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
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