Posts tagged ‘porsche’

By Ken Ng



There are tons of GT3 reviews on the Internet. Enter “991 GT3” into your search engine and you would find a host of articles done by popular publishers. YouTube has videos that demonstrate how good the GT3 is and how it is able to compete with supercars like the McLaren 650S and the Ferrari 458 for half the price.

So in this article, I will not debate on the desirability of the stick and will not explain how the rear wheel steering is so good. Tons of other reviews have done justice to that. This will be a slightly different test than the rest. Read on to find out why.

Turbo or go home

I am a fan of turbocharged engines. I’m not against naturally aspirated engines in any way, but I prefer the attitude and character of modern turbos. I like the low end torque it provides and I like the boost which makes you feel like your spine is about to break everytime you floor the accelerator. I have possibly been spoilt by having the opportunity to drive possibly two of the best turbocharged cars in the world – the McLaren 12C and the Nissan GTR.

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Love ‘em or not

I had my fair share of Porsches; a 996 C4S, a 997 C2S and a 991 C2S but I have never really grown to love them. To me, they were just methodological machines. So my first test drive in the 991 GT3 at the infamous Sepang International Circuit left me without smiles at the end of 3 laps. Was it just like the rest?

Let’s try again

We do know that 3 laps is never enough. And a 991 C2S as a pace car did slightly compromise me in trying to get the most of the GT3. So I did my 2nd attempt at driving the new GT3.

My 2nd visit to Sepang International Circuit with the GT3 made me fell in love with the car even more. I have to admit that one reason why I was left disappointed in my first visit at the track was partly because I was biased. Those of you familiar with the track know that there are two long straights and this did not do the car justice. Having driven multiple turbo charged cars here, I was left with the impression that the GT3 was underpowered.

I couldn’t be more wrong – I was tricked by the torque delivery of turbo cars. This time around, I attached a transponder to my car to track my lap times. It may be of no surprise to all of you out there, but I was utterly shocked when I saw that I clocked a blistering fast time – faster than the GTR, the 12C, and even the 430 Scuderia. The car was stable around corners – both the fast sweeping corners and slow sharp chicanes – that I went quicker without noticing.

“… I was utterly shocked when I saw that I clocked a blistering fast time – faster than the GTR, the 12C, and even the 430 Scuderia”

Let’s return to the sound for a minute. I initially thought it was too tame for a GT3. And once again I was proved to be nothing more than wrong. Having revved above 4,500rpm, the valves started to open and the sound was just so intoxicating that I wanted to keep driving at high revs! And all this from a flat 6!

How’s it like to drive daily?

I have been driving the GT3 as a daily driver in traffic, on the B-roads and in track. I have clocked over 5000 kilometres with the car at the time of writing.

Driving it around town makes it no different from a 991 C2S. In fact, I would rather have a C2S as a daily driver – its ride is more comfortable, it’s cheaper to purchase and you don’t have a large fixed rear spoiler obstructing your view. Some owners and reviewers have commented that the GT3 is more involving, but I for one am not that good to feel the difference. The PDK-S of the GT3 is also very ‘unfriendly’ at low speeds. It seems as if the gearbox is going to explode with all the mechanical sounds – courtesy of the lightweight flywheel.


And the looks?

The GT3 is based on the wider Carrera 4S body. It has a huge rear wing to remind everyone that it’s the hardcore version of the two. The added stance makes a subtle looking machine of the C4S look more like a sports car. I have to admit that I’m not a fan of the classic 911 shape. But I grew to love the look of the GT3 over time.

Changing opinion

Despite my initial negativity, my opinion of the car started to sway when I brought it to the mountains for a run. It was during my first drive up to Genting Highlands which I was reminded that the GT3 is a track focused car built for the road. The car corners wonderfully thanks in part to the Michellin Pilot Sports Cup 2 tyres. The chassis deserves some credit too. After years and years of developing the 911, Porsche has finally got it right. Despite the engine being at arguably the wrong place, the car feels planted. Unlike the 997, there is less tendency for the car to understeer.

On that particular day, I took a long route home to think a little more about what the car is built for and what it is capable of. In many facets of the car, I noticed that I have been driving it not the way it was meant to be driven. Despite how good the car was in every aspect, I remained adamant that the ride was uncomfortable. Of course it would be. It is after all a track car built for the road. Carbon ceramic brakes were present in my car which made squeaky noises. The GT2 buckets that I optioned made sitting in the car even more uncomfortable than if you chose the electric seats. The compromised ride comfort was partly my fault after all.

