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    997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    Porsche 997 GT3
    Exce11ence - Road Test
    "The Second 3"

    "The 996 GT3 Mk. II was America's first. We loved it dearly-but will we love the 997 GT3 more?"

    54 miles... That's what the odometer of the Speed Yellow GT3 sitting in a valet parking spot near LAX says. It's the only 997 GT3 press car in America and it hasn't even been broken in yet. No worries, though. In just ten days, we'll log 2,400 miles on road and track.

    That's a lot of miles. But, then, you know what they say. And this is an important test for Porsche-philes. The GT-series Porsches are the four-wheeled fruits of funds derived - and to be derived - via sat-nav, SUVs, and sedans. They're cars meant to prove Porsche still knows how to build more than merely the best sports cars in the world. They're cars to speak to Porsche's hardest core of fans. If you're reading this magazine, chances are you're part of that tribe.

    As such, you've probably read the early European drive reports on the new car and want to know more, like how it stacks up against the old GT3 in the real world. With Porsche's best-ever flat six, pin-sharp handling, and a sense of purpose unmatched by any 911 ever sold in the US, the 2004-2005 GT3 was a sublime car. So the 997-based GT3 has big shoes to fill, but it offers more power, bigger brakes, a new suspension system, larger tires, and more.

    That said, the GT3 concept shifts slightly with the new car. Where the 996 GT3 was a fairly basic 911 with little more than anti-lock brakes and engine management on its list of electronics, this GT3 adds traction control, selectable power output, and Porsche Active Suspension Management. It also has variable-ratio steering and an exhaust system that uses vacuum-operated flaps to alter the flat six's soundtrack. Finally, the US GT3 can't be had without a sunroof this time around, this despite howls of protest from purists...

    Have these changes altered the GT3's basic character? None of them worried our staff as much as the adaptation of PASM, which adds variable shock absorbers that adjust themselves within two basic modes. Truth be told, PASM has yet to win us over in a 997. While ride quality improves - especially in cars wearing 19-inch tires - PASM's self-adjusting nature diminishes the inherent predictability that conventional, fixed-rate shock absorbers provide. PASM for the GT3 is different, however. It's more sporting and the early reports from Europe have been promising. Trouble is, it's tough to get the full measure of a 911 in one day on a recommended route.

    Ten days on roads we know should be more telling, so it's time to get moving. You sit lower in the 997 GT3 than in its predecessor - with a clear view of its big, gray central tach and four smaller, black-faced dials. This, along with yellow hash marks and needles, ties the GT3's gauge cluster to the Carrera GT's. Oil temperature and tire-pressure info has been added, along with pleasing white back-lighting in place of the old GT3's yellow cast.

    Twist the key to fire up the 3.6-litre, 415-bhp flat six and you know, instantly, that you're in a 997 more special than most. Where 997 Carrera flat sixes are sewing-machine smooth, the GT3's engine feels grainy and gruff. At idle, the whole car trembles a bit. The clutch and Alcantara-covered shifter are both stiffer than those in a Carrera. The shift throws from the neutral gate to reverse and then first are short and wonderfully direct, though.

    With such a "green" engine, we're limited to the first half of the big gray tach for the first 300-400 miles. Below 4000 rpm, the flat six is tractable, offering more than enough thrust to wade into the traffic on Los Angeles city streets. On pock-marked lanes around LAX, the PASM-equipped suspension is firm but never harsh or jarring. The ride is certainly stiffer than a normal 997's, but perfectly acceptable for a 911 with such sports purposes. Entering the 405, it's obvious that Weissach has made a real improvement in straight-line behaviour at freeway speeds; the old GT3's tendency to tramline and follow grooves in the pavement has been banished.

    LA's freeways reveal a third dimension to the new GT3's ride quality, though. Over nice pavement with occasional bumps, this 997 has caught a case of the jiggles. There's zero wallow over each bump, but the jiggling over sporadic imperfections jostles our torsos a bit more than we'd like. If memory serves, the 996 GT3 did a better job over similar pavement. Perhaps it's the tires? The 996 GT3 wore road-biased Michelin Pilot Sport 2s while the new car comes on track-biased Pilot Sport Cups with stiffer sidewalls. Time will tell...

    Two days and 400 Los Angeles miles later, we're falling for the new GT3 despite a few niggles. It feels slightly less wieldy than the old GT3 around town, as if it's a heavier, physically bigger car. Which it is. The accessibility of its torque and refinements to critical control systems like the steering and shifter more than make up for that, though. It's an achingly good-looking 911, too, one you keep looking back at every time you walk away. It's the best-looking 997 by a mile. That flying taco of a rear wing ties into the bumper venting below perfectly. Up front, the flat-black spoiler lip and radiator exhaust ahead of the hood make it clear that this 911 is all business.

    It's time to point the GT3's low nose north for San Francisco. We'll pound our way up 405 and 101 at first, then grab a fantastic stretch of Highway 33 just past Ventura. This morning marks the first time we venture past 4500 rpm. In second gear on the way up a long on-ramp, the GT3's soundtrack is superlative. With the Sport button activated, the familiar growl from behind is stronger, fuller, and more present through the first few thousand rpm. Past 5000 rpm, a mechanical scream takes over.

    It was hard to imagine Porsche improving on the 380-bhp 996 GT3 flat six, but it has. This is still a flat six that revs and revs, building speed at a fantastic rate despite each seeming eternity between shifts. The new GT3 doesn't feel so much faster than the old car, but its 415-bhp six is gruntier and meatier throughout the whole range. Repeated runs to the redline reveal something else, too. Weissach's engineers have eliminated the GT3 Mk II's wild wake-up call, a strong last lunge from 7000 rpm to redline. Part of the aural and tactile payoff for going all the way is lost, but those who prize linearity will prefer the 997 GT3.

    Exiting 101 North, we head for Ojai on 33, which will take us over the mountain range that separates California's southern coastline from its interior valleys. As the road gets twisty and heads uphill, big grip from the Sport Cups leaves the GT3 feeling planted, not edgy. Yet there's real precision, too. Its nose sticks better than the 996 GT3's did; where one had to trail-brake the 996 on the way into bends, wait for the front to bite, and then turn in, the 997 bites and turns in instantly. Telepathically.

    As in all 997s, Porsche's variable-ratio steering rack is superb. It's transparent in use until you realize on-centre nervousness has been reduced and you don't have to dial in quite as much lock for tighter turns. The steering is beautifully weighted and precise, but slightly less feelsome and a little less keen than the helm of, say, a Cayman. One wonders if the grippy track tires are robbing it of some of the delicacy found in other 987s and 997s.

    Get past seven-tenths and it's the rear end you'll be thinking about in this GT3. As you feed in throttle, the new car's tail fidgets on the way out of turns more readily than the 996 GT3's did. Thankfully, the 997 GT3's traction control system is brilliant - preventing the wide rear tires from breaking loose on throttle without intruding on the lateral component of your fun.

    Heading north on Highway 33, Mari-copa, Taft, Fellows, and Derby Acres pass through the GT3's windows. Think California is over-populated? A drive out here will suggest otherwise. It's a desolate part of the Golden State, populated by few and seemingly patrolled by no one. On long straights with limitless visibility, the 3.6 six's considerable thrust is put to good use. This GT3 boasts the same 415-hp rating that 2001-2004 996 Turbos did, but has far less torque. It feels just as fast, though. A lighter curb weight can take credit for the sense of speed, but the "all motor" flat six yields superior throttle response, too. It's a best-of-both-worlds engine - a torque-rich flat six that simply loves to rev.

    Eventually, a left on Highway 55 takes us west, to Highway 58 and then back to 101. A short hop south puts us in San Luis Obispo, where we'll fill the GT3's gas tank and grab dinner before turning in. The following morning offers a cool, crisp, and clear December sunrise. We decide to take coastal Highway 1 North. With few exceptions where weather and mudslides have done their best to spoil one of the world's best roads, the surface of Highway 1 is super smooth. So smooth, in fact, that it's time to try PASM's Sport mode.

    Back-to-back over the same, super-smooth sections, PASM Sport adds a bit of predictability in how the chassis takes a set. Returning to PASM Normal doesn't exactly introduce a world of pitch, dive, and roll, but, so long as the road is smooth, we prefer PASM Sport to PASM Normal. As soon as there's any prolonged surface variability, however, PASM Normal works better. The paradox of PASM is that it offers more compliance in either mode over continuously rough surfaces than its inability to filter occasional bumps indicates it will. On fast, rough back roads, the 997 GT3's PASM system is highly capable.

    Rolling along Highway 1's longer, less twisty sections, we notice something new about the GT3's exhaust system. While the vacuum-operated flaps create a soundtrack that's both louder and more seductive than the 996 GT3's, the change-over is audible at a certain rpm under a steady throttle. Maintain precisely the same light throttle and the load/rpm-dependent switch-over will usually take place between 3500 and 4500 rpm. It's a bit artificial, sounding like you added throttle when you didn't. We suspect a few track-day instructors will be wrongly scolding students in 997 GT3s for adding throttle too early or too quickly...

    The rest of the trip to San Francisco is uneventful, stopping in Carmel to take on fuel yet again (consumption is okay, but range is proving to be problematic) before the last leg on 101 North. Once home, the GT3 is pressed into service for a week of the daily grind. For that, it's every bit as good as any 997 Carrera with one exception: its low front spoiler. Thanks to the very low ride height and a long front overhang - as well as a plastic spoiler lip that juts further forward all the way across a square front end - extreme angles and multi-point manoeuvring tactics are required to get into and out of driveways. Even intersection dips can require careful negotiation. The good news is the GT3's black spoiler lip is cheap and easy to replace.

