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.
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 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.