Form versus function. A popular debate these last few years and one we continue to encounter. Which one do you go for? This is a question we can’t possibly answer, as there are varying opinions and tastes out there, but let me put this to you. Is there a way that we can have both? Is it possible to inject a nice dose of style into a car without impacting negatively upon its performance?
Before we answer this however we need to attempt to define style, or at least the meaning of such a broad term in the context of our little theoretical exercise here. By style I am of course referring to a somewhat noticeable change in a car’s overall appearance; ride height, wheel choice, fitment, aero choice – all of these must be part of the equation.
Go overboard on any and you are throwing functionality out of the window. So while it may be extremely cool to have wild negative offset and suspension set so low that you quickly learn where every speed bump in your town is (and alternative routes to avoid them) then you aren’t exactly boosting your car’s performance. It’s a very fine balance and what may work for some, may not work for others.
Within reason however I think there are some out there that manage to achieve a perfect harmony between the two, and one of these guys is Otsuka-san from The Check Shop.
I met Otsuka-san by chance a few years back up at the Hakone Turnpike during a magazine shoot of his then new demo car, a bronze E60 M5 which I later featured in September 2009. To this day his E60 remains my favorite M5, a superb mix of style and performance. Blasting up the Turnpike with the V10 screaming at 8,000 rpm through the titanium headers and exhaust is a memory I will never forget, nor will I forget how awesome the car looked on its 21-inch wheels and subtle aero package.
Fast forward three year and Otsuka-san has done it again, this time creating the perfect blend of style and performance on a customer’s 997 GT3 RS.
It was at the Motor Head Zero Yon event a couple of months ago that I had the chance to see this car for the first time, a chance to admire its unique looks…
…as well as to witness its performance down the quarter mile.
As Otsuka-san told me the idea was to work with a few requests that his customer’s had. Not having too much time on his hands the owner wouldn’t be able to enjoy the GT3 RS on the track as much as he would like to, so wanted to spice up the looks, injecting a bit of street style, enough to get him noticed but in no way impacting the car’s awesome performance.
The whole treatment was based around a set of the latest wheels that Otsuka-san designed for his Agio Wheels brand. These Absolute TWM ULTRA CCV pay tribute to the old BBS mesh wheels that were used on Porsche 935 racers that competed in Group-5 during the seventies. It’s a fresh design and one that suits Stuttgart’s finest race-ready beast perfectly. These are actually special center lock versions of the wheel that can fit the 997 GT2 and GT3 hubs. To really get an impact out of the wheel Otsuka-san fitted 9Jx20″ at the front…
…with the rear sporting a 12J wide 20-inch rim.
Otsuka-san isn’t afraid about pushing boundaries, especially on the wheel size of things. Back three years ago on his M5 he fitted 21-inch rims with low-profile rubber, like on this 997 1-inch up from stock size. Before driving his M5 I was skeptical, thinking he had thrown the ride and handling of the car out of the window, but after driving it for myself I came away very impressed.
The GT3 RS he says is the same. The wheels might be very design-focused but in no way do they disrupt the car’s amazing handling capabilities.
To make sure of this he sourced some Michelin Pilot Sport Cups in 20-inch diameters, fitting 245/25R20s at the front with 315/25R20 at the back.
And with a rear 12J rim he was able to go for a nice stretch too, something that in the right kind of circles will earn you instant kudos.
Then of course came the obligatory ride height drop. The 997 GT3 RS 3.8 comes with adjustable track-oriented suspension direct from factory but Otsuka-san’s customer required something of higher quality, dampers that would not only have tons of adjustability…
…but also an extra damping quality that only high-end systems boast. So Dutch Moton 3-way coilovers were chosen, fitted at each corner along with their remote reservoir tanks, mounted within easy reach for those small fine-tuning adjustments.
So the result is a GT3 RS that not only oozes style and dare I use this word to describe a Porsche, “stance,” but at the same time in no way sacrifices its capabilities.