A suitable compromise

At the end of the day, it was a compromise that I was willing to make. The car becomes alive when it is driven at its limits. I would not have spec’ed my car any other way. I can’t imagine how the GT3 could be made better in the future but it is Porsche we are talking about here. At this juncture, I am looking forward to what they would do during the mid-life facelift and with their next iteration of the GT3.

All I can say is: What a machine.

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By Team Lenspeed

It shouts class on paper, and Lenspeed can’t wait to get our hands on one


Take a 3.8-litre 911 Carrera S engine, plonk it into a mid-engine, RWD layout of the Cayman. Who would have thought that Porsche’s management would give this lethal combination the green light? It was “supposed” to be an open secret, that Stuttgart engineers did not want to beef up the potential of the Cayman’s impressive dynamics for fear of overlaps with the 911’s customer base. We’re wrong. And we’re not complaining.
We’re huge fans of the Cayman. Even with a base-spec 2.7-litre engine punching not more than modern day, 300bhp+ turbocharged hot hatches, it manages to show the world that big numbers does not always equate to big fun. Now, it seems that we can enjoy the Cayman’s dynamic ability in a more potent, urgent package.
We’re not expecting the GT4 to generate smiles per mile like our former 997.1 GT3 staff car, but bringing it into context at launch date reveals plenty of promises as far as Porsche’s direction is concerned. The stick-shift only (no news on the PDK version, yet) GT4 was revealed alongside the PDK-only 991 GT3 RS, and it seems that the keen drivers over at Porsche has managed to convince their business-minded colleagues to carve out a niche product for an obsessed bunch of enthusiasts – Lenspeed included.
380bhp sounds like proper performance for a driver’s car, and with only 1340kg to shift, it should also be one that dances through switchbacks effortlessly just like its “lesser” siblings, albeit in a faster, more vigourous manner.
How close of an experience will it be to the GT3? We can only fathom a guess that it might come pretty close. Components are developed by Porsche Motorsport, the same minds behind the unrivaled line of GT3s and RSR race cars.
Right now, we can finally marvel at the prospect of getting behind the wheel of a proper modern driving machine. Let’s hope that the GT4 won’t disappoint. And by the looks of it, we’re pretty certain it won’t.
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BLT takes to the treacherous Nürburgring Nordschleife … and returned home alive


Like any racetrack, the Nürburgring Nordschleife inspires both exhilaration and trepidation. But for me, it represented more of an enigma; a bucket list item any petrolhead needs to strike off his list at least once. We’ve all seen the Top Gear videos of Sabine Schmidt and Jeremy Clarkson going at it on the ‘ring. We’ve seen the manufacturer test videos of their cars doing a blistering lap time. And yes, we’ve all seen the epic crashes and YouTube ‘fail compilations’ of exotics crashing when flogged too hard from corner to corner.

Even with all those premonitions and expectations, I wasn’t scared. I was confident. I wouldn’t call myself a veteran, but having driven many Californian racetracks in fast cars and gotten second in a Porsche race day, I arrived in the sleepy town of Nürburg with my head held high. To me, this was just another track, albeit one with a lot of unnecessary hype and fuss. She was just another conquest.

Boy was I wrong, though it would take me a day to realise it.

After checking in at the Tiergarten Hotel (owned by none other than the Sabine Schmidt’s parents), my friends and I thought it wise to do the Ring Taxi to whet our appetite. We were hooked instantly. The instructor took his M3 E90 to limits beyond what BMW must have intended and we did an impressive 8:30 with four people on board. My friend and I then decided to rent Suzuki Swift and do a ‘practice lap’ each in anticipation of the next day’s race. My friend pulled a 12:15 on his first lap, no small feat considering he had never driven left-hand-drive before.

At the helm, I pushed that little car harder than gravity intended and started passing car after car. My proudest moment was when I managed to pass a latest-gen Porsche Cayman S in the inside line. The thrill of passing a 300+bhp car in something with 200bhp less pleased me almost as much as my respectable 10:23 timing, and I went back proud to the Schmidt hotel proud of my achievements and hoping I would run into Sabine to boast about my exploits.