    The standard sport seats are excellent - enough so that we'd think twice about installing Euro GT3 buckets this time around. They save weight, but sacrifice one of three airbags per side along with easy access to the useful rear storage area. Speaking of the rear area, we find it odd that Porsche doesn't offer rear seats as an option in the basic GT3 now that it's no longer a homologation special. If US GT3 buyers must have a sunroof, why not let them order rear seats, too?

    And what about the sunroof? Well, we didn't use it much, other than in the tipped "vent" position. It never creaks, leaks, or draws attention to itself in anyway. There's plenty of headroom for tall drivers - even with helmets - thanks to the lowered seat bottoms, and we doubt the sunroof's presence will affect the lap times of most who complain about its presence. Frankly, we suspect we'd be hard-pressed to tell the dynamic differences between a GT3 with a sunroof and one without. That said, it's a matter of principle, a matter of concept. And we'd prefer an option to delete it.

    A mid-week storm gives us a chance to sample the Pilot Sport Cups in the rain. On a dark, fast, and smooth back road, the tires work as Porsche promised they would, which is to say far better than you'd expect any track-day semi-slick to. Up to five- or six-tenths, this 911 is confident, quick, and easy to handle. Anything beyond seven-tenths is thrilling, but you have to be ready to dial in the right amount of opposite lock when the tail swings wide. Wet freeways are another matter. Following in other car's tracks at 60-70 mph, the Sport Cups feel fine. Move over to a clear lane, however, and any standing water will force you to slow down considerably. Those who plan to use 997 GT3s as daily cars should seriously consider ditching the Sport Cups if rainy-day use is part of their reality.

    Of course, the GT3's raison d'etre isn't rainy days and city driving; it was built for fast road and track use. Thus, no appraisal of this 911 would be complete without time on track. Fortunately, a world-class course, Infineon Raceway, is located just 20 minutes from our offices. Until 2006, Infineon was a stop on the American Le Mans Series calendar. It's still home to the Grand-Am series and a wide variety of road racing - so it's familiar territory to Porsches and those who drive them. We've spent plenty of time there and know its 2.53 miles well. Infineon agreed to allow us two 40-minute sessions, one to gather my own impressions and one to let Flying Lizard Motor-sports' 911 GT3 RSR driver Johannes van Overbeek have a crack at comparing 996 GT3 to 997 GT3 on his home track.

    My first few laps are exploratory. Today, the track has been set up for motorcycles, so I've got a bit of familiarization to get through. Turn 9a has been substituted for Turn 9 to slow the bikes down while Turn 11a cuts down approach speeds to Turn 1. The shortened course doesn't kill the fun, though, because the 997 GT3 is just plain brilliant on a race track. With heat in its tires, PASM Sport engaged, and the Sport button depressed, this 911 feels fast, taut, predictable, and reassuring.

    The improved initial traction at the nose helps you guide it into corners with greater accuracy while the extra track and phenomenal grip from the Pilot Sport Cups lets you carry more speed. As it was on the coast highway, however, the rear end of this 997 GT3 is more fidgety than any 996 GT3 I've driven. Still well short of ten-tenths, I'm engaging the traction-control system regularly. Good thing it's never intrusive...

    Coming out of the long downhill right-hander known as Turn 6, or Carousel, the GT3 pulls like a freight train past 115 mph on its way to the flat, slow right-hander that is Turn 7. The pavement in the braking zone on the way to Turn 7 is rough and PASM Sport can't keep up. It's as if the system has adjusted to its firmest settings for the super-smooth pavement through Turn 6 but can't switch over to softer settings quickly enough for hard braking over the bumpy tarmac before Turn 7. Here, at least, the system feels less active than reactive - more like "PRASM" than PASM. Such spasms don't help the front wheels follow the bumps, so the tires unload - limiting braking ability when you need it most. Then, when you need roll stiffness through Turn 7, the system has already backed off, letting more body roll enter the equation.

    After several laps in PASM Sport, I try PASM Normal. The effect is profound at Turn 7, under threshold braking over the rough stuff. Critically, body roll, pitch, and dive aren't appreciably worse in PASM Normal. On Infineon's varied pavement, at least, the GT3 is easier and more enjoyable to drive in PASM's Normal mode.

    The surprise is that I remember the 996 GT3 as a more predictable tool for track work, despite having no traction control and a narrower track. The valving for its fixed-rate dampers was a master stroke, balancing reasonable comfort against ultimate wheel control as few dual-purpose cars ever have - leaving the driver with a superbly predictable chassis. The 996 GT3 wasn't perfect, but you could almost feel 40 years of 911 suspension development in the way it handled mid-corner bumps.

    With PASM, Porsche AG has embarked down a new road. We understand there are fans and foes of PASM even within Weissach, but it's clear where marketing and management stands on the issue. So our hope is that PASM will be refined to the point where it becomes transparent in use - much as eGas did. Perhaps doing away with the "active" part of PASM would do the trick, leaving two or three fixed valving setups to choose from?

    Perhaps we're baked, you say, working too readily from memory? A drive in Excellence reader Adam Green's 996 GT3 suggests otherwise. His 911 is riding on Pilot Sport Cups, which even the score in terms of tires. Back-to-back over the same road loop, the PASM-equipped 997 smoothes smaller, continuous bumps better, but the 996 does better over short, single freeway lumps. That said, we've driven 996s with properly set up remote-reservoir damping systems from JRZ and Moton that leave both factory systems for dead in terms of ride quality. Our guess is many 997 GT3 owners, like 996 GT3 owners before them, will upgrade to such systems.

    When van Overbeek takes to Infineon Raceway two days later, he prefers PASM Normal to PASM Sport, as well. I'm surprised to learn that he prefers to leave the traction control system engaged. He's on yet a different track layout again, this time using Infineon's 1.95-mile NASCAR circuit, which cuts out Turns 4, 5, 6, and 7 in order to create "the Chute" from 4a to 7a. Thus, his lap times, while instructive for comparing 996 GT3 to 997 GT3, won't mean a lot to Porsche-philes familiar with Infineon.

    Our times are also affected by the fact that Green's GT3 is a bit of a ringer. A lightweight Euro GT3 bucket seat on one side and no seat on the passenger's side probably removes 65-80 pounds from his 996 GT3. No carpeting in the rear-seat area can't hurt, either. It's no surprise to learn Green's GT3 weighs 3,080 pounds with a full tank to the 997 GT3's 3,218 when we put both 911s on the Flying Lizard Motor-sports scales. Checking camber, the 997 GT3 has a bit more negative up front while the 996 has a bit more in the rear.

    With Johannes buzzing by the pit lane in both cars, the difference in each 911's exhaust signature is profound. The 996 sounds almost anti-climactic after the 997, which sounds like a race car as its scream warbles off the billboards by Turn 11. When van Overbeek screams past the pits, the 997 sounds like a different car altogether... the bottom line is that the 997 turned in a best lap time of 1:23.560 to the 996's best time of 1:24.211. For the fun of it, we ask Vice President of Media Relations John Cardinale what the NASCAR lap-record is. It's 1:15.950, set by Jeff Gordon in 2005.

    While he knows he won't be approaching Gordon's time in any 997 with a license plate on its rear end, van Overbeek says there's still a little time left in the 997 GT3 because he's finding the same rear-end antics on track I did. He'd like to try dropping the rear tire pressures a bit in the 997 to gain better rear-end grip, but we don't have time for that or any alignment-setting tweaks that might cut more time out of his laps. But these are the vagaries of limited time and testing conditions...

    Still, Green's GT3 has represented the 996 well, but our times indicate that the new GT3 is the superior instrument - one that's likely to be 2-4 seconds faster than a stock 996 GT3 on similar tires on most North American race tracks. It's a big gap.

    It could - and will - be said that the new GT3 is arguably better in every way. We won't disagree. Still, emotional connections aren't subject to logical argument and the truth is I seem to remember being more excited throughout my weeks in 996 GT3s than I was at any point during these ten days with the 997 GT3. A little time in and around Green's 996 GT3 reminds me that the new car sounds better, shifts better, and goes better. Visually, it's no contest, with the 997 striking exactly the right balance between naked aggression and elegance. Much as I like the styling of the 996 GT3 - especially in white - the 997 GT3 looks simply fantastic. More fantastic. The interior is a no-brainer; the 997's cabin is more pleasing, feels better built, and looks far more expensive.

    So what's that tugging at me, arguing for the 996? It's purity of concept. Good as the new GT3 is, the old one stands tall not only in performance but in purity, too. It comes across as a simpler device. It's not a better car, but it is closer to the ethos of 1967's 911R and 1973's 2.7 RS.

    While theoretical purity is nice, we live in the real world. So which one? In the end, it's got to be the 997 for its looks, interior, engine, and sounds...

    [http://www.excellence-mag.com/art1/art1p3.html]

    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...



    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    ...nice job by Exce11ence!

    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    That is a very detailed and useful review. Much better than the usual ones that just re-print the Porsche press-release...

    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    Now, everyone, go buy a copy of Exce11ence...

    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    Jeez , thats a long report , I'm to ker-nackered to read it ..Someone please tell me ,, does the report suggest that it is""the dog's bollox's""...

    Tia ..

    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    Actually, I think the review hedges quite a bit. I think they are usually heavily inclined to pronounce the latest product the best. They did that, but only by a slight and very subjective margin, as I read it. The 996 variant is not very far off the mark, and is in some ways they acknowledge, better than the 997 GT3.

    As I read it, unless you have the money to burn and just gotta have the 997 version, the 996 car is almost as good, and much less $$$$.

    Too bad I am still scraping together the $$$ for a 996 GT3. lol

    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    The 997 laps faster , they concluded though that the 996 had a more pure feeling to it (raw) , giving it a more sporting ethos..

