The road from Gordon’s Bay to Kleinmond is one of the most scenic in the world. The ribbon of recently-renewed tarmac winds its way along the coast, mimicking the shoreline as it undulates away – and back towards – the ocean. Local manufacturers have made the road a favourite on local launch events, which means that, despite having moved down to the Mother City just a few months ago, the road is not unknown to me.
So, you can imagine the size of my grin, when, purely by virtue of good timing, I found my eardrums taking in the absolutely unmistakable bark of a flat-six motor at full chat, on this most amazing stretch of blacktop, behind the wheel of a Porsche GT3.
Despite the baking hot summer day, both windows of the coupé were wound all the way down, but the aircon was blowing out a chilled breeze – and yes, the R1,5-million GT3 does have mod-cons like air-conditioning – to better appreciate the acoustic delight that emanates from the rear-mounted engine.
With the ‘Sport’ button engaged, like I was sure to do before setting off, the motor is allowed to express itself more vocally, thanks to a bypass valve in the exhaust system being opened. Well, there’s that, and the fact that the button unleashes a few more ponies, though, truth be told, I probably wouldn’t have noticed if they weren’t in attendance.
911s are so entrenched in motorhead cluture that the woofle of the horizontally opposed six is unmistakable, and in this latest GT3 incarnation, it is spine-tingling. Not only is there more intensity, but also more clarity to the whole aural experience. It’s like listening to Sultans of Swing on a CD, as opposed to vinyl. Sure the chords, being perfectly picked by the talented Mark Knopfler may be the same, but in CD format your can almost hear his finger nails on the strings. And with the engine racing to the 8 000+ r/min redline at every given opportunity, the bark from the 305 kW powerplant ricochets off the adjacent cliffs, into the cabin and directly up my spine.
Off course, the soundtrack is just one of the many sensory overloads that one will experience at the wheel of a GT3, the other is its brilliant power delivery. There is very little lumpiness from the race-tuned motor, which makes it docile enough to drive in traffic and at sedate speeds, but that’s not the raison d’ etre of the GT3.
From standstill, it’ll rush to 100 km/h in a shade over four and a half seconds, and break the 1 km tape 18 seconds later. Having said that, straight line performance is just a side effect in this car, as it will charge from one corner to the next at will. With the aforementioned Sport button depressed, there is the full wad of power and torque at my disposal, but I fear its slightly wasted in this less than ideal situation, not that I’m not trying to unleash the full corral of horses at every given opportunity.
The light, yet precise, steering constantly talks to you via the palms of your hands, communicating generous levels of grip and road conditions through your seat.
Standard equipment on the GT3 are race-derived (like so may other parts of the this finely-honed machine) Michelin Pilot Cup semi-slick rubber. Measuring a whopping 305 mm at the back, the levels of lateral adhesion are simply breathtaking for a road car. Thankfully, there are deep bucketed racing chairs to keep you firmly in control, and a grippy Alcantara wheel to hang to, or else the GT3 experience could become a very unpleasant ride, as I guess it would be for any passenger.
Given the super sticky rubber, and the added benefit of a rear wing that creates real downforce, you would have possess a very poorly developed sense of self-preservation to get the GT3 out of shape on the road. Should you wish to explore the very high limits of adhesion, there is some comfort in knowing that the model is fitted with 380-mm and 350 -mm ventilated ceramic discs, fore and aft.
You can race up the short throw, six-speed manual ‘box through the straight bits and then back down when the road is punctuated by tight third and second gear corners. The ever-so-slighty offset pedals are perfectly positioned for some fancy footwork, and every heel-toe tap dance is rewarded by another snarl from the motor, and brings you straight into the fat wedge of (405 N.m) torque. Get it right and the volume of the engine rises unabated, bring with it a flurry of yet more neck-straining acceleration.
Several times, on the numerous runs that I was involuntarily addicted to performing, I have to remind myself that this is public road and, as beautiful a sight as it is, regular road users and tourists may not appreciate the antics of this race thoroughbred. Thankfully, even at legal speeds, the 1-300 kg GT3 delivers an entertaining drive that delights the senses.
I blasted through the gears at full chat one more time, just to hear that engine note. Lift off after a full throttle run, and unburnt vapours fizz and pop as they escape via those centrally-mounted exhaust pipes. I was reminded of a sprinter puffing after a 100-metre dash, but the difference is that the GT3 is ready for yet another run, the moment you are.
A full road test of the 997-series Porsche 911 GT3 appears in the 300-page Anniversary Edition of CAR – on sale now!
Click one of the options below to download a wallpaper of the Porsche GT3: