PORSCHE 911 GT3 VERSUS ROAD
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
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