    I feel 997 nicked it due to it being more practical on today's road's..997 interior alot better also....

    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...


    With equally setup cars (stock, track alignments, same rubber) Excellence concluded 2-4 seconds on the track difference. Sounds reasonable to me.

    That speed yellow example is a damn fine looking car. Yeeeehaaaa. Can't wait till mine arrives!

    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    thanks for the article!!!, It was very nice to read it !!!

    you can even give me a 997gt3 in pink colour, and I would drive it without being shy !!!!

    I am in love with this car, and this is probably the 10000 times I have said it !!!!

    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    I dont think that PASM really delivers. The transitions it makes seem at odds with charachter of the GT3's.

    Serious customers will have to spend an additional 8-10K to upgrade the suspension and delete the standard PASM.

    Consider that Jeff Gordons 2005 NASCAR Chevy was running roughly the same hp to weight ratio and a suspension that dates back to the steam engine. It makes the new Porsche GT3 look sadly unimpressive when it comes to lap times.

    Too much marketing, not enough mojo.

    They should add rear seats and call it the 997S.

    Porsche, give us less please. The car is just too heavy.

    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    PASM really delivers, and Excellence is just trying too hard to find something "qualitative" so they can create controversy and debate (IMO) to establish their angle.

    The 997 is lght years ahead of the 996 in every aspect!

    Mark this post, and come back in a few years, it will be unanimous among the respective owners!

    Purity my %^&! Purity is a Cup Car.

    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    Quote:
    cnc said:


    Purity my %^&! Purity is a Cup Car.




    hahahaha

    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    Interesting comments cnc. My enthusiasm for the new gt3 isn't 'dampened' one bit by the SPAM or PRASM commentary.

    As I read the review over, several things troubled me.

    1. They linked the happy rear end to PASM. I think this issue is linked to their failure to properly adjust rear tire pressures, not PASM.

    2. Blamed PASM for difference in single bump compliance vs. multiple and stated that its continuous changes made the car unnatural, not changing damping behavior fast enough on different sections of the track. At least in my 997S, the changes in damping were transparent. Also, PASM (to my knowledge) doesn't have a feedback loop *from the shocks*. Rather, it's active only based on sensors from the chassis, that is, gross body movements, not shock movoements. Different maps within a predefined range are chosen based on large body movements and loading. I just don't think that PASM is sophisticated enough to make notable damping changes for small freqency bumps. Large weight swings and to tame the rear end? Absolutely. High frequency stuff complained about in the article? I don't think so. I think that the editor has over-thought PASM, and has identified issues where there are none.

    3. This article is a complete about-face from their earlier article on PASM and handling.

    4. The 996 car was a ringer, the 997 car not even aligned properly.

    5. The MPSCs on the 996 are R comps, the ones on the 997 are the dumbed down street versions

    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    Quote:
    cnc said:
    The 997 is lght years ahead of the 996 in every aspect!
    Mark this post, and come back in a few years, it will be unanimous among the respective owners!




    Is this a serious remark ? Light years ?
    Don't think so , in 10-15 years time both will be considered classics and be appreciated. I for one prefer the 996 GT3 RS over the 997 GT3 RS already today. And I know several owners of the 996 GT3 RS do to. I know a few who did not make the switch and not because of money.
    So as always , too each their own

    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    This is where the new GT3 performance dissapoints - It is not THAT much better than the 996GT3.

    The 997TT is way better than a 996TT, in fact a 997S can lap as well as a 996TT.

    The new GT3 offers no real quantum advance over the previous one. Its a nice concept, but doesnt measure up
    to Porsches usually steep difference between new and old models.

    Why?

    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    Hey all, thanks for the comments/criticism.

    We adjusted tire pressures to what was advised on the car. Camber was okay. Rear toe IS huge in these cars. Sometimes, we face the same (and, in some cases, added) limitations as others, and there was no way to check this.

    Definitely haven't over-thought PASM, but then the factory hasn't been truly helpful in understanding the system and has refused to give more information beyond one (semi-helpful) chart.

    Definitely not trying to create controversy. What is the point? If the car is good, we'll be happy to say so. If there is an element we don't like or would like to understand better, we'll get into that, too.

    No about face here, at least in terms of the magazine. Just the difference between a magazine that revisits something and learns more, as good ones tend to. EVO is one. Remember that early press reports are just that, and the article states the limitations of early press drives (i.e. one day -- if that -- on a recommended route). Also remember that ALL testing -- subjective and objective -- is imperfect for myriad reasons.

    No *direct* link intended to PASM and rear end issues, but both Johannes and I noticed rear-end "looseness" where in every 996 GT3 I've driven, you had to mind the front end, not the rear. What we did note is that PASM does seem to play a part in our perception of the car's lack of "plantedness" and thus predictability. I suspect some people will drive right past that, but I think it, consciously or subconsciously, affects one's ability to perform in a given car. A smart driver (in this case, someone who doesn't want to crash) will always be faster in a car that handles predictably. The 997 GT3 is by no means UNpredictable, but we find it to be LESS predictable than the 996 GT3s we've had around here.

