REIN­ING HORSES

Words: Johnny Ti­pler Pho­tog­ra­phy: Antony Fraser IN THE Just how ex­treme can a road car get be­fore it be­longs on the track? This 600 horse­power 993 GT2 Evo comes close, yet it has an amaz­ingly docile tem­per­a­ment, too

911 Porsche World - - 993 Gt2 Drive -

Crazy horses! 600 of ’em, strain­ing at the bit to haul this 993 GT2 Evo all the way to the hori­zon. But this stal­lion is no wild mus­tang; rather, a schooled showjumper of the breeds favoured by cav­al­ry­men or bull­fight­ers. And that’s fit­ting, be­cause it is lit­er­ally horses-for-cour­ses around here: the Waren­dorf re­gion is the eques­trian cap­i­tal of Ger­many, and our Porsche’s Stuttgart coat-of-arms is right at home.

We’re be­ing treated to an out­ing just down the road by Thomas Sch­mitz, RS spe­cial­ist ex­traor­di­naire, in the mel­low north Ger­man coun­try­side sur­round­ing his Tel­gte base. Thomas’s sta­ble is packed with a mouth-wa­ter­ing ar­ray of 964 RSS and 993 RSS, plus a cou­ple of 997 GT3S and 944 Cup Car, and it’s some­thing of a wrench to tear my­self away from his topline air-cooled feast to take a ride in the fastest of them all, the 993 GT2 Evo. Hav­ing driven a track­able Club Sport ver­sion in the York­shire Dales in 2016, I’m an­tic­i­pat­ing an un­com­pro­mis­ing ride, where it’s ac­tu­ally me that has to com­pro­mise on ac­count of an aus­tere cabin, hard ride and mas­sive me­chan­i­cal sound­track. I’m wrong. The Evo that I’m out in now is not like that at all. Sure, it’s got a fear­some clutch, but noth­ing you wouldn’t quickly come to terms with.

But first, be­fore we take that ride, let’s nail down some his­tory and spec. In the first place, Porsche brought in the 993 GT2 racing car in 1995 to con­test the GT2 cat­e­gory of the BRP Global En­durance se­ries and the sub­se­quent FIA GT Cham­pi­onship for 1997, with Roock Racing tak­ing the GT2 hon­ours in ’96 and fin­ish­ing run­ners-up in ’97. So, the wa­ter­cooled revo­lu­tion was al­ready two years old when Porsche cre­ated this fab­u­lous ma­chine, mak­ing the 993 GT2 Evo the air­cooled swansong. But what a cul­mi­na­tion: the Evo is the Evo to end all oth­ers, the most pow­er­ful in­car­na­tion of the air-cooled 911s – but bet­ter be wary when those twin tur­bos spin into ac­tion. Only 172 units of the 993 GT2 were pro­duced, of which 30 were GT2 Club Sports, and this par­tic­u­lar car is a street-le­gal evo­lu­tion of that, one of only 21 road cars built in 1998. Thomas qual­i­fies the model’s pro­gres­sion: ‘When they came out in ’95, the early GT2 race car was very sim­i­lar to the GT2 Cup Cars, with car­bon-fi­bre wings and car­bon-fi­bre bon­nets, and a lot of dif­fer­ent parts, and the Club Sport was more or less a modified race car. But the evo­lu­tion models were quite dif­fer­ent: the Evos are rear-wheel drive Tur­bos with some light­weight parts and wheel arch ex­ten­sions. One car was kept by the Porsche fam­ily for Wolf­gang Porsche, and of the 21 Evos built, we have had 12 pass through here.’ In­deed, Thomas has a sec­ond Evo in his show­room, in white, which has cov­ered only 20,70kms.

The Evo is some 200kg (441lb) lighter than the 993 Turbo. The power unit is the 3.6-litre, two-valves-per-cylin­der flat-six, de­vel­op­ing a whop­ping 600bhp, an as­ton­ish­ing gain over the nor­mal 430bhp of the 993 Turbo unit. With its boost pres­sure raised from 0.8- to 0.9-bar, it’s good for 187mph and 0–60 in 3.3sec. The

driv­e­train in­cor­po­rates the six-speed gearbox, but open the spoil­ered lid and the con­tents of the en­gine bay are ren­dered in­vis­i­ble by the vast in­ter­cooler that oc­cu­pies the up­per por­tion of the en­gine bay as well as the in­side of the en­gine lid.

