A late evening 930 blast over to my bud’s has me contemplating ‘Then’ via boosted revs thru the 4spd. Then was ‘Now’ when the 930 debuted in late ’74, but Now was redefined with the ’04 arrival of the elemental supercar experience – back to basics with the 996GT3. Six years later and ‘NOW!’ redefines redefinition and the 997GT3 awaits my invocation, sitting seductively in a willing friend’s… um… garage. Yeah, garage that’s it.
It is sitting in all its Nordic Gold awesomeness amongst its lineage, silent and loud simultaneous. The eye bounces fender flare to rear wing to front diffuser to alloy wheel – 930 to 996GT3 to 997GT3 – while the mind struggles to process the spectacle. When your shrink tells you to Go To Your Happy Place *this* is what he means.
Oogling and ahhing, comparing and contrasting, it is interesting to note how different such similar things can be. The 997 displays its PhD in Technical Sophistication, relegating the 996 afront it diminutive. Nineteen inch centerlocks over Carbon Ceramics, the wheel arches and flares and wings and ducts stretch your pupils into realization of the 997’s substantiality.
Electroluminescent door sills welcome me as I slip me lucky keister into painted seatbacks fronted with Alcantara that then reaches everywhere in the cockpit broken only by carbon fiber. Fire it up he says, back to back to back is the way to ponder these mmmkay? Whattapal, whattapalwhattapal.
The 3.8 cracks to life with a display of unbridled eagerness. Not audible enough? Depress the shenanigan button in the lower left center console, engine noise is replaced by exhaust baritone. I quickly determine the ‘normal’ mode to be quite abnormal, struggling to imagine anyone of sound mind electing effectively no sound. The 996 clatters to life singing its rasp song through Fabspeed headers and cans. BRAP!
Reverse lights light, squared… he’ll warm the 997 up while I ride gun as another pair of friends hop into the 996, and we troll out in tandem into blackness illuminated by steering-sensitive 997 bixenons. The transitional response of the lights appear much more proactive than the reactive ///M5 units I’d previously experienced, which were more like bad stripper teets swinging in the breeze proving more a distraction than anything else. These are surprisingly tauntingly effective – go figure – I’d always assumed ‘those things’ to be rather Lexus. Nope, not here.
Oil temps are found and heat fills tread, a stop sign sees a Chinese Fire Drill in the 997 – shoot it has been ½ a lifetime since I’d done one of those. A quick acclimation of the controls, I engage first and we’re off. Quite surprised I am at the ease of driving here – clutch takeup is a sinch and upshifts snick snak’d with mechanical precision. Until I employed a revmatched downshift – yikes that throttle is eeeeger, the tach seemingly electromagnified upward… have to be reeeeeeeal deliberate there I do.
OK then I’ll just scrub some speed with the brak……ooops! Sensitive suckers them PCCB’s are, nil pedal travel means nose meets windshield and fast. More of Deliberate, Danielsan, Deliberate – gotchya. Sport setting selected on the shock button to the left of the exhaust switch provides absence of body roll, steering feedback proving zero play. The chassis seems hunkered into the tarmac with every rotation of the Pirellis, confidence is bestowed and how. Odo of a few shy of 1k means we’re still under dealer suggested 1,200mi break-in… means nono to, er, ‘proper’ exploitation of ze 8400rpm Red and the accompanying banshee wail I’m yearning for. Matters not, the getup and GO issues addictive primordial amusement and I’m more than entertained.
Time to swap ho’s and another Chinese Fire Drill but this time with a run back to the 996.
Strapping into the 996 with GT2 Halos, size and quality realizations are near overwhelming with obviousness. This thing’s small in comparison inside, dash and switchgear seeming nearly antiquated somehow. Progress has been made, times have achanged. 23k trackmiles later and this one’s ready to astonish tho. I quickly dive into the nether regions of the tach, 8200 redline invoking resplendent goosebumps, giggles, and puckerage. Yeahbaby.
Immediate and blatant is how much the JZW suspension acting thru Fikse’s here has comPLETELY ironed out a ‘pedestrian’ 996GT3s inherent I’m Gonna Kill You bob ‘n dive ‘n squat ‘n tug ‘n weave. White Knuckles need not apply in this iteration, a refreshing relief from the DE I’d done in a stocker a couple years back @ Lime Rock. Set up OE, while it wouldn’t actually kill you it did pretty much feel like it would with every stab of the throttle with every bump in the road with every steering input. Somehow the 997s steering response has demoted the 996s otherwise astounding feel to ‘loose’ – go figure. The soundtrack is quite different, the 3.8 more deep and mellow with a downlow hit… 435horse pounds you hard. Here the 381hp is more brass than bass, the horsies felt more than the torques.
Miles are ingested, I’m basking in each 997 downshift and throttle stab in front of me. I could do this all night, but nope wee hours have me bombing home in the 930 and coming full circle back to ‘Then’. Then doesn’t exactly suck, but 'NOW!' is a wholenother experience – capable and visceral and refined and smooth and gnarly and badass, wrapped up nicely in a superlative package. Sign here:_________________.
full pics can be found: http://picasaweb.google.com/pkrasusky/997GT3#