It all changed the next day when I woke up to the thickest fog I’ve ever seen, or rather, not seen. Indeed, I couldn’t even count my fingers with my hands stretched out. I was as if I were a tick lost in Santa Claus’s beard. The fog was everywhere, and to make matters worse, the fog’s moisture soaked the ground like a sponge. Perfect racing conditions… if one were suicidal.


Despite that, we headed off to the racetrack expecting the competition to have turned tails because of the fog. And even if they were silly enough to persist, how many weekend racers in their GTIs/Lotuses/”pre-F30” M3s were going to be a match for my rental today – The latest generation Porsche Cayman S (981). Fog or no fog, I was going to rock it. Again, I was severely mistaken.

Instead of a bunch of midlife crisis men with salt-and-pepper hair rocking M3s and hot hatches as old as their pensions, the parking lot was filled with chiseled alpha males with cars one only saw on Top Gear. Audi R8s, Latest-Gen BMW M3/M4/M5s, C63 Blacks, Race-Spec Aston Martin Vantages, Koenigseggs, Ferrari 458 Italias, McLaren MP4-12Cs, 650S, even a P1, not to mention a whole assortment of Porsche GT3s, GT3RSes, and Turbos. The value of the cars in that lot exceeded the GDP of some countries. I felt like the guy who brought a Super Soaker up against guys packing bazookas, and actually knew how to use them. All of them had roll cages, fire-retardant suits, helmets, lots of machismo, and perhaps one too many ‘Nürburgring veteran’ bumper stickers. Germany’s motoratti were out in full force. Gulp.

“Up against such competition, the only thing that prevented me from turning tail was the fact that I had already pre-paid for 16 laps; one lap of which was pricier than 10 lap dances from the most exotic of exotic dancers.”




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Up against such competition, the only thing that prevented me from turning tail was the fact that I had already pre-paid for 16 laps; one lap of which was pricier than 10 lap dances from the most exotic of exotic dancers. Put in that perspective, the money-conscious Asian American in me (and the only one in the whole race) could not walk away from that opportunity cost. After I signed the innumerable amount of waivers, I was made to put a deposit on my credit card for the replacement value of the car if I so much as scratched it: E$24,900. Yes, “only” a third of what a base Cayman costs, but one too many zeros for my comfort level. I crossed my fingers and hoped it would exceed my credit card limit, thus allowing me a face-saving exit out of the race. Needless to say, it didn’t, and I found myself cursing AMEX as I fired up the car, its raspy Boxer 6 defiantly croaking against its V8, V10 and V12 counterparts in the mist.


“Predictably, I was terrible, pushing too hard on the straights and braking way too late to clip the numerous apexes properly. The 150+ turns, already a challenge in the dry, were downright impossible in the mist.”

I had hired an instructor for the first six laps so I wouldn’t be culpable to doing anything overtly stupid (at least not initially), and he was in charge of teaching me the proper racing line. Michael, a veteran of more than 20,000+ laps and current touring car champion, was the epitome of Teutonic cool as he guided me around the track. ‘Zis ist nicht playzstation, you dzon’t get rezet button!’ he yelled many times as I flew through the corners carrying way too much over-confidence-induced speed. I had to place full trust in Michael, because all the corners were not only blind, but downright invisible thanks to the fog. Yesterday, I remarked to my friends that the ‘ring was almost beautiful, even if one weren’t driving at 250km/h. Now, I couldn’t even see a meter in front of me.

Predictably, I was terrible, pushing too hard on the straights and braking way too late to clip the numerous apexes properly. The 150+ turns, already a challenge in the dry, were downright impossible in the mist. As Michael scampered for the door after his six lap obligations were done (I don’t blame him at all), I tried my best to memorise where and when to turn and make it out of the numerous corners carrying the best possible exit speed. He did a fantastic job of teaching me, but I simply couldn’t memorize all 150+ turns at full throttle.

As luck would have it, the sun came out, but as the mist slowly dissipated, so did everyone’s inhibitions for speed. I found myself up against fast and furious racers relentlessly pushing my 6 o’clock in their 458s, P1s, and GT3s. With the fog gone, it was hard not to ogle at the supercars in my rear view mirror and think I was in a surreal dream – Except the dream was quickly shattered when all of them easily passed me without so much as even downshifting. Dream quickly turned into nightmare as I ended up being overtaken by one of the few hot hatchbacks at the race. How quickly the tables had turned since yesterday and I buried my face (and my dignity) in my hands at lunchtime.