    I love the 997 GT3. Without a doubt, my first pick among 2007 Porsches -- and, as I state, my pick over a 996 GT3 from an overall statement.

    Still, I had to question whether I loved the 997 GT3 as much as I did the 996 while driving it.

    Just calling it like I see it, as best I can. Some stuff is left a bit ambiguous, because some things about the new car ARE ambiguous. It's not nearly as easy to figure the new GT3 and come to a conclusion as, say, the Cayman S (great) and 997 Turbo (well...).

    Part of this might be a "first fruits" kind of thing (where the 996 GT3 was such a revelation for those of us in the U.S.) but more and more I think that we saw a great leap forward from 993 to 996 in dynamic terms that the 996 to 997 update can't be expected to repeat (for obvious reasons).

    I do my homework, and I know I am not alone in this among both enthusiasts and (the few) journalists I trust.

    But, as someone so rightly points out above, to each their own. My words are not gospel, and simply won't hold true for every driver. All I can do is report what I feel, hear, and sense and distribute that information to be posed against or alongside other information from other sources.

    Cheers!

    pete

    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    Jimflat6,

    Let me assure there is a hugh difference between the 996 and 997 GT3 Have you driven each of them (and where)?, because if you have I'd like you to explain why my perceptions and comparisions might be distorted.

    If you haven't driven any of them, well I can then understand your perspective!

    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    Quote:
    JimFlat6 said:
    This is where the new GT3 performance dissapoints - It is not THAT much better than the 996GT3.





    Exactly! Though I am not sure it HAS to be. Remember, we saw something special in 1997/98 -- something not seen since 1963/64.

    And, yes, I too think the cars are too damned heavy. I know Porsche sweats the details, and that it's under enormous pressure from consumers to add more equipment, but our world needs a Porsche that takes the lead on lightweight, enviromentally sound luxury and sports cars. Let AMG continue in its horsepower war with itself....

    After the 6,000-pound Cayenne, how about a 3800-4200-pound Panamera?

    And forget more power, let's start dropping pounds with each new model. Real weight (25-75 pounds), every time.

    pete

    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    Quote:
    excmag said:And, yes, I too think the cars are too damned heavy. I know Porsche sweats the details, and that it's under enormous pressure from consumers to add more equipment, but our world needs a Porsche that takes the lead on lightweight, enviromentally sound luxury and sports cars. Let AMG continue in its horsepower war with itself....

    After the 6,000-pound Cayenne, how about a 3800-4200-pound Panamera?

    And forget more power, let's start dropping pounds with each new model. Real weight (25-75 pounds), every time.

    pete


    Well said, Pete! I appreciate the article and your post

    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    Thanks for the follow-up post Pete. Somehow I knew you'd be drawn out of hiding, such as after our discussion of software vs. bushing issues with PASM on the 997S here on Rennteam.

    Nothing personal at all to be sure; simply stating my observations based on what you wrote. You have to admit, that a properly cornerbalanced, aligned, lightened 996 GT3 running real (or more-real) Rcomps is an unfair comparo, and you do acknowledge this to some extent in stating a wider gap in performance in like form than what testing showed.

    Further, and I could be wrong on this, but I believe that there is no feedback loop from the shocks to the brain. You've probably disconnected the PASM receiving unit to the shocks and have seen a lack of feedback connection going back to the brain, on at least one PASM car you've played with. Rather, my understanding is that valving adjustments are made from gyroscopes monitoring chassis loading, throttle, brake, rpm. So, w/o the real time small bump info coming back for data crunching, I do have my doubts about PASM being the weak link in the suspension. My thought is that it has more to do with the Bilstein based stock suspension than the 'active' nature of the shocks. These shocks, just as in the 996 variant, are no match for the more sophisticated (and expensive) dampers from moton/jrz/ohlin etc (as you acknowledge).

    Again, just my thoughts from looking at the situation from afar. I have not yet received my car. However, I am brutally honest about merits/demerits of any car I have come to own, and have no problem calling it the way I see it once mine arrives.

    Definitely agree on weight issues. It's startling that Chevy can accomplish a 908 hp, 1950lb vette for $35k, when the revered GT3 grows by 100lb and gives us nannies instead.

    Cheers!

    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    Pete, thanks for your additional remarks about the GT3 here.
    You have a great magazine and are a very good writer.

    Frayed, the gyroscope sensors I believe "sense" 2 axis only. Perhaps I am ignorant, but I don't think that the GT3's PASM system discriminates to compensate diagonally like the Audi RS4's DRC system does.(it was also banned this year from use in the WRC)


    Maybe someone can clear that up.




