Porsche 997 GT2: the last Widowmaker
The words provoke an awkward shuffle in my seat. “This road is the most dangerous in the UK according to the Road Safety Foundation,” I’m told as I shoot along the A285, a fast yet twisty route from Petworth to Chichester. It’s not the thought of the ill-fated road that’s caused my buttocks to clench though. Despite tackling the sweeping bends while carrying good speed, it’s the vehicle I’m in that’s the source of mild worry.
The 997 GT2 is the last in a long line of fearsome turbocharged Porsche 911s, served according to the usual GT2 recipe of big power garnished with minimal traction assistance. It’s a 911 that only the bravest of drivers dare pilot at the best of times, let alone on what my passenger has declared a road that’s a magnet for trouble. I Best keep my wits about me as I suss out this potent Porsche, then.
Launched in 2007 as successor to the 996, the 997 GT2 is seemingly the last of its kind, throwing a mighty 530 horses of brutal forced-induction power at the road via the rear wheels only. Mediators in this 911-shaped fracas are the six-speed G97/88 gearbox as found in the GT3 (albeit with different ratios), along with lenient stability and traction controls, both of which can be turned off separately or altogether.
As scintillating as it is terrifying, the very remit of the GT2 is decidedly against anything Porsche currently offers in the 991 generation, where all GT models use the admittedly magnificent PDK semi-automatic gearbox and active rear-wheel steering, while all-wheel drive is bestowed upon any blown variant. Such huge engineering revisions to the chassis and drivetrain of new GT models makes the 997 GT2 feel like a comparable classic already – and it’s not yet a decade old, don’t forget.
1,242 997 GT2s were built from 2007 to 2009, each costing £131,000 plus options. Despite a £30,000 levy over the Gen1 997 Turbo, the fire-breathing GT2 lured wallets from the pockets of many who found appeal in a 911 boasting elements of both Turbo and GT3 in its DNA.
The GT3 cues are obvious from the outset. While the feel of the soft Alcantara-lined steering wheel does justice to invoke visual connotations of its naturally aspirated GT sister, substance of the mechanicals between it and the wheels is provided by the time the first apex has been aimed at. The car’s steering is exquisitely weighted and makes for a glorious ode to the merits of mechanical power assistance.
To read more on our celebration of the 911 GT2, including our road test in 996 and 997 variants, as well as exclusive comments from Porsche on the 991, pick up Total 911 issue 127 in store now. Alternatively, you can order it for home delivery, or download it straight to your digital device.