Porsche 996 GT2 ultimate guide in issue 108
The term ‘Widowmaker’ is not the most auspicious of monikers – or one that conjures up especially pleasant images – when it’s applied to a range-topper that cost north of £110,000 on its launch in 2001.
A number of factors contributed to the reputation of the GT2, not least of which was a mighty power output, lack of electronic driver aids and a peaky power delivery.
It divided opinion too, some commentators reckoning it was one of Porsche’s finest driver’s cars, while others felt it was a model that should have remained on the drawing board, but we’re not here to judge.
Instead, let’s look at the facts behind the myth, and that starts with the twin-turbocharged flat-six engine.
The 3.6-litre motor was lifted from the 996 Turbo – itself no slouch – but with some key changes, chief among them larger turbochargers, with the KKK17 items swapped for bigger KKK24 blowers and boost pressure increased to 13.5psi.
On a 9.4:1 compression, that meant a power output of 462bhp and a top speed close to 200mph. Fuelling and ignition was controlled by a Bosch Motronic 7.8 system incorporating cylinder knock control, and there were twin catalytic converters.
Porsche introduces the first GT2 with the 993. 430bhp and beefy aerodynamic addenda distinguish it from lesser 911s.
The 996 GT2, with rear-wheel drive and no traction control, attracts the ‘widowmaker’ tag.
A revised model goes on sale, boasting 483bhp via tweaks to ECU and turbos. Carbon ceramic brakes are standard.
The 997 GT2 arrives with 530bhp and 680Nm of torque. It is essentially a Turbo with rear-wheel drive.
Porsche goes back to basics, losing weight from the bodywork and interior and adding more power to create the 997 GT2 RS.
The engine itself came in for some fettling, and along with a light alloy crankcase and pistons there were forged connecting rods, Nikasil-lined bores and dual valve springs with hydraulic tappets.
Porsche’s VarioRam variable valve timing system was carried over from the regular 996, while the bottom end of the engine utilised the same dry-sump arrangement as the GT3 – itself derived from that found on the GT1 race car – but used a dual pick-up to ward off oil starvation.
2004 saw a round of revisions that included tweaks to the turbos and Motronic mapping among other changes, boosting power to a heady 483bhp and the price to a wallet-wilting £126,000.