I wrote this up for another message board, pasting here for giggles;
I have always been interested in reading impressions and opinions about these Porsches... I had the great pleasure of enjoying several of these wonderful cars over the last few weeks (mostly on two great racetracks, VIR and CMP), and wanted to offer my impressions. If you’re anything like me, you can waste away quite a bit of time reading about them!
Anyway, it is incredible that they can each offer such different driving experiences... I’ll start with the newest;
The 991 has immensely more grip. It is quite significantly faster than all previous GT3s, it also has quite a bit more grip all around. Even though I could tell what the chassis was doing, it is so composed and stable that it’s not comparable to the previous generations. The aero grip feels immense as well. As some of you may know, the car has a lot of electronics helping, from active shocks to active rear toe change, to stability control and so on. From the driver’s seat, it's hard to separate these pieces, but the end result is that the car is indeed very, VERY stable. I could not see a light for stability system intervention, even when heavily provoked, which is surprising. On a related note, it feels as though under braking, as well as coming out of lower speed corners aggressively, the rear brakes are activating to stabilize the car or maximizing grip (instead of a purely mechanical differential), again a light would’ve been helpful! I feel that the signal to noise ratio is nice on the car overall, however -and I don’t take this claim lightly- here’s ABSOLUTELY no steering feedback. I’m not sure how anybody can claim it is better than some other car, there’s just no feedback what so ever. The steering IS nicely weighted though. Another point of note, the transmission really is great. When shifting manually, the shifts happen faster than BMW’s DCT, Audi’s DSG, whomever’s whatever! They’re as close to “instantaneous” as I was able to perceive when you ask for a shift... That said, it’s hardly necessary to manually shift, the car does an excellent job of shifting for you... Engine sounds somewhat artificial, but pretty great none the less. Revving to 9k is almost hard to appreciate on track due to the transmission being so good. It’s a bitter sweet thing really. That fantastic engine with it’s wail and the great transmission with lightning shifts almost become distraction in and of themselves. One simply does not need to concern themselves with the gear selection, or the engine RPM!
997 (MK2) has significantly more torque than the 996 car, which does a great job of matching it’s improved rear end grip quite nicely. Able to get on power earlier and harder than the 996. I don’t have a whole lot to say here as I only got to ride in the passenger seat and chase one around the track, but it’s somewhat more composed than the 996. Engine tone is fantastic -probably my favorite- though it was a bit boomy at times, seemingly jumping between loud and quiet at part throttle. I believe there’s a valve in the exhaust and the computer decides when it should be loud, and when not? The car was in sport mode most of the time. The chassis felt similarly playful to the 996, even if a bit muted in it’s responses.
996 (MK2). Not stable, not composed, but fun. Required a lot more corrective input, both small and large. Slowest of the bunch by a fair bit... This may be silly, but it has the feel of a momentum car compared to the other two. By contrast, the 991 is a lot more focused and drama free, it is more serious. Also on the 996, the brakes were the most inconsistent of the bunch. Of course I’m splitting hairs here, they are indeed great with close to minimal fade, and only pedal feel/firmness changing over extended sessions on track (which one can reasonably expect to cure with a fluid change), they are more than adequate in this regard. One thing that cannot be remedied easily however is the extreme front bias of the brakes, which is both evident and quite annoying. Aero grip is very lacking, high speed stability is not on par with the other two.
So, in conclusion? As one would expect, the older cars are more engaging, the newer cars are faster, but less “connected”. I generally tend to prefer the “old school” way of doing things, but I’m not convinced that the newest car isn’t the best one all around. Certainly if it’s to be driven TO the track, the 991 is a commendable overall package and makes the 996 seem like a relic. At one point I’d wondered if the 997 was the best compromise of the bunch, with active damping, exhaust that can be loud when you want, quiet when you don’t. On top of that, the active engine mount option making the car smooth and quiet when cruising, but connected and direct when driven hard. It even retains the shorter more lively wheelbase of the 996 car, while improving the aerodynamics...
Looking back, I’m not so sure. I love the simplicity of the 996. The 997 improves it in significant ways while giving up a bit in the “traditional” feel of a 911 -is this even fair to say in the year 2015- but the 991 takes a monumental step forward in performance. I’m not so sure these cars can be compared, they’re all different, and great cars!
Here’s in car video of the 996 chasing the 997 at CMP:
[url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaT5SPCazH0"]On Board a 996 GT3, Chasing a 997 GT3 around CMP - YouTube[/url]
3/20/2015 11:45:10 PM