Lift the engine cover and you are confronted with possibly the best naturally aspirated six-cylinder engine ever made, the 450HP…
…3.8L flat-six that powers this GT3 RS. While there isn’t really any need for more power (well there’s the 500 HP GT3 RS4.0 for that of course)…
…Otsuka-san has fitted a Cup exhaust system to really intensify that typical Porsche wail and in the process, along with a less restrictive panel air filter, liberate a few more horses.
For track duty the stock PCCB carbon-ceramic braking system the car is fitted with from factory is pretty much unbeatable so it has been left untouched, those roughly textured drilled rotors peaking through the gold spokes of the Agio wheels.
Aside from a digital radar detector the interior is completely stock; and why would you ever want to meddle with perfection! The GT3 RS’s cabin is as driver-focused as you could ever find in a modern-day car, so along with lightweight carbon bucket seats…
…and acres of alcantara-clad trim, you have nice little weight -saving details…
…like the little red pull-straps, a throwback to the legendary 2.7 RS.
Instrumentation is simple and well laid out…
…and on this US-import also includes the dash-mounted analog stopwatch.
And the best thing? The manual transmission! Porsche obviously understands how to make a driver’s car.
Hit play above to see Otsuka-san take the screaming 911 GT3 RS off the line at the Motor Head Zero Yon event.
He recorded a 12.667 sec quarter mile and a 4.98 sec 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) time.
Like with his E60 M5 Otsuka-san managed to achieve the perfect blend of style and performance, a correct balance of form and function that helps make this one of the best GT3s I’ve ever come across. The final verdict of course is down to you; we all have different views…what is yours?
Engine: aftermarket foam panel filter, Cup exhaust system
Suspension: Moton 3-way adjustable race dampers
Wheels & Tires: Agio Absolute TWM ULTRA CCV center locks 9Jx20″ (front), 12Jx20″ (rear), Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 245/25R20 (front), 315/25R20 (rear)
-Dino Dalle Carbonare
@greenroadster Most modern cars can have the dash reprogrammed to various languages either in car or with a diagnostic tester.
When I watched the Zero Yon video. I mean the Meihan-Media version, I immediately fall in love with this Porsche. Love at first sight. Defined. :)
yanes33537 Yep it sure is a looker! I think everyone at the event fell in love with it!
The way i see it, if it's cool for Mr Dalle Carbonare to express his opinion - and it definitely is, 'cos without his and his colleagues' excellent and, yes, FREELY GIVEN, journalism, we would all be having to get down to some work right now instead of reading about interesting (careful choice of words) cars - then surely it's cool for Mr JDMized to express his opinions too.
I.e. if it's opinions you're into then you gots to take the rough with the smooth. That's MY opinion anyway.
AND strong opinions make debate more interesting. That's surely why people bother to ever read these comments. In fact, it has even occurred to me that Mr JDMized might actually be a Speedhunters plant or agent provocateur working to stir things up ;) Am i right, Sirs? A nudge is as good as a wink...
tenpennyjimmy I like 1/10th of what SH features (most of the stuff Dino posts, I don't like).....everyone on here feels so compelled to defend Dino and throw in their .02, where the truth of the matter is, I am just DAMN picky.
.....and opinions are just opinions, really!
The main reasons why I don't like SH that much is because "journalists" fills those articles with 99% opinions, and the remaining 1% with hard facts. It would be nice if it was the other way around.
We can stay here arguing about this debate for days. But one thing is for sure; the Porsche GT3 RS was designed and developed to be a true race car, not a "zero-yon" car wearing 20's.
@JDMized Sorry bub, your "one sure thing" is completely wrong. Porsche sells a Cup car for racing. track-only. The GT3 RS is a track-inspired street car, for wealthy enthusiasts to drive to work. you also slam Dino for posting opinion over fact - then do the same yourself. that makes you an illogical hypocrite. you should really stop and think - if everybody knew your real name, and your friends could see how childish you're acting - would you dare to type that nonsense?
bakayaru JDMized THE FACT IS: Porsche designed the GT3 RS for enthusiasts that like to take their Porsches to the track more than people that purchases a Boxter (I use the Boxter as a example). This is NOT an opinion, this is a fact!
You want another fact? 99% of Porsche GT3 RS owner also own other cars to go to work. The wealthy people, like you called them, do have other cars to toy around. The GT3 RS are not their only way of commuting.