    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    Quote:
    JimFlat6 said:
    Consider that Jeff Gordons 2005 NASCAR Chevy was running roughly the same hp to weight ratio and a suspension that dates back to the steam engine. It makes the new Porsche GT3 look sadly unimpressive when it comes to lap times.
    ...
    Porsche, give us less please. The car is just too heavy.



    Although I agree the car is heavy, I think the comparo to Gordon's car is unfair. Wasn't Gordon's car on full slicks? Huge difference there. And you just can't compare a street car (no matter how track oriented) to a full-on race car. Totally apples and orange, IMO.

    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    Jimflat6

    Don't forget to give us your driving experiences on the 996/997 GT3, it will help put your comments in perspective.

    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    Quote:
    frayed said:
    Thanks for the follow-up post Pete. Somehow I knew you'd be drawn out of hiding, such as after our discussion of software vs. bushing issues with PASM on the 997S here on Rennteam.

    Nothing personal at all to be sure; simply stating my observations based on what you wrote. You have to admit, that a properly cornerbalanced, aligned, lightened 996 GT3 running real (or more-real) Rcomps is an unfair comparo, and you do acknowledge this to some extent in stating a wider gap in performance in like form than what testing showed.

    Further, and I could be wrong on this, but I believe that there is no feedback loop from the shocks to the brain. You've probably disconnected the PASM receiving unit to the shocks and have seen a lack of feedback connection going back to the brain, on at least one PASM car you've played with. Rather, my understanding is that valving adjustments are made from gyroscopes monitoring chassis loading, throttle, brake, rpm. So, w/o the real time small bump info coming back for data crunching, I do have my doubts about PASM being the weak link in the suspension. My thought is that it has more to do with the Bilstein based stock suspension than the 'active' nature of the shocks. These shocks, just as in the 996 variant, are no match for the more sophisticated (and expensive) dampers from moton/jrz/ohlin etc (as you acknowledge).

    Again, just my thoughts from looking at the situation from afar. I have not yet received my car. However, I am brutally honest about merits/demerits of any car I have come to own, and have no problem calling it the way I see it once mine arrives.

    Definitely agree on weight issues. It's startling that Chevy can accomplish a 908 hp, 1950lb vette for $35k, when the revered GT3 grows by 100lb and gives us nannies instead.

    Cheers!



    Yep, I do lurk here often. You guys, and those on rennlist, are indeed some of the hardest core I come across. It's nice to know the core is still in the house.

    Still not sure I fully understand PASM, and wish Porsche would be a little more transparent about it. I do feel that I have a solid working knowledge of and can explain and walk someone through ABS, TC, PSM, VarioRam, VarioCam, PDCC, VTG, and several other systems precisely, but I feel I can still only discuss PASM in fairly basic terms.

    Haven't disconnected PASM brain in test cars... They're not our cars, need to respect that fact. Never dyno'd a factory car, either, but wouldn't hesitate after asking permission to do so. Certain liabilities are not worth taking on. I will, however, send press cars back when the alignments are obviously off (I spend enough time in the various cars that it becomes *fairly* easy to tell when they're jacked). Harder to tell in 987s and Carreras than GT2s and GT3s.

    Getting back to PASM, nothing personal taken. It's a discussion worth having.

    If I work with your argument, then the slower the feedback loop, the more profound the lapse in PASM's ability to work with change, as in going from the smooth, fast, and fully loaded Carossel that is Infineon's Turn 6 to the bumpy, rough surface that is the braking zone for Turn 7 -- and back to roll stiffness for the actual run through Turn 7.

    But my bigger concern is with artificial feedback. Engineers confirm that PASM does try to compensate for understeer actively. This will have an effect on a keen driver's perceptions. Maybe it's better for lap times, but does it make the car a better *drive*?

    Bottom line, while I feel that, yes, the Bilsteins in the old car are/were inferior to JRZ/Moton/Ohlins dampers (IF they're properly set up!!!), the old chassis was always predictable in terms of what it would do in a given corner. What I mean by that is that there was not an additional brain changing the game up as it sees fit and altering the car's basic dynamic feedback/reactions based on a slight difference in your approach to a corner (say, for traffic) or varying conditions. This is the key to why I feel the old car was more predicatble and thus easier to "bond with" and really use. Maybe with more time in the 997 GT3, I would grow accustomed to PASM's spasms, but 2,500 miles is probably more than any other auto writer will accumulate in a GT3 unless they buy one -- and I still have yet to truly warm to PASM in a 997 other than the 2006 CC.

    Also, I find PASM agreeable in 987s, however, possibly as a result of the mid-engined chassis and longer wheelbase, possibly as a result of spring rates and bushings, etc. But now you get into all the areas that the factory will not wish to discuss.

    The bottom line is that I am very glad if you and others are not dampened in your excitement over the new car by my test. I would have a 997 GT3 over the old car every time -- IF I could install some better/non-PASM shock absorbers. Stock to stock, it would be harder (for me)...

