Porsche 991 GT3 track test: Long live the King
Barring the Alcantara-clad interior and lightweight bucket seats, stepping into the latest 911 GT3 feels very familiar. Everything you’d find inside a 991 Carrera is here (apart from a few different switches on the centre console).
However, you may know that already from our first-drive review in issue 104. Where the 991 GT3 is markedly different from its Carrera, Carrera S and Turbo brethren (as well previous generations of the race-derived 911) is out on its natural habitat: the track.
The new 911 GT3 has, with its PDK gearbox, moved to the top of Zuffenhausen’s tree as the ultimate do-it-all Porsche. Leave it in the automatic drive mode with PDK Sport and the Sports Exhaust system turned off, and you can cruise in relative comfort.
Aldenhoven’s handling circuit is, in truth, too narrow and twisting to really test its horizon-chasing abilities. Despite this, its quick succession of second and third-gear corners ensures that the car is almost constantly exposed to high lateral loads – a true test of the chassis’ dynamic capabilities, as well as the carbon ceramic brakes’ staying power being devoid of much respite.
The first thing that really hits you as you roll out onto the track is the near-perfect weighting of the electrically assisted power-steering system – well, at least it claims to be electrically assisted.
The effort needed to turn the wheel feels at least 50 per cent greater than in the lesser Carrera and Carrera S models. In fact, I’d say that it has more weight to it than the last GT3 I had the pleasure of driving: a 997 Gen1 (a car lauded for its steering feel).
Steering weight does not directly contribute to feel, as Porsche’s engineers will know. However, it does inspire a greater level of confidence in each and every input you make at the driver’s end.
Each turn of the Sport Design steering wheel feels very physically connected to those gorgeous, 20-inch centre locks. Combined with this, though, is a very real improvement in the steering feel itself, especially around the dead-ahead position so maligned in other 991s (though not by me).
To read more of Josh’s track test of the Porsche 991 GT3 – as well as our celebration of the 911 GT3 at large – pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 117 in store or online now. Alternatively you can download it straight to your digital device.