Why The Best GT3 Is The Last One You’ve Driven

Coffee, lots of talk about Mk3 Golfs, VR6s, ABT manifolds and Schrick intakes. Oh, and six GT3s.

There are some days that I really struggle with an early morning flight out of London’s Heathrow airport, but this isn’t one of them. I’m walking to the check-in desk at British Airways’ ‘T5’ terminal to meet Mark and Ryan. Handshakes and hugs exchanged, we’re en route to the nearest place that serves breakfast, and most importantly, coffee.


We’re flying to Stuttgart to meet Benjamin and Alexander from the Porsche Museum, and despite knowing exactly what’s planned, it’s hard to comprehend that this is real life.

After a tactical nap on the plane, we land in Stuttgart and head to the museum. Yet more coffee, and inevitably, my weak bladder gets the better of me. You know you’re in a fantastic place when you ask where the bathroom is and the response from your host is a simple, “head down to the 930 flat nose and make a right.” Very good Beny, very good.


So why are we here? We’d arranged to interview a retired Porsche engineer. He went tyre testing, so Beny had to find something to pass a few hours. Being a Mk3 Golf nerd, I did wonder what Beny would come up with. Suffice to say, if you guessed that it was something quite good by the photos so far, you’d be right.

In 2019, I got so bored of seeing brands take ‘influencers’ on ritzy trips, only to see the same thoughtless stories plastered over Instagram by the same boring people more interested in themselves, than driving cars. In fact, the inbox on the Speedhunters account gets flooded with these cookie-cutter ‘press trip’ invites every week. While selfishly these trips are brilliant for a swanky hotel and air miles, it’s often difficult to tell a good story.


Thankfully, the Porsche Museum doesn’t mess about when it comes to cars and driving them.

Today there would be no fancy business class flights to Portimão, no race engineer with slicks checking tyre temps, and no ‘bespoke’ hashtag we’d be asked to use. Just a caffeine-fuelled drive to Weissach and back.

“You can drive whatever car you like today, as long as it’s a GT3,” smiles Beny. “We want you to experience the character of each and every GT3 generation, just to make sure that you get a feeling for them and how every gem is different. Take whichever one you like.”

Sounds very hospitable, but how much different would these cars be? There’s only one way to find out.

The team at Porsche are so confident in their GT3 cars that Beny and his colleagues had laid on the bare essentials: a packed lunch and a full tank of fuel. 


Beny’s colleague, Alexander E. Klein (pictured above), explains, “The Porsche Museum is not your usual collection; we don’t specifically buy or seek cars that are original ‘first paint’ because we want them to be used and driven, so inevitably they get scratched and that would be a shame.”


These guys speak my language. I’m not into keeping the miles low on a car or worrying about a few stone chips. In fact, I kind of like them. But my love for wear and tear is a much deeper discussion, and one that we’ll save for another time. But by all means let me know if I’m weird in the comments.


Back to this dream-turned-reality and I’m heading towards the 997.2. So is Ryan. I get there first, so he’ll have to wait. And besides, Ryan’s driven loads of GT3s, whereas I don’t think I’ve ever driven one for more than a mile.


I’ve always wanted a 996.2 GT3 Clubsport and nearly bought one back in 2014, but got offered a great deal on a C63 AMG and snapped that up instead. Probably not the smartest financial move, but no regrets – I had loads of fun in that car. And that’s more important to me than speculating or making a profit on a car.

So, if I wanted a 996.2 so badly, why am I heading towards the 997.2. No clue, to be honest. Maybe it’s the coffee. Or perhaps it’s because I’ve stolen everyone’s chocolate bars – straight out of the packed lunches left on the passenger seats of these GT3s – and eaten half of them already. Have I had too much sugar? Who knows. Who cares? Let’s go.


Mark’s inevitably taken a 991.1 since the man’s obsessed with high-revving naturally aspirated motors. He’s a lunatic and goes flying off, no doubt working out how he’s going to get that perfect 9,000rpm shot. You can predictably see said image above this copy.