Now if the owner decide to put 20' on his RS, I just hope he knows he's ruining years of R&D Porsche put into the 997.
The fact that this RS owner takes his Porsche to Fuji Speedway doesn't really mean anything. Hell I've seen Hellaflush enthusiasts taking their Scion xB onto the track with rack and fixie on it.
Anyway, often times SH Staff clutter features with personal opinion, although Dino doesn't like to admit it; just read it carefully and you'll see a I-stumbled-upon-this-great-car-and-I-want-to-do-a-feature despite the fact the owner uses the car for something else. So Dino (like many other SH journalist have to adjust the story based on what they have in front).....but whatever.
What kind of Porsche is Boxter? New model of some sort? Smaller than Boxster? Maybe JDM you know, and rest....But wait, that is also not true...Dino, good job man.
JDMized tenpennyjimmy You will find that we keep our opinions to ourselves and just show what we find or run across in our speedhunting adventures. We never say this is good or bad, we just present it as it is. All the rest is up to you guys. You somehow continue to assume that because this GT3RS in questions was invited to participate at a fun magazine event, wearing its street wheels, that's all the car is used for (1/4 mile events with 20s)? Don't you think this sort of proves you seem to lack imagination or plain common sense. Let me do this for you JDMized....next time the owner takes it out to Fuji I'll just have to go and shoot the car again just for you, wearing it's stock wheels and semi-slicks rubber. Maybe then your mind will be put to ease;)
Great clean looking GT3. If it were my car, putting on 20" rims are probably the last thing I'd do to it. But despite my personal taste, I gotta say that as crazy as the wheels look, it all comes together rather well.
Too many kids on here crying about how cars are done like there's a "right way" and a "wrong way" to own a car. Opinions are fought over like they're facts, self-claimed experts preaching their internet-gained knowledge, couch racers arguing how real racers are "doing it wrong"... these comments are just ridiculous. SH, seriously, keep pushing form vs function. One can only hope that through these posts, some ignorant people may actually learn what it means to be a car enthusiast.
The FORM vs. FUNCTION comments fully lack the reason they aim to provide. To begin with, you'd need to know which function the car serves. If the car's function is to be a street car (most sports cars are), then a caged and stripped car with forged 18's IS more about form than function!!! Building the best racing car, to drive on the street is NOT form following function! Leaving a car stock, when you're goal is to stand out, is NOT following the function. common sense is so hard to grasp for the commentors here.
I think what many people are forgetting, despite their opinions on form vs function, is that this is an owner of a beautiful ride that's actually DOING something with it.
I think sometimes the function purists are most annoyed by those who love the way a car looks only because those form followers don't actually drive the car hard. Otsuka-san is taking his personal creation and flogging the hell out of it. I don't care if you're a fan of one school of thought or another, just get out there and drive your car.
"And with a rear 12J rim he was able to go for a nice stretch too, something that in the right kind of circles will earn you instant kudos."
You mean something that in the wrong kind of circles will earn you instant kudos, right? Stretch is for fools!
speedhunters_dino if I remember reading correctly, the Cyber Evo (before the change) actually a slight stretch going on.
speedhunters_dino I also think in this photo I see some stretch on the Cyber Evo. http://photos.motoiq.com/MotoIQ/Tech/The-Ultimate-Guide-To/Streached-tire-1/757760977_pDTTN-O.jpg
Lowie_64 Will have to take a look next time I see it. I remember they used to run wider tyres up front (on same width rim as rear) back in the day. Now everyone is just up to massive 295s all round LOL
I really like the Porsche and it's balance between form and function. I plan on finding that same balance when I get my S13. So this Porsche will be a good inspiration to by. Also it sounds quite beautiful.
I wonder how much those 20s weigh... lol. I also wonder how much performance was lost running rubber band tires with stretch. That said, everything else is perfect, Motons are definitely drool worthy and ride height is perfect. It's personally not my style with those shoes on it . . . like the saying goes... a show car may not be a race car, but a race car is always a show car.... something about pure function completes the "form" aspect to it for me. So a set of forged 18s with meaty tires would complete the car, in my humble opinion.
