Automotive theatre is a concept typically associated with something Italian and hugely expensive. German cars are sensible machines that you can defend to both your significant other and your mother. They are fast, but they are still practical.
Occasionally though, there is a glitch in the matrix. The Germans build something a little bit crazy. You can usually recognise one of these monsters by the presence of a huge wing and a Stuttgart badge. They are as terrifying as they are brilliant.
Loud. Harsh. Rough. The GT3 is the bar brawling maniac among the polished suits of the rest of the 911 range. As raw as it is beautiful, the bright red seatbelts and mean-looking bucket seats send a firm message of what is to come.
You’ll always remember your first time in a supercar. The sensation of seemingly impossibly late braking for a tight corner is a bit like seeing someone you fancy in the buff for the first time – you can’t quite believe it’s happening, but you know it’s going to be fun.
This 996 Gen.2 GT3 was experienced from the passenger seat, which brings its own unique thrills. With absolute trust placed in the driver next to you, the only source of feedback you have on grip levels is what you can feel through your tightly clenched buttocks.
The source of the clenching? 280kW of German power, delivered through a manual gearbox and stopped by a braking system that includes 6-piston front calipers. Walter Rőhrl destroyed the Nordschleife in 7 minutes 56 seconds with a GT3. He almost certainly drove it back to the factory afterwards, without a care in the world or a single reliability issue.
The normally aspirated power delivery leaves your stomach in a different postal code and your cheeks sore from smiling. Giggling like a little girl is entirely acceptable behaviour, as is clutching the bucket seats in a combination of fear and excitement.
There is plenty of grip, but you need to be fully committed to find it. The GT3 flirts with making a play for the widowmaker title that the 930 Turbo wore with such honour, but then suddenly bites and carries momentum through sweeping bends. Lifting off mid-corner is definitely not recommended.
The sheer extent of this car’s performance is also its biggest challenge. It is hugely entertaining on smooth roads, somewhat frightening on other surfaces. To really exploit what this car is capable of, you need to point the nose at one apex after another at a track day.
The best part? You can drive this car to work with the same confidence you would have driving it to (and on) the track. As a bonus, you probably won’t be late for your meeting…