write-up, thanks for sharing!Smiley

     


    --


    Re: A year with the GT3 (in words and pictures)

    Thanks for a wonderful write-up.  For me, this is what being a true 911 enthusiast is all about, and it comes through in every word you write!  Smiley


    Re: A year with the GT3 (in words and pictures)

    Great write-up, thanks!

    i owned a 997.1 GT3 RS and it was intoxicating, but ended up being a garage queen. The 3.8 is more friendly with the SC and not so flashy in plain GT3 dress. Congrats!


    --

     911 Carrera 3.2 - 997 Carrera


    Re: A year with the GT3 (in words and pictures)

    Great post Matt!  Thanks!

    kiss


    Re: A year with the GT3 (in words and pictures)

    Thanks for that great report ! kiss

    What a sad story from the Salzburgring:

    http://www.20min.ch/news/ostschweiz/story/Schweizer-stirbt-auf-dem-Salzburgring-13541635

    The crash made me think about buying a "Hans-System" for my helmet...surprise I can see on your pics, that you have one already. kiss

    Blueflame


    Re: A year with the GT3 (in words and pictures)

    Matt,

    you should be banned from this forum !!!crying

    Man, I am constantly thinking about changing from my 997.1 to a GT3...and, now, you simply come along like that, having done it annnnnnd writing about !!!smiley...So, you made me thinking again...eh...actually, I am not sure whether you did, because I seem to look up the used car lists of P-cars Germany frequently...Ok, thank you for your excellent write up ( I mean that!), well done ...

    I am just curious, I have done some track days myself this year (amongst others, two times Salzburgring, which I like very much) - why did you have to have the discs replaced ? I do  feed my car on pads and tires, but not on discs ?


    Re: A year with the GT3 (in words and pictures)

    Blueflame,

    ooops, I didn't notice...how sad...and it obviously happened at the fastest part of the S-ring...thanks for the link. 


    Re: A year with the GT3 (in words and pictures)

    I loved it! 132393658265810.gif

    Thank you Matt.


    Re: A year with the GT3 (in words and pictures)

    Quote : every time I come into the garage, I stop for a moment and look at it, leaving afterwards with a big smile. That's something a print out of a money account's balance usually can't produce.

    Thanks for sharing yr passion I particularly loved this sentence. Exactly my agruments !! Live's short.....cool


    Re: A year with the GT3 (in words and pictures)

    Thanks for sharing, Matt. I suppose you had a blast. Smiley

    Beautiful photos, I really enjoyed them. Who took them ? (relative, professional photographer ?).


    --

    RC (Germany) - Rennteam Editor Porsche 997 Carrera GTS Cabriolet PDK, BMW X5M, BMW M3 Cab DKG, Mini Cooper S Countryman All4


    Re: A year with the GT3 (in words and pictures)

    BjoernB:

    Quote : every time I come into the garage, I stop for a moment and look at it, leaving afterwards with a big smile. That's something a print out of a money account's balance usually can't produce.

    Thanks for sharing yr passion I particularly loved this sentence. Exactly my agruments !! Live's short.....cool

    A big + 1, that is an awesome and very wise quote. And life is too short, you just do not know what's around the corner too..


    --

    throt

    "I didn't do it"


    Re: A year with the GT3 (in words and pictures)

    Thanks for the kind words, guys. I think it's nothing but fair to pay back to this community by contributing
    (at least every once in a while).

     @blueflame: Yes, the driver was not wearing a Hans. I bought one right after my first track day with the GT3
     resp. after I realized  the increased speeds I was achieving compared to the Carrera. At the same time,
     I also bought a new helmet and had it painted based on some drafts I came up with:

    1323948862892photo.JPG
     
     @d997h: I had them replaced so that I could make a clock out of them.
    photo2.JPG


     No seriously, I had to replace the front discs due to the cracks becoming too long and approaching
     the outer border of the disks. I have now the discs from the Cup car. They have large holes which should improve
     the cooling and prevent the early development of cracks.
     
     @RC: The pics from Leipzig and Spa were taken by professionals, hired by the organizers. With Porsche in Leipzig,
     you get a USB-stick at the end of the training with all photos and even the movies of the instructors following you
     for free!
     
     @throt: I agree except with one exception, on the track I prefer to know what is around the corner ;)


    --

    Matt C
    2009 997 GT3 Mk2  / 1988 911 3.2 Conv.


    Re: A year with the GT3 (in words and pictures)

    Your nice Helmet with Hans was a very good investment. Smiley

    There is no room for error or a defect at this corner at the Salzburgring:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eqWXkUvl9s&feature=youtu.be

    If someone has enough money to buy a GT2RS, he should also spend  the maximum on safety-equipment.Smiley

    BlueflameSmiley

     


    Re: A year with the GT3 (in words and pictures)

    Matt... thanks so much for your excellent write up . kiss  Your passion for the car translates so well. Great stuff !!!!

    I really hope we can meet somewhere on a track in 2012 , or up on a pass .  Maybe you would consider coming to the Scuderia Course, I am sure you will enjoy it. We are 300 like you at the event 


    --

     997.2 C2S, PDK, -20mm


    Re: A year with the GT3 (in words and pictures)

    First of, congrats on your one year anniversary!!!

    Second, what a fantastic read, you are the perfect 911 GT3 owner! Very passionate about this dream car.

    Third, great contributing pictures. Especially her ass on Spa kiss


    --

    indeed shifting is ancient technology - so is a fuel burning engine..  I happen to like both :) 


    Re: A year with the GT3 (in words and pictures)

    Gnil:

    I really hope we can meet somewhere on a track in 2012 , or up on a pass .  Maybe you would consider coming to the Scuderia Course, I am sure you will enjoy it. We are 300 like you at the event 

     I agree, we should finally find the time and place to meet. A top of a pass Swiss Rennteam meeting would be cool!

    As regards the Scuderia, I have attended it three times in the past and might be there again next spring. Will let you know for sure.

     


    --

    Matt C
    2009 997 GT3 Mk2  / 1988 911 3.2 Conv.


    Re: A year with the GT3 (in words and pictures)

    Thanks for sharing Matt! Your red GT3 looks great on the track as well as in your driveway. kiss


    --

    If I don't fly, I drive my .:RS 


    Re: A year with the GT3 (in words and pictures)

    Enjoyed the read, thanks.

    Love the helmet. NO ONE should ever strap in with a 5 or 6-point harness without a HANS or similar.

    Cheers


    Re: A year with the GT3 (in words and pictures)

    Great write-up Matt! kiss Thanks! wink


    --

    997.2 Carrera S in Carrara White. PASM-Sport Suspension (-20 mm), PSE.

    987.1 Boxster S in Arctic Silver. OZ Racing Ultraleggera Wheels, H&R Monotube Coil-Over Suspension, H&R Anti-Roll Bars, Sachs Racing Clutch, Single-Mass Flywheel, IPD Plenum, GT3 Throttle Body, Recaro Pole Position Seats, PSE.


    Re: A year with the GT3 (in words and pictures)

    Great post.  kiss

    Like your helmet design. 


    --

    fritz


    Re: A year with the GT3 (in words and pictures)

    What a wonderful report Matt :) Thanks so much for sharing !


    --


    997.1 C2S
     GT Silver/Cocoa, -20mm/LSD, PSE, short shifter, SportDesign rims, Zuffenhausen pickup, BMW Z4 2.5i Roadster Sterling Grey/Red


    Re: A year with the GT3 (in words and pictures)

    HI Matt,

    Can only agree to what has been said before..great report:) I am also regularly in Spa - best track for me in the world..next time youre there - let me know :)

    greetings,


     
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