    The real question is: why doesn't Porsche put high-end dampers into GT3s from the word go, or offer them as an option. Is it a marketing thing?

    My feelings about PASM and 997s are still not fully resolved. No, I don't like it on 997s, but I will not close my mind because, while I do not agree with every move Porsche makes, I have incredible respect for how its engineers approach, innovate, and adapt new technologies -- and then improve upon them. PAG still gets it right in a way that no other manufacturer does as consistently.

    For instance, look at:
    -Porsche's variable-ratio steering (natural) vs. BMW's Active Steering (slick, but feel-less) setup...
    -PSM vs. BMW and M-B (intrusive) anti-spin systems...
    -PCM (flawed) vs. iDrive (more flawed)...

    The only biggies I feel they've got wrong in the last decade:
    -Early eGas (fixed, quietly)
    -996 GT2 pricing strategy (unless they didn't want to sell many)
    -PASM and 997s (there's still hope...)
    -Cayman pricing (unless...well, sorry but I don't really get it)

    In the grand scheme of things, that ain't much.

    Of course, these are my personal feelings based on a variety of influences and personal preferences, but maybe they give you an eye into my (not blind) admiration for Porsche. For me, there is no other carmarker that comes close to making a better tool for real drivers in the real world. This is why I love Porsche, and why I love working for Excellence.

    Porsche is the only single marque I could see myself devoting my vocational efforts to covering, and that should say it all.

    So, enjoy that 997 GT3. Never forget that you're in a very fortunate position to be able to do so. And let's look forward to the 998 GT3, and help to keep PAG's engineers hungy to make it another grand slam. I've met a lot of them, and many of them are serious enthusiasts and seriously smart...

    pete

    P.S. Oh, and sorry if all these replies are not well edited. I already see typos galore in my above posts. But then this is a casual forum, I hope...

    P.P.S. I know I need to get out of here (sorry!) but I need to ask something I hate (HATE) to ask: Can someone edit down the copyrighted text at the beginning of this thread to maybe 2-3 paragraphs and then throw a link to the story on our website -- that's why we posted it there for all to view for free. You have my persmission to leave the pics in this thread -- I really dig the GT3 in the third one and it got no love in the mag or on the website.

    Cheers to all....

    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    Thanks again Pete. I've had one too many Highland Park's this fine evening to provide any sort of useful input at this point. I'll throw one thing in though. . . dampers.

    A set of Motons cost 5k. Maybe 6k. I am told that such pieces from PAG would be a cost adder more in the range of 10 to 15k on a production car. Then, you have all the sourcing/production issues associated with a small manufacturer. Plus, NVH issues, motality rates, etc etc. The jump from boutique to production parts is a pretty huge chasm.

    Sad, b/c a quality damper like any of these kill in terms of body control, bump compliance and predictabilty over Bilsteins, Konis or Sachs, etc (production quality, not high end race shocks like Koni 28s or the high zoot sachs).

    Take care.

    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    Pete,

    The 997 GT3 isfar more predictable than the 996GT3. If your focus had been on the car instead of the comparison for an article, you might not have missed this important point.

    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    It is interesting to read Johannes van Overbeek's 'Second Opinion' on page 55 of Excellence. Anyone equipped to scan and post it?

    thanks

    Quote:
    excmag said:And, yes, I too think the cars are too damned heavy. I know Porsche sweats the details, and that it's under enormous pressure from consumers to add more equipment, but our world needs a Porsche that takes the lead on lightweight, enviromentally sound luxury and sports cars. Let AMG continue in its horsepower war with itself....
    And forget more power, let's start dropping pounds with each new model. Real weight (25-75 pounds), every time.

    pete

    pete,
    thanks much for the responses and explanations concerning your article!
    couldnt agree more on forgetting the hp and concentrating on weight reduction.
    w/ the gov't regulations what do you see as a realistic possibility on weight reduction?
    what should porsche's target weight be for the street legal gt3?
    jeff

    p.s. glad you don't select the pics for the articles!

    Re: 997 GT3 road test by Exce11ence...

    Quote:
    cnc said:
    Pete,

    The 997 GT3 isfar more predictable than the 996GT3. If your focus had been on the car instead of the comparison for an article, you might not have missed this important point.



    Sorry. I disagree -- and so did Johannes.

    The 996's alignment was fresh, but not perfect either, as Adam was diasppointed to find when we checked camber at Flying Lizard. Fussing with tire pressures and alignment specs on the 997 may have helped.

    Or not. But past seven tenths on the street and eight-nine tenths on the track, I definitely had to mind the 997's rear end. Johannes said the same. And, believe me, my focus on the 997 was absolute in those moments.

    And I had zero issues with concentrating on the 997 GT3. It was only after spending the time with the car that I did that a desire to revisit the 996 GT3 became more and more compelling.

    I do not understand the benefit of your less than civil tone toward me or others here, but to each their own.

    pete

     
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