Chain-binging on nuggets and fries, I resolved to give it my best after lunch. My passenger after lunch, Janina, was not used to screaming, but she did. Which, being German, is a big deal for her. That certainly inspired confidence in my driving. My next passenger and travel compadre, Malcolm, had the brilliant idea of navigating with the car’s GPS and with his help, I was starting to rock it. Like a rally team, he would give me directions right before a corner and give me a few milliseconds of much-needed anticipation. I finally felt confident enough to press the “Sport Plus” button on the center console and blew past a few cars.



“I now understand the allure of the Nürburgring Nordschleife. It’s not so much outright dangerous, but like a sexy vixen in a Bond movie, lulls you into a false sense of security with her luscious curves, then bites your head off right when you get overconfident.”

With our new strategy, I managed to pull a decent 9:53 hot lap. As I was going for another fast lap with my ego glowing, disaster struck. Right as I was about to take a corner at high speed, a GT3 appeared out of nowhere. Trying to cut him off so he couldn’t clip the apex, I pushed a centimeter too hard on the accelerator and the car spun out explosively.

Having been a victim to a few motorcycle and car accidents, I am no stranger to the sensation. Everyone experiences it differently and for me, it’s always in slow motion, yet I am always powerless to change the outcome. As we spun around the Nordschleife like a roulette dice, I remember thinking it was going to be expensive crash and cursed my AMEX again for its high limit. Thankfully, I smashed the brakes and downshifted quickly, stopping the car from catapulting me into bankruptcy and cutting short my ‘idiot drives Porsche into wall’ stardom on YouTube. After we took stock of our near-death experience, I noticed we were half a meter or so away from hitting the metal-plated barrier and becoming another Nürburgring casualty figure.

I was done. Like a sportsman trying to master a comeback and failing repeatedly, my subsequent laps were pathetic. I was scared, and knew it. I came face-to-face with death and blinked. Though my luck had not worn out and I was still in God’s good graces, I knew pushing it would be foolish. Normally I would have continued, but for some reason that day, logic won. As I sat at the starting grid watching others gambling with their lives with every kilometer above 200, I made the decision to stop and turn in the keys. At 12 out of 16 laps, my Nürburgring career was unequivocally and undoubtedly over.

I now understand the allure of the Nürburgring Nordschleife. It’s not so much outright dangerous, but like a sexy vixen in a Bond movie, lulls you into a false sense of security with her luscious curves, then bites your head off right when you get overconfident. I pulled a 9:53, which was respectable, but not noteworthy. Under Walter Röhl, the Cayman is capable of 7:56. I was two minutes away from the car’s true potential. My fantasy of running into Sabine and impressing her were all but the stuff of pipes.

With my self-worth in tatters, I bought some kitschy ‘I survived the Nürburgring’ bumper stickers for my Cayman back home; feeling that I might be able to bandage my ego with them by bragging to other petrolheads back in the States. Indeed, I comforted myself with the solace that I had crossed something off my bucket list without kicking the bucket itself. I figured no one in the States will know about my cowardice, just that I had raced at the ‘ring.

As I walked back across the parking lot past all the supercars and into my friend’s Seat Ibizia, I knew that I would be back, sans overconfidence. I was beaten and humbled, but not out of the fight. Perhaps that is the ‘ring’s true appeal – Once you’re smitten, you never let it go, and I wondered if that was what possessed men like Nikki Lauda to return. As I sat in the car contemplating my comeback, I started asking myself which corners I could improve on, what I would change about my racing line, and what car I would take next time.

What caused me to spin out? Why did I rent a Porsche Cayman when a much more basic car would have sufficed? What on earth had caused me to commit to 16 laps? Even one lap, basically 10 minutes and 23+ kilometres, was an eternity. They say pride comes before a fall, and the Nürburgring was the ultimate experience of my confidence not matching my actual skill. I was, in other words (specifically those of Jeremy Clarkson) ambitious, but rubbish.

At least I have those bumper stickers.


