Opinion: Stop whinging about the PDK-only Porsche 991 GT3 RS

“PDK. No thanks. PDK is made purely and solely for those that can’t drive. Porsche has unfortunately sold its soul under VW ownership.” Even before the new Porsche 911 GT3 RS was officially launched the internet comments had begun.

The bit that really tickled me was the assertion that Porsche Dopplekupplungsgetriebe was developed for those with a lack of talent behind the wheel. Try telling that to one of the men who drove the early PDK-equipped 956 and 962 prototypes: five-time Le Mans winner, Derek Bell.

To be fair, the standard 991 Carrera’s PDK gearbox is used just as much to add refinement and improve fuel consumption as it is to make the car faster, though Luddites like me are still given the option of a manual shifter.

Porsche 991 GT3 RS interior
Not a manual gear shifter in sight, and that’s the way it should be, Josh argues.

However, when it comes to the Porsche 991 GT3 RS, the PDK gearbox is there for one reason: to change gears as fast as possible. Without it, the new Rennsport wouldn’t be able to beat a 991 Turbo in the 0-62mph sprint or lap the Nürburgring Nordschleife in 7m20s.

See, those who are (tiresomely) bemoaning the lack of a manual gearbox on the new Porsche 911 GT3 RS are missing the point of the Rennsport philosophy entirely.

PDK is considered an anathema to enthusiasts. True driving connoisseurs are meant to drive with three pedals underfoot and a stick in their hand, after all. For this reason, internet critics are giving the new 911 GT3 RS the same treatment they handed out to the 991 GT3 two years ago.

The new Porsche 911 GT3 RS belongs on the track, meaning that performance outweighs the wants of the enthusiast.
The new Porsche 911 GT3 RS belongs on the track, meaning that performance outweighs the wants of the enthusiast.

The first comment we received on the Porsche 991 GT3 RS? “Everything about this is great! No manual though.” While the lack of a manual option on the 991 GT3 – a car designed for both spirited road and track driving – still remains questionable, the same does not apply to the new GT3 RS.

Why? Because the Porsche 991 GT3 RS is not an enthusiast’s car. At heart it is, instead, a road-legal racing car, and the true purpose of a racing car is to go as fast as possible, using whatever relevant technology is available.

That is why fitting PDK to the latest in a long line of Rennsport icons was the correct option. In fact, it was the only option. Racing cars have long used paddleshift gearboxes to improve performance. It was about time that the ‘Race Sport’ line-up followed suit.

Do you agree with Josh? Was a PDK-only 911 GT3 RS Porsche’s only option? Join the debate in the comments below or head to our Facebook and Twitter pages now.

Matthias Müller looks happy at the wheel of the 991 GT3 RS. Why? Because he knows it can lap a circuit faster than a manual version.
Matthias Müller looks happy at the wheel of the 991 GT3 RS. Why? Because he knows it can lap a circuit faster than a manual version.

Comments (4)

  • General Dube

    PDK is a game-changer. The next person to whine about PDK will get a brick to the mouth. Get a Carrera S!

  • SPhilli911

    The internet is complaining about PDK only GT3 RS because it’s a perfectly valid reason to complain. The RS name and PDK may be about better lap times and racing, but that’s not why the internet is complaining. It’s about what the consumers want in a product. Not all enthusiast care about shaving a few milliseconds off their lap times so they can brag to their buddies, some care about the pleasure and experience of driving or racing with a manual. To suddenly let a PDK system dictate my driving experience in a car that has historically been manual is not welcoming to some. To offer PDK as the only option is absurd, at least make manual available to those who want it.

  • Stephen Bucksey

    Have to be honest ….i – and being an age old petrol head I have to say this discussion belongs where the RS2000 cried foul when the Audi Quattro came along …… bemoaning the oversteer whilst watching the competition disappear into the distance . We are all right and Josh may explain it theoretically ..the rest of us understand something called driver involvement got lost along the way. Anyone got a 997RS they don’t want ?? (;-))

  • Scott Couper

    I had a 360 modena with manual gate but most cars ordered at the time came with the F1 based paddles as Ferrari had given the option. So few were ordered as manual they lost money to offer the manual in addition. Porsche would sell so few manuals as the hard core that would actually part with money to get what could be a “cost option” manual are in reality a tiny fraction of the people who actually buy these cars. Let it go, move on and drive a faster car even faster.