PORSCHE 911 GT2
GT2s have always been insanely fast. But could the latest incarnation keep up with a McLaren F1, asks Steve Sutcliffe...
OK I’ll come straight out with it. I’m not certain that the GT2 which Porsche GB has been lending out to the press – and therefore to us awfully nice people at PH – does exactly what it says on the tin. I think it does rather more. Which is nice.
Bearing in mind that it costs ‘only’ £131,070 whereas a McLaren costs rather more than three times as much, this has to make the GT2 some kind of bargain – so long as yours is as quick as Porsche GB’s version…
For the record Porsche claims the GT2 will do 0-160kph (ie 0-99.4mph) in 7.4sec. When Autocar magazine road tested the McLaren back in 1994 it recorded a 0-100mph time of 6.3sec, but I’ll let you into a secret about what happened on that particular day and, more specifically, about that particular McLaren – and its driver – because I was there.
What I’m saying is this: in normal circumstances with a regular test driver at the wheel you might just get a McLaren F1 to dip into the high sixes from zero to 100mph. Maybe. Whereas a GT2 will hammer out 0-100mph times in the mid-sevens all day long, with almost anyone who can drive half properly behind the wheel.
Then again, Porsche has indeed come an awful long way since the time when the 968 was around, even if the two previous GT2s have failed pretty comprehensively to aid the company’s development. The first model of 1995 can be excused its wayward road manners because, in reality, it was little more than a homologation car for GT racing. We all know about the 'Widowmaker' nickname which was used, apparently, by Porsche’s own engineers to describe the beast they’d created. Even today the 993 GT2 seems mind-alteringly ridiculous with a 0-100mph time somewhere in the late eights.
For this latest version, it’s hardly surprising that Porsche has thrown so much time, effort and engineering impetus into getting the GT2 mixture right. The engine is pretty much the same as the Turbo’s internally but with two new turbo’s, a different exhaust, better breathing apparatus and 1.4 bar boost as opposed to 1.0 - it delivers 523bhp versus 450bhp for the normal 911 Turbo. The torque peak is the same as that of the normal Turbo with the Sport Chrono pack fitted – 502lb ft – but rather than a short burst at this level the GT2 has that figure available all the time between 2200-4500rpm.
You expect a car with 363bhp per tonne and 349lb ft per tonne to feel a bit tidy when you put your foot down, but the way the GT2 fires itself at the horizon at the merest whiff of throttle is deeply and deliciously impressive. It’s hilarious, in fact. There is almost no lag whatsoever, and although the compression ratio isn’t higher than in the normal Turbo it feels much more responsive off boost, presumably because of what they’ve done to the exhaust. It’s so crisp you can now blip the thottle wap-wap on downshifts and the crank just spins up instantly – whereas in the regular Turbo it’s a case of blip pedal, wait a moment, shift.
It steers beautifully, too, with a decent amount of traditional 911-style feedback via the rim but with none of the crunching kickback of old. As for the stopping department it’s hard to think of any other car with number plates that brakes as well, or as consistently from big or small speeds, as the latest GT2.
Faults? The tyre roar from the enormous 325/30 19in rear Michelin Pilot Sport Cups is borderline ludicrous, even on smooth surfaces. On the concrete sections of the M25 I drove it on I couldn’t even hear myself whimper. And although it makes a so-so kind of noise it’s hardly in the same league as the Italians, which is a pity.