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By The Lenspeed Team

Holy trinity picLenspeed’s take on three most appropriate cars for Malaysian roads

Most of us associate road trips with breathtaking sceneries and frequent pit stops to indulge in local delicacies. But there’ll be a select few who place equal emphasis on the mode of transport. This, we feel, defines a proper road trip experience. Most cars can ferry passengers to destination Z fast, but only a handful can keep the driver absorbed in the experience to keep petrolheads satisfied. Lenspeed takes a look at three cars (tried and tested, of course!) for varying budgets that can perform well on the freeways, without diluting the element of fun when navigating through challenging B Roads.

Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI (Mk7)

It might be the least powerful car of the trio here, but there is plenty of usable torque at the lower regions of the rev range to extract maximum potential out of the 122bhp motor. Although steering inputs could be sharper, there is sufficient feedback through the rack to keep a keen driver engaged. It handles well too – dealing with gradual switchbacks in composed fashion.

Dial it up a notch through sweeping corners and it settles into a predictable understeer – throttle off and it steps back neatly in line. Its tidiness through the bends came as a surprise for us, since there is also plenty of travel in the suspension, allowing it to glide through potholes efficiently. We have to stress that the magic lies with the 16” rubbers that might not look aesthetically pleasing, but works wonders with the suspension to supply excellent damping even under duress for extended journeys. (FYI: The Golf Sport comes with 140bhp and 17” rubbers, but felt less well sorted and resolved than the 122bhp variant). Best of both worlds in a “back to basics” Golf. This car punches far higher than paper specifications. A brilliant choice for a family of four.

Renault Megane R.S. 265

This French pocket rocket receives a slight tweak over the 250 Cup. Aesthetic differences of the R.S. 265 over the predecessor include 18-inch matte black alloys and glossy black lacquer finish on the door handles, extended LED housings and darkened eyelids. And those keen in this segment of the market would be more interested in the technical enhancements – it receives a 15bhp and 20Nm hike over the 250 Cup, accompanied by a “freer-flowing” exhaust for more vocal presence.

We took it out for a spin and the enthusiasm attained right from the get-go is primarily attributed to the inertia-free unit that revs freely to redline. Its initial climb is characterised by feint turbo whiffs up to 4000rpm, replaced by more beefy resonance once it reaches boiling point. And it gets more dramatic when you engage “ESC Sport”, which is when you get to fully utilise the extra performance over the 250 Cup. (We’d pick the sound of high-revving NA cars in a jiffy, but we’d be more than happy to settle for this).

Despite this power hike, the Cup Chassis remains unruffled and eager to impress. 1379kg of heft isn’t entirely featherweight to begin with, but you can still plough it into a bend and let the chassis work its magic. It deals with irregularities cleanly, and the suspension manages to find a fluid rhythm on surfaces where others tend to jiggle and lose pace as a result. And because it is mated to a proper self-serviced 6-speeder, it entitles the driver a full expression of mechanical involvement, which makes it an accomplished and satisfying “B Road” weapon for those craving for optimal driving involvement. We assure you that the R.S. 265 will be perfect for stretches leading up to the plantations in Kota Tinggi.

Porsche 997.1 GT3

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the GT3 is too hardcore for the road. Yes, its low stance may pose a problem for car parks, and yes, it may drink a fair bit of fuel. But you’d be surprised to learn that the GT3 is a beautifully damped machine, giving a firm but wholly appropriate ride that seeks to get as much tyre on the road as possible, whatever the tarmac condition.

It is also a relatively long-geared car. So if you’re intending to cruise at somewhere above 150km/h, the car won’t discourage you. In fact, because the basic GT3 model has so long gears, it has received some criticism for its slightly lazy driving experience behind the wheel, with a laid-back countenance that’s not quite GT3. But you’d hardly complain on a long highway.

The result is a car that is genuinely comfortable enough to be on a highway jaunt, yet equally game for a B-road blast.  While ultimately less focused than the RS model, this GT3 could be the best balance struck for real world situations.

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By James Wong


Sweeping up my phone from the slightly oily Kallang McDonald’s table informed me that it was already pass 1030pm. On a usual working day, I would be retiring to bed in restful peace upon a good book. But this is no usual working day. Today, I will get to drive the Porsche 911 GT3.