Fin­ished in Ocean Blue Metal­lic, our test car is one of only two made in that hue. In the sun­shine, the colour changes from dark blue to mid blue to metal­lic blue with some kind of green­ish iri­des­cence, de­pend­ing on the an­gle you look at it. It is gor­geous, a thing of beauty, and the hunki­est in­car­na­tion of the air-cooled 911 – and that in it­self is a mat­ter of some poignancy: there would never be an­other one. Stylis­ti­cally, the re­mark­able as­pects of the GT2 in­clude the two tall grilles for the oil cool­ers in the front valance, a pair of ducts to cool the brakes, and an­other cou­ple of grilles on ei­ther side for dis­si­pat­ing heat from the nose. The front split­ter with its side fins, and the add-on whee­larch flares give the GT2 its pur­pose­ful stance. The bul­bous whee­larches are at­tached by Allen screws, seven each for the font ones and eight on the rears, aug­ment­ing the body width by 30mm at each cor­ner, cladding 235/40ZR x 18 and 285/35ZRS x 18 Con­ti­nen­tals on 9in and 11in five-spoke Speed­line split-rim wheels. The prac­ti­cal point of the ex­ten­sions was that they could be

re­placed more ef­fi­ciently than panel beat­ing in the event of an on-track al­ter­ca­tion, not un­like the 934 of two decades ear­lier, though in prac­tice they could be con­strued as a cos­metic con­ceit, al­beit a rather sexy one. Cup mir­rors are to be ex­pected, but that bi-plane rear wing with its tri­an­gu­lar air scoops is as prom­i­nent a dec­la­ra­tion of in­tent as any. One thing’s for sure, it dom­i­nates the prospect in the rear-view mir­ror. As for ride, the Evo is less un­com­pro­mis­ing than the raw Club Sport, though still solid bushed and ad­justable in a racing con­text. As Thomas points out, ‘the 993 GT2 is an ho­molo­ga­tion model that was built to get the GT2 cars into racing, so ev­ery­thing that was put on to it has a rea­son: the rear spoiler, the whee­larch ex­ten­sions, and it may look a bit show-off, but ac­tu­ally it’s not like mod­ern su­per cars, even the Porsche 991 GT3 RS, but the ad­di­tions to the body­work are due to the fact that more power and more speed means that you need a lot of aero­dy­namic helpers, es­pe­cially in a car with a rear-mounted en­gine. So, su­per­cars get more and more dra­matic these days, but mainly for func­tional rea­sons.’

There’s been a bit of to-ing and fro-ing re­gard­ing the car’s own­er­ship. Thomas bought it from its first owner, a Porsche VIP cus­tomer who’d also owned two 911 GT1S and raced at Le Mans and the FIA GT se­ries in the multi-coloured Krauss Mo­tor­sport GT2. ‘This was just a car from his per­sonal col­lec­tion,’ Thomas tells us, ‘which he used on the road, and we have ev­ery piece of paper from the bill of sale on­wards, in­clud­ing ser­vice in­voices.’ Thomas then sold the car to Bri­tish en­thu­si­ast Graeme Lang­ford. ‘He had it for a while, and sold it back to me. We have all the pa­per­work from him, too. He ac­tu­ally bought it to use it as a track­day car, but then he de­cided it was too nice for track work, so it sat in his col­lec­tion, and he drove it to Clas­sic Le Mans one time. And then we sold it to the Pres­i­dent of the French Porsche club, and then I bought it back, and since then it’s been my per­sonal car. But I’ve done al­most zero miles in it, as I just don’t have the time. So, it’s only done 36,900km, and clearly no com­pe­ti­tion work. The French gen­tle­man was the same, he had it more as a col­lec­tor’s piece and as a hobby driver to Porsche club meet­ings. I drove it twice to the Porsche cen­tre for a ser­vice, and in the coun­try­side a lit­tle bit, and that was it, and it’s free from any kind of ac­ci­dents, and in ex­tremely nice con­di­tion.’

Quite so. It might have been ac­cept­able to in­dulge in a cer­tain amount of track work a decade or so ago, but this re­ally is a gem, and while I know one or two mav­er­ick col­lec­tors who’d gladly shake it on down on a cir­cuit ses­sion, it is on that cusp of hobby car and a piece of art­work. Like the thor­ough­bred it is, it mer­its mol­ly­cod­dling. Thomas de­liv­ers a lit­tle con­text: ‘It is a highly un­der­rated car; it’s so quick, and in Ger­many now GT2S are le­gal for what we call the Young­timer Tro­phy, so this is in be­tween clas­sic racing and mod­ern racing. Many of these races take place on the old Nür­bur­gring Nord­schleife, and these cars are very quick and so com­pet­i­tive, and if they are well main­tained they are very re­li­able. They are nicely bal­anced, so up to a cer­tain level they are quite easy to drive quickly, and I have been in Assen in Hol­land to test an­other one, and I could do the same lap times as a 993 Car­rera Cup car. It’s a very

The 993 GT2 is a ho­molo­ga­tion car, so it is built for a pur­pose

It may be a wild thing, but this 993 GT2 looks sur­pris­ingly sub­tle in Ocean Blue Metal­lic, one of only two sup­plied as such

Un­like to­day’s GT Porsches, Porsche had to build the 993 GT2 to ho­molo­gate it for sports car racing. Hence all the arches, wings, en­gine and trans­mis­sion are de­signed to serve a pur­pose on track

Below: Stun­ning split-rim Speed­lines. Thomas Sch­mitz. For now the 993 GT2 is his per­sonal car

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