As ru­mours swirl on a forced in­duc­tion fu­ture for the 911, we wake spar­rows for a last blast in the atmo 4.0-litre 991.2

Wheels (Australia) - - Contents -

En­right ducks out for some milk; goes the long way

ONE, TWO, four, twenty, one hun­dred. It was a vast mob of ’roos, emerg­ing in waves from the spinifex. Star­tled by the search­light blue of the LED head­lights, they scram­bled over one another to reach safety. Some were knotty, mus­cled adults, tim­ing their leap across the boundary fence in ad­vance like a chess player, ef­fort­lessly skim­ming as if work­ing ground-ef­fect. Oth­ers were scrappy lit­tle tack­ers, jink­ing fu­ri­ously, look­ing for a breach in the wire. One lost grip, low­sid­ing on the sand like an in­ept mo­tor­cy­clist, limbs flail­ing des­per­ately, eyes wide, spit­tle fleck­ing from its soft mouth. Pre-dawn out of Dunkeld in a Porsche 911 GT3 re­wards a cer­tain cir­cum­spec­tion, but de­layed grat­i­fi­ca­tion only makes what’s to come that bit more pi­quant. Choos­ing where to take Porsche’s lat­est 991.2 ver­sion of the GT3 had us scan­ning Google Maps for weeks in ad­vance. We wanted roads that of­fered tight, tech­ni­cal sec­tions, a va­ri­ety of sur­faces, faster open sec­tions and, to avoid the wrath of the pho­tog­ra­phers, an es­cape from the tree-blan­keted roads of the high hin­ter­lands near Mel­bourne. The Vic­to­rian Alps were out too, as we’d re­cently shot there and wanted some­thing dif­fer­ent. The route we set­tled on started in Dunkeld, at the south­ern end of the Grampians Na­tional Park, headed north to Halls Gap, cut up onto the high plateaus north-west to War­took and then snaked east through Roses Gap, even­tu­ally flank­ing Lake Lons­dale into our des­ti­na­tion, Stawell.

The 911 GT3 needs lit­tle in the way of in­tro­duc­tion. This ver­sion gets the lat­est 9R1.5 en­gine, a 4.0-litre flat­six re­lated to that of the 911 RSR race car. Likely the last nat­u­rally as­pi­rated en­gine to re­side in the back of a GT3, it revs to 9000rpm, makes 368kw and ditches the old hy­draulic valve gear in favour of a sim­pler set-up that low­ers fric­tion and frees up another 6kw. Helper springs on the rear axle per­mit a more mal­leable ride qual­ity, while bet­ter aero, an op­ti­mised four-wheel-steer sys­tem and the fit­ment of stan­dard Cup rub­ber prom­ise a ride and han­dling bal­ance un­like any pre­vi­ous GT3.

That’s the prom­ise. Maybe it just doesn’t like early morn­ings, but the GT3 feels re­cal­ci­trant at low speed, this Pdk-equipped car chunter­ing and clat­ter­ing on the over­run with the Club­sport-spec roll cage clank­ing and ping­ing as it starts to soak heat from the en­gine. Porsche has ditched the rat­tly dual-mass fly­wheel on this model, and the PDK trans­mis­sion mates to an e-diff rather than a me­chan­i­cal item but at idle the GT3 still sounds like a sack of scaf­fold clips be­ing emp­tied into a wind tun­nel.

The road north to­wards Halls Gap is, thank­fully, fairly

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