Porsche heralds 20 years of 911 GT3

While the discussion in more recent times has been about availability, secondhand values and automatic gearboxes, it shouldn't be forgotten that the 911 GT3 has always been one of the very best driver's cars out there. For 20 years now and across 14 variants (if you take in facelifts, Tourings and RS models) it's delivered an often-unbeatable blend of Porsche Motorsport nous and 911 usability - as the Car of the Year victories and 140,000-mile used ones attest to.

Anyway, with such a significant anniversary to mark - and such a wealth of cars typically offered for sale - it's obviously time for a GT3-based saunter through the classifieds. Alongside a reminder of what made all the cars so great, of course.

There's a PH history of the GT3 from 2013, covering every last detail from the cylinder bore increase from 997.1 to 997.2 to tyre sizes for a 996, so there's no excuse not to be fully up to speed - we'll deal with the later cars as we get to them. Without further ado, then...

The 996 GT3 was shown at the Geneva Motor Show in 1999, the first production cars emerging in May. As is often the way with racy 911s, the original version has always been regarded as the most challenging and purest, though a debate has raged since its replacement arrived about which 996 GT3 is better.

With Walter Rohrl involved in development, 360hp at 7,200rpm and a 7:56 Nordschleife time, it perfectly set the GT3 template for future acts to follow. With just 106 sold in the UK, it's a really rare car, though remarkably there are seven UK 996.1 GT3s currently on PH - this one looks especially nice, a Speed Yellow car in Comfort spec (but with Club Sport seats), for sale with 47,000 miles at Β£62,900.

For Β£90 more, this 996.2 GT3 Comfort in Arctic Silver looks a gem - especially with only 40,000 miles. However, the later 996 was probably best known for the first GT3 RS, a car which took the polycarbonate windows and carbon-reinforced bonnet from the 911 Cup racer (amongst a host of other modifications) to create a memorable track weapon. With its fabled status and considerable rarity, you'll pay handsomely now for the privilege of 996 RS ownership: this one is Β£125k with 27,000 miles. Or pay Β£20k more for the blue graphics to be red instead...

The 997 GT3 was faster, more accommodating and more popular than its predecessor, beyond 400hp for the first time and boasting PASM as standard. It's proved a very safe place to put money, too, the very cheapest 997s now for sale at just a few thousand pounds less than they were new. Again there was a lighter, harder, wider RS, interestingly now available for similar money to a 996 RS.

Still with us? Good, because there's a way to go yet. The 997 GT3 facelift increased swept capacity from 3.6 to 3.8-litres (power jumping from 415hp to 435hp as a result), the rev limit of 8,500rpm was the highest yet in a GT3 and the introduction of centre-lock wheels saved 3kg a corner. It's frequently cited as the preferred GT3, combining the traditional appeal of Mezger engine, hydraulic steering and compact 997 dimensions with a more usable side than earlier cars; as such values have held strong, even this 50,000-mile car commanding Β£87k.

While another RS was available, the 997's crowning glory was the 4.0-litre of 2011, plonking 500hp in a GT3's bum for the first time and bidding farewell to the Mezger flat-six in spectacular style. Those who paid the Β£128k RRP for one got a bargain, as the few dozen UK cars have been somewhere around double that for the eight years since - this one is for sale at Β£270k.

As you may well have heard, it was all change in 2013: new engine, four-wheel steer and PDK-only for the 991 GT3. Despite all that, the PH verdict was positive, praising it as "faster, better and in many ways more enjoyable than before." Then there was the fire debacle. Even so, the 991 has sold in far greater numbers than any previous GT3, meaning buyers are now spoilt for choice in the classifieds - there are a host of early cars at Β£100,000 or less.

Furthermore, if previous versions are anything to go by, any future depreciation will be steady at worst. An RS 991 arrived two years later (it was also quite good, believe it or not), though you'll still need Β£150k to get behind the wheel of one of those. Don't forget the 911 R, either, boasting a GT3 RS engine and manual gearbox in a wingless body - expect to pay double what an RS would cost...

The 2017 update of the 991 GT3 was a major one, with a new 4.0-litre engine, significantly revised chassis and the return of a manual gearbox. In any form it's proved absolutely mighty; the bandwidth of the standard car broadened further, that third pedal bringing back some much-missed involvement, and the RS even faster around circuit - now fully a minute quicker at the 'ring than the original 996 GT3.

Given the cars are all so new, and perceived demand comfortably outstrips supply, don't expect to find any 991.2 bargains just yet. This one appeals as a manual in Speed Yellow at Β£150k, while another Β£20k secures a Touring model with little more than delivery miles. Sadly, any drivers keen to replicate that sensational Kevin Estre lap will need to dig deep, as there aren't any RS 991.2s available for less than Β£200k...

So there you are, 20 years of GT3 history in fewer than a thousand words (and just a handful of classified links). No doubt a few of you will have GT3 stories to tell from the past two decades, so feel free to reminisce away in the comments below. If you're one of those sick to the back teeth of quick 911 evangelising, though, then you're not in the clear just yet: a 992 GT3 will surely be along soon enough...

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (43) Join the discussion on the forum

  • thelostboy 07 Aug 2019

    997.2 for me please!

  • Dale487 07 Aug 2019

    thelostboy said:
    997.2 for me please!
    I not fussy when it comes to GT3s - I'd be happy with any.

  • WCZ 07 Aug 2019

    thelostboy said:
    997.2 for me please!
    same, deffo the prettiest

  • sideshowfred 07 Aug 2019

    996 in Red with Clubsport package for me. My all time favourite 911 shape

  • Plate spinner 07 Aug 2019

    A well used but mechanically 996 GT3 with some miles on it would work for me.

    The speculators cars (ie 4.0 RS and R) are no doubt spectacular but valuable to the point of not being able to be driven as they were intended. Which would spoil the ownership experience for me.

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