Just a few short hours ago Senior Editor Rob Hallstrom had to pry the keys from a 997 GT3 out of my hand. I have just spent three days with what has to be one of the finest vehicles in production right now. And when I say one of the finest, it is because there are other great cars out there that serve a different purpose than the GT3, so they can't be directly compared.
I have always loved Porsches, I even have a fondness for the 914 and 924S. My favorite Porsches have always been the aircooled 911s. They are tough but rewarding to drive. The looks, the sound, I like everything about them. I was never really that enamored with the 996 however, it's a great car, but just not a great Porsche. Some will say its better than a 993 because it can turn faster lap times, or it's faster to sixty, but really I can think of several cars out there that are faster but aren't better cars than a 911.
The 997 GT3 however has restored my faith in Porsche. It has the rawness a Porsche should have. The clutch is heavy, it makes very loud and angry noise. You can feel everything the car is doing beneath you, it really is more like driving an older 911.
The first day in the car I spent just cruising around, I took a few friends for rides, showed it off a little bit nothing fancy. The second day, I followed Rob out to Willow Springs. He was driving European Car's Project 911 and myself in the 997. In cars like these you can't just take the freeway; that would be boring and ordinary. Plus it is tough to keep these cars under the posted speed limit on straight open road.
We decided a scenic detour through Angeles Crest Highway was in order. For those of you not familiar with Angeles crest, it is 65 miles of some of the best two lane twisties you will find anywhere. It's the kind of road you read and dream about. Tight technical sections, elevations changes, banking there is even a bridge to forge across and tunnel to blast through. It was amazing to push this car through the canyons. It is so responsive, the brakes are phenomenal and the sound echoing through the canyon is unbelievable.
After the fun in the canyon, we ended up at Willow Springs. I really can't believe just how good the GT3 is on track. For a car that is comfortable enough for daily driving, it is one of the best production cars I have ever driven on the track. The grip is unreal, bordering on frightening, a good part of that can be attributed to the Pilot Sport Cups, but the suspension is so well tuned and the chassis so stiff, the car it feels like a dedicated track car.
We ended the day with a quick photo shoot and then decided the freeway was going to be the safe way home with clouds looming overhead. We ran into some heavy rain on the way home, but the car handled it with ease. The Sport Cups aren't really meant for wet weather so the trip took a little longer than it would have normally, but I was comfortable for the entire trip. This will obviously end up in the magazine.
My last day with the car was spent using it as I would my daily driver. It slugged through the daily commute, easily holds my gym bad, brief case and my camera gear. Hopefully this gives you a little peek into what a few days with the GT3 are like, the magazine piece will have far more detail and will be chock full of pictures.