The real million to one 911: PH Blog


I'm not quite sure why Porsche GB still has RO10 HBY - affectionately known as Heeby - on its press fleet. Superseded and no longer current product yet not old enough to be considered a heritage car, this particular gen-two 997 3.8 RS has been pounded on road and track by pretty much every undeserving motoring hack in the country. Often many times over. By all accounts it was looking a little sorry for itself after fulfilling its duties as a frontline press car, languishing in the car park and bearing the scars of many, many miles of very hard driving.

ARSeholes. And a GT3
ARSeholes. And a GT3
Seems the UK team has a bit of a soft spot for the car though. And so it's had a bit of a freshen up and stay of execution. Revisiting it on the Scottish road trip reminded me of why it's perhaps my favourite Porsche 911. Scratch that. I think it might be one of my favourite cars ever. Full stop. Ask anyone in the business who's enjoyed time with HBY - and more exotic cars than I've been lucky enough to drive - and you'd likely get the same answer. It's one of those cars. And by far the one I enjoyed most out of all the very special 911s I got to drive on the millionth 911 Scottish road trip.

Why?

A very heated and probably rather tedious debate could be held on exactly when the sweet spot occurred in the 911's evolution. The single model - or example - that best embodies all the car stands for. You could probably gather 50 superfans in a room and each would give you a different answer. This is mine though.

For starters it's an RS. Any Porsche with that badge gets an instant promotion in desirability. I'm less fixated on that, the rarity, the investment value or anything related. I just love the way it goes.

Not really where it belongs...
Not really where it belongs...
This is not an easy car to drive. The clutch is heavy yet viciously sensitive, the flywheel light and it will take great delight in stalling at every given opportunity. It's not a nice car to drive in traffic. If you are fortunate enough to get out onto the open road or - lucky you - a track and fancy yourself as a bit of a hand this car will take delight in disabusing you of that notion.

What, you thought you could heel and toe? You thought wrong, loser. The difference between a jarring mismatch between revs and road speed, the perfectly matched downshift and an ugly flare of clutch-charring, over-enthusiastic blippage is about 0.1mm of the throttle travel. Even with your most thin-soled racing pixie boots and most studious attempts to time it all right you're doing extremely well if one shift in four - up or down - nails the perfect sequence of events. For those of us Luddites who love a manual gearbox it's this kind of challenge that makes them so rewarding.

Thing is, every element of this car is like this. The throttle response and what it unleashes has to be up there with the very finest internal combustion engines ever fitted to a street car. It's got the lot. Clattery and truculent at low speeds it soars from muscular mid-range into incendiary high-rev crescendo with searing intensity. He said, going full Queef.

This is more like it
This is more like it
Combined with perfectly weighted steering, a short and precise shift from that stubby Alcantara lever and an overall size that feels compact and exploitable (by modern standards) and you just have the perfect package. No mistake, this is a car that won't suffer fools for one nanosecond. Preuninger's 'loose bungee' analogy for the threshold on his cars' stability controls is never far from your mind and there's enough leeway for things to get very out of shape even with everything on. But there's so much feedback you're instinctively happy driving it up to the limits, even in the wet, even on Cup tyres. Because you can feel exactly where they are.

I've even grown to love the daft graphics. By the standards of the current GT3 it almost looks understated, in as much as a 911 with a massive wing and cabin full of roll cage can. It just looks so damned purposeful. Everything you need to know about the way it goes is presented to you in the aesthetics. Think it looks good? It goes even better. And sounds angry.

And there you have it. Motoring hack waxes lyrical over GT3 911. Who'd have thought.

Dan

 

 

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Comments (22) Join the discussion on the forum

  • MrMuzace 21 Jun 2017

    Hahaha! Nice article Dan - though it has to be said it's a pathetic excuse to justify driving a 997 Gen 2 GT3 RS - lucky devil! Interesting that the cars luddite enthusiasts most remember often come down to the ones that present the greatest challenges and rewards in equal measure. Manufacturers please take note that there is still a market for cars that are challenging to drive and high performance.

  • Dr S 21 Jun 2017

    Could not agree more. Every time I get into my 7.2 RS it just feels absolutely spot on in any respect. It's a car I can never see myself selling.

  • Digga 21 Jun 2017

    I think the 3.8/4.0 997.2 GT3 RS was very, very possibly peak car. Full stop.

    There will be bigger, faster, more expensive to some for sure.

    There will be older, more characterfull (and also, probably more expensive).

    But can anything be made to meet ever stricter emissions and crash regs that's better?

  • hondansx 21 Jun 2017

    Agree with the above. More than happy for the press to talk about the new 911s like they are the best thing since sliced bread, and ever improving. The reality is they are too quick and capable for more liking.

    Hopefully I will have a 997.2 RS one day. I had a 997.1 GT3 and loved it to death. Need to save a bit more for the daddy though!

  • HorneyMX5 21 Jun 2017

    Never driven one, likely never will. Certainly will never be able to afford to own one. But, to me it is also peak 911. Everything about the car looks perfect from proportions to the outrageous additions like the wing. The 991 to me just looks a bit odd, I think it's the over hangs.

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