I cannot say that I have always been a fan of the 911. When I first started my career in the automotive world, I always pigeonholed the 911 as the car which is classic, steeped in history but ultimately a bit too much of the same thing, rehashed over a very long time. I thought it was a stale car that needs to learn a new trick or two. I know, blasphemy.

However, I was and will always be a German car fan. So even though I did not accord the 911 the respect it deserved, I still loved what Porsche stands for. Maybe if I experienced the 911s, I would change my mind, I thought. So I did – I signed up for the Porsche Sport Driving School in Mount Cotton, Australia to find out what the fuss was all about.

You could say that those two days really started my love affair with the 911.

Within the relatively short time span, I drove just about every model in the Porsche range except the GT3 and GT2. Every model had their unique merits, although I endeared to the boxer engine in naturally aspirated guise the most. That metallic sound that crescendos into a gravelly, heavily German-accented engineered noise is something you cannot find inanything else but a Porsche. I looked and dug deeper for it. Naturally, the search led me to the GT3.


In the following years, I had flirtatious encounters with Porsches in official driving experience events and generous Porsche enthusiasts who let me try their cars. But I never once got to try the GT3. Obviously, the desire grew as Porsche continued to refine and hone the GT3. From the base 997.1 GT3, there appeared the visually-enhanced and extensively revised 997.2 GT3. With emissions regulations creeping up on the Mezger engine, it was destined that the 997 would be the last ever generation to use the GT1-derived block. This culminated in the GT3 4.0 RS; if there was ever a car to use the word swansong upon, this would be it.


Although there is perhaps a syringe of excessive nostalgia injected into the passing of the Mezger engine, there is no denying that it has absolutely ignited the motorsport range of the 911, and I would wager especially for the GT3. In no other iteration does the Mezger sound better than in a GT3. In terms of pure engineering to extract horsepower without any force-fed assistance, the Mezger was also stretched to its fullest in the GT3.

Then there is also the steadfast belief of driver involvement with the GT3. Save for the latest 991 GT3, the road-going GT3s since the 996 era have all been fitted only with manual gearboxes. It would be harsh to say that posers are kept away from buying this car, but there is a figment of truth to that as the GT3 has never been a car to cosset and pamper its passengers. It is a difficult car to master, a car with a devilish streak if you dare test its temper, one that will genuinely take your life away if you take reckless liberties with it. This isn’t one of those dual-clutch, turbocharged cars where you can just plant the throttle down and go fast effortlessly. It requires commitment, dedication and conviction with every driver input. You could say that the GT3 taught me the essence of purist driving. Needless to say, I personally find the GT3 the most desirable modern Porsche of them all.

So back to the oily McDonald’s table. We finally stood and walked towards the GT3.


Even though this particular example is now about 5 years old, it has been cared for meticulously by its fussy owner. You can tell no expense has been spared, from the expensive Pilot Super Sport tyres (it comes highly commended, by the way) to the immaculate condition of the interior. It looks like it has never aged since it was driven with my MkV GTI to Malaysia quite some time ago.

I opened the sideways-sliding door handles (typical Porsche) and slot into the rather comfortable seats (compared to the Recaro items in my Renaultsport Clio anyway). The first thing that strikes me, after having driven tall cars (hatchback, sedan, MPV) for the past few days, is that I sit very close to the ground. It is slightly intimidating, but made less so because you do get a good view out of the cockpit, coupled with the fact that the car is overall still quite compact.


I took a few moments to savour the near-perfect sitting position and to enjoy the FVD leather steering wheel, before putting the key into the ignition and waking the boxer to life. Wow, this is loud. I don’t remember GT3s being this loud stock, and my instincts were confirmed later when the owner confirmed that he installed a Sharkwerks muffler bypass. Some modifications, very few of them indeed, are worth doing to what is essentially a road-legal full-fledged sports car, and this is one of them.


Depressing the clutch is the first thing that reminds you that this is a Man car. You will need to be considerably fit to work that clutch on a daily basis, and I would say it is comparable to the clutch in the Exige 240 Cup I tried not too long ago, although the latter’s feels more agricultural than sporty. The gear changes have the right amount of resistance that is commensurate with the weight of the clutch. The throws are extremely positive, so you are never in doubt about which gear you are doing.


