Opinion: Why you have to take your Porsche 911 on track
We’ve all seen it numerous times before. You’re browsing the classifieds for Porsche 911s and you come across an immaculate looking GT3 (or whatever your preferred motorsport-inspired Neunelfer is).
It’s all looking good until you get to the bottom of the seller’s blurb and your heart drops. “Never been taken on track.” Those dreaded five words appear with unfortunate frequency in the current Porsche 911 market, don’t they.
There are some specialists who actively encourage owners to take their newly purchased GT3s or Rennsports to their local circuit and use them as Weissach intended. However, for every one such dealer, there are myriad others who proudly announce a “no track action” policy as a badge of honour.
In this age of the collector (who strives to own the perfect, unmolested, showroom-fresh example of Porsche’s finest) I suppose it is to be expected. But that does not mean I have to accept it.
The problem is, the Porsche 911 is a sports car. The very term is derived from vehicles that could be used on both the road and in competition (most often on closed courses – or circuits, as we now know them).
Now I’m not saying that you should be a regular track rat, thrashing your Neunelfer to within an inch of its life at every available opportunity but, I do contest that letting your 911 stretch its legs in a controlled environment is one of the best things you can ever do.
For one, the 911 – especially the dawn of the water-cooled era – has become very fast and very capable. To experience it near its limits on the open road, you’re very often in licence-losing territory. And, if things were to go wrong at those sorts of speeds, walls, trees and telegraph posts are particularly forgiving.
A dedicated circuit though is designed for cars to travel at high speed. The surface is better, there are no policeman hiding in hedges and all the traffic circulates in the same direction. It’s a much safer place for man and machine to be tested.
I understand that the massive hike in values has made it daunting to take some cars on track. I wouldn’t want to crash a £300,000 Porsche 997 GT3 RS 4.0 with or without the appropriate insurance.
But, on a track day, no one is expecting you to be the next Nick Tandy. It’s not about lap times. It’s about enjoying yourself and testing your talents and exploring those of your 911. Ultimately, these are variables that you can control.
You don’t need to be the owner of a GT3 or an RS either to get the most out of a track day. Any Porsche 911 is an excellent tool for circuit work and getting a feel for it at speed is one of the most valuable lessons you can ever learn.
So, what are you waiting for? If your 911 has only ever lived its life on the roads, it hasn’t really lived at all. Find your local circuit and start making collectors weep. There’s nothing more enjoyable.