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Man Maths: 2017 Porsche 911 GT3

3 weeks ago

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Dan Prosser | Ti co-founder


27 April 2024

I remember going to see the 2017 Porsche 911 GT3 in a photographic studio near Stuttgart prior to its public debut. This was the second-generation 991 variant, the first GT3 to be fitted with a 4-litre engine. Porsche Motorsport supremo Andreas Preuninger was there and the instant we were introduced, he said, ‘Ah, you’re the one who’s been writing about the GT4 RS already.’ It was all a bit frosty after that.

He wasn’t wrong. On a launch event in South Africa for yet another 911 derivative, one of the Porsche development drivers let slip to a small group of journalists that Preuninger’s department was at long last working on an RS-badged version of the Cayman. This was big news, anticipated by many of us for some time but only confirmed there and then. Porsche didn’t officially announce the 718 Cayman GT4 RS until 2021, meaning me and the magazine I worked for – plus a couple of others – broke the story four years ahead of time.

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To be fair to Andreas, I’d be annoyed too. Nevertheless, we spoke about the new GT3 and he described all the ways in which it was an improvement over the previous model, and the frost thawed. He reckoned this GT3 was the best yet. A couple of months later I found out for myself, driving a German-registered but right-hand drive car in North Wales. And yes, it was marvellous.

Several years later I’m beginning to wonder if those 991.2 GT3s are the best of the bunch. Its direct replacement, the 992 GT3, arrived in 2021 with its much publicised double wishbone front suspension and significantly ramped-up spring rates. On the right road or track it’s staggeringly capable, but that lovely lissom, fluid ride, that very sophisticated way of smothering  a poor road surface that made its predecessor such a fine machine, was gone.

I also prefer the older car’s cleaner look, its simpler, more functional cabin and, more importantly, its millimetre perfect seating position. In those regards the 992 is a step backwards. In fact, should I ever be so lucky, I’d choose any 991 Porsche Motorsport car over the current models. In very large part that’s down to our dreadful road network – the earlier ones with their more compliant suspension deal with all our ruts and potholes and crumbling asphalt better than today’s lot.

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I last drove one of those 991s just last month. Better still, it was perhaps the most special of them all, the 911 R. It felt light and supple, gliding down the road rather than thumping its way along, and I came away thinking it might just be the sports car or supercar I would choose over any other. Its stance, the beautiful dished rims, the houndstooth upholstery, the flawless relationship between the seats, steering wheel and pedals, the sensational powertrain… It doesn’t get much better than a 911 R.

You’ll need something like £350,000 for one of those, whereas a 2017 911 GT3 can be bought for around a third of the price. If I could, I would in a heartbeat.

This 15,000-mile, 2017 Porsche 911 GT3 is live on PistonHeads’ auction platform right now, guiding at £117,500-£122,500

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