Getting out of the car park lot, it was rather surprising that the car did not feel like it was mechanically rough in any way. In some heavily modified, focused cars, there is juddering from a diff when you go at crawling speed in turns, or there will be some drivetrain irritation that will remind you that 15km/h is not the natural territory of the car. But in the GT3, everything feels as refined as any other Porsche. The only giveaway is the car’s reluctance to shift up too early, as that will send an awkward jerk into the cabin as the revs fall below a certain threshold. “There is a certain way to drive 1st and 2nd gear to prevent that jerk”, the owner tells me as I clumsily execute another early upshift.

Over humps, the car does not pose any problems if taken at sensible speeds, which was another surprise. The car is turning out to be much more civilised than I imagined.

At the first junction, I noticed a whirring noise from the rear. “That’s the OEM GT3 RS flywheel”, the owner quips. “You won’t hear it when you clutch in”. Replacing the stock flywheel and pulley was the best mod he has ever done. It feels more like the RS now in some ways, he says, and I can certainly tell when I bring the engine to its limits later on.

For now, we sit through flowing but slow traffic as I get used to driving the car. Although it is not comfortable by any measure, at least in terms of the ride it does seem bearable on a day to day basis. This is, after all, not the harder riding RS car, and this car already had its suspension replaced with a set of the Bilstein B16 Damptronic. It feels beautifully damped.

Finally, we find a stretch of quiet road that is walled on either side with concrete or skyscrapers. The responsible thing to do, of course, is to lower the windows, shift down to second and give it all I got.


Without even getting anywhere near the redline, the car was already flying into third gear, with the intoxicating noise, enhanced by the confined environs, drugging me into a stupor that cried out for more. “This… is one serious car.” was all I could say as we took a while to catch our breath which surely escaped out of the car and out of sight.

Perhaps if there was one criticism that could be levelled at the GT3, it would be the gearing. Given that the car has a top speed reputation to uphold, its six gears are spread long and wide to ensure that it can still meet the figures on paper (316km/h, by the way). However, for Singapore roads and I reckon for most of the roads in the world, the top speed is merely an academic figure that can be easily traded away for shorter gearing. I can understand a long top gear, but with every gear being long in this instance, it does blunt the response of the engine slightly. That said, the flywheel really makes the engine zing to its redline with a keenness that belies its long gearing. This, yet again, is another mod that was carefully chosen only to enhance the experience of the GT3.


Throughout the whole drive, Sport mode was permanently on. Although I did not get to test the car’s handling – which would be a shade irresponsible on the public road given the GT3′s tendency to wag its tail more eagerly than a terrier dog – it was readily apparent even at moderate speeds how the weight all hung from the rear. Only a slightly more enthusiastic throttle input is all that is needed to make the front end feel a bit light and to transfer some weight over those rear wheels, especially in a S-corner. What is perhaps more terrifying is that the car does not come with ESP, but only traction control to aid in – but not counter – any lost of control. As such there is no real safety net, unlike say in the F10 M5 I drove which resolutely prevented the rear from snapping when all systems are on. The GT3 relies purely on your skill and courage, and so is quite impossible to exploit fully on first acquaintance.

Before the final turn off the highway towards the same parking lot, the owner brought me to his favourite exit where there is ample space to work second gear to its limit and to use a fair bit of third. Carefully planned, he advised a slow entry in second gear and the car brimmed with energy. “Once the road straightens out, you floor it.”

I did as I was told. I planted the throttle to the floor, held onto second gear as it raced in a spellbinding momentum to the 8000+rpm redline. The mechanical roar envelopes the cabin in a rich and luscious exhaust note which hardens up gradually, but never feeling like it would give up even at the redline… And then a quick shift to third and we are out of road. It was the only point in the whole drive where I probably got to savour the engine to its absolute best, and boy, what a memory it was. It burns in my brain like an etched stainless steel block of joy.

And so that was the drive that I waited years to do. I sat in the very same car before, terrified as a passenger as it swept a huge corner at Fort Road towards ECP, many years back. Then, I drove with it towards Yong Peng in Malaysia, humbled by its untouchable high-speed in-gear acceleration. And today, I got to file all those memories together in a proper drive of a car I have always admired. Now I can back up my obsession with a tangible and very real experience, and I couldn’t have asked for more.


Thanks to Desmond for sharing his painstakingly cared for 997.1 GT3 with Lenspeed.

Thanks also to Gerald Yuen and Desmond for contributing the pictures for this article.

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