Love it! Simply love it, its everything a Porsche should be while being everything the owner *wants* it to be. Time and effort have all been put in finishing the car to an insanely high standard - inside and out - as for those wheels I cant think of a better set - all round stunner and far from the usual GT3 piston-h**d "Resale is everything, modefication is for the kids" BS.
if "it" was left to "purists" then we wouldn't have the vibrant car scenes around the world we have: just a bunch of very stock cars sitting about with bonnet bras on affraid to drive incase of a paintchip.... whatever the cars starting point and finish line it should be judged on the quality of the work and if it is as the owner/designer/builder intended - Id say this one hit the nail bang on the head.
Skip, thanks for the constructive comment. I totally agree with you, doing things differently is obviously not for everyone.
speedhunters_dino I believe the term is "luddites" :)
experimentation is everything: without it we cant evolve or develop- and neither can anything else, cars included.
thanks for the story and the pictures.... keep 'em comming!
Skip yes indeed, experimenting is the key to pushing forward that's for sure. Not everyone thinks like that unfortunately.
I say 18's all around with the right width and offset to fill things out, and beefier tires. Those wheels are sick, it would be blatant hating to say they aren't. The 13th picture has to be a desktop!! Really, Dino hook it up
Great looking car! Those Moton are to die for. Unfortunately this RS is too low, once again FORM OVER FUNCTION here on SH, meh.....
JDMized I can never please you so your futile attempt at a constructive comment is something I kind of expected. So if I were to tell you that the Moton suspension and the ride height are set for Fuji Speedway, would you still give me a "meh" So just because the GT3 RS 3.8 is a track-focused car the owner should drive it around on stock wheels? Should he also run slick tires too? Will he also have to raise it up every time he leaves the circuit? Maybe he should bag it LOL
@speedhunters_dino You feel hurt that you can never please me? Dino, the truth is, you really try hard to please the crowd. You're one of the few gaijin journalist living in Japan, and so enthusiasts flock to you. Your work is truly mediocre at best, and if someone picky like me has some negative comments about your post, you immediately feel butt hurt. The Porsche 997 RS best works with 18' wheels at the track (I don't care what track). Ask any Porsche GT3 Cup guys. Now, if the owner tracks his RS at Fuji, more power to him, but that doesn't mean he's fast.... In case you wonder, I am all over function over form (like you stated in your first paragraph). So don't get upset :)
JDMized speedhunters_dino Is there a reason you frequent Speedhunters if "function over form" is your bread and butter 24/7 all of the time? The features on this website are a good mix of eclectic car enthusiast styles, covering broad ranges of topics, both FIA sanctioned races and casual enthusiast meets. Why do you feel a need to troll on posts that don't agree with you? I myself gloss over some of the features on SH that don't interest me necessarily, but I don't go scrawl bullshit all over those posts or criticize the author for bringing content that disinterests me.
As far as being a disciple of "function over form," what evidence have you got that this RS is incorrectly set up? Do you have the alignment spec sheet, and know precise measurements of its suspension travel, rebound, damping, exact ride height mm, etc? Can you tell me what tire pressures he is running? What about lap times for this specific car/driver? If not, stfu about it being "too low to be functional" or that the car/driver is slow, because you're simply talking out of your ass. Which is attached to your mouth. Which is disconnected from anything that resembles a brain.
Sure, the wheels are not ideally suited for the track, 18" and more sidewall would probably net a performance gain. But again, that is not the point of this post, as the whole article is about a tuner/enthusiast that is looking for a BALANCE between the two. This is about answering the question in the first paragraph, whether you can achieve a good mix of function and form, not one over the other necessarily. It seems if we asked you, you would say there is only black or white and only one is right. Get over yourself.
Finally, I don't know Dino personally, so I won't try to defend him other than to proffer that you please enlighten us with examples of your past magnificent journalistic content and how anything you've written or covered on Japanese automotive culture is above "mediocre." I don't see you contributing anything other than hard trolling, and not providing anyone anything of value.
Usually I would gloss over troll posts like yours, as I do with SH features that aren't interesting to me. But your troll bait was too strong. Too bad your logic/mindset isn't.