Ryan’s in the 996.1, which is good news. He’d have hated being in this 997.2 because that would have messed up his OCD for doing things in an orderly fashion.

I love driving cars. It doesn’t matter if it’s a fancy sports car or base-spec rental, I almost always enjoy the experience. Sometimes, though, I find myself looking for reasons to love a car. With the GT3, you don’t need to look for a reason. Each of these machines is logical. They all make sense in their own way.


“There’s a GT3 for every mood, a bit like having a wardrobe full of sharp suits for every occasion. Not that I know what that feels like,” says Ryan. He’s clearly high on his renewed love for the flat-six. I thought it was all about BMW? Clearly not because a few months after this trip and Ry’s just bought a 996 Turbo. Mark’s not as fickle, so let’s see what he thinks…

“There’s probably 1% of people in the world who can extract 90% of performance from a GT3, but 100% of people can enjoy one for the reasons above.


“The 991 cars are so damn quick it feels like 1: the GT3 I’d be able to drive, but 2: the one I feel least connected to because its performance is just so far beyond what I can realistically use. The 996 Gen 1 feels like a modified car; proper skunkworks. And you can 100% see what the engineers were trying to achieve.

“The 997.2 GT3 for me was the pinnacle. It felt properly fast, but mechanical enough to be in control, even though I think it was the 996.2 GT3 that I felt most comfortable driving fast.”

Weirdly, I also felt most comfortable driving the second-gen 996 GT3 quickly. Maybe it’s because of the size. It feels quite compact and is very easy to get on with.


It’s not like Mark to go into great detail about how he feels about something. No wait, I tell a lie.

“Basically, I assumed all GT3s would be much of a muchness and I also looked down on ‘em compared to the RS models. But I’d argue the GT3 has even more character. They have to be road and track cars – the RS gets a bit more of a free pass for being track focused. The GT3 is expected to do everything, and because of that each car’s character shines through. You could easily tick the comfort spec option and drive any of these daily.”

Each version of the GT3 has its own way of making your brain start listing reasons as to why it’s the ‘right car for you’. It doesn’t matter which one you’re driving – all of these Porsches make you feel good.

And you know what? I reckon we can all learn something from this Porsche approach to road testing: a packed lunch and a full tank of fuel. Where are you going?


I’d like to know about the best drive you’ve ever had. Doesn’t matter if it was 10 hours or a 10-minute journey home from work. Let us know in the comments.

Ben Chandler
Instagram: ben_scenemedia

Photography by Mark Riccioni
Instagram: mark_scenemedia
Twitter: markriccioni



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OMG guys let's enjoy these cars while we still can,the future of electric cars *yawn* is here


The question is, can electric cars still be fun? After driving Bisimoto's electric-powered 911 creation, I think they can. Granted, for me I don't think you can beat the sound of a naturally aspirated engine, but electric cars can make you feel good. I can get excited about driving pretty much anything.


exhaust note is not the only thing that makes a car but growing up it's something I've known and loved.. electric cars have a lot to make up for from electric range to charging (being from south Africa 3 out of 10 times we struggle with electricity)and the source of electriciy it's self,i mean why promote electric cars as a cleaner means of transportation when electriciy companies still burn fossils to provide electricity... electric cars are fast and amazing and are potentially the future which is something we won't argue but im still not sold... maybe in 30 years things would have changed rapidly by then :)


It's rare that Mark's photos are outshined by the accompanying text, but you've written a bloody brilliant piece for this Ben. More, please.


Haha, thanks Paddy. Looking forward to writing more whilst we all have this time at home.


Ben is more clever than he looks. Which is saying something, because he looks pretty clever.


Ps. Trevor you joker. Thanks! (i think)


this is such a great piece! I've always loved the GT3s. Hopefully one day I'll get to own one!


Hopefully we both do!


I feel exactly the same Rick about owning a GT3 one day. Thanks for the kind words.


Wow! I am a Porsche "fanatic? And the GT3 is my favorite. My second favorite is the 993 twin turbo wide body. To drive all of those GT3s must have been incredible. Talking about jealous? I have got to visit Germany and see the Porsche museum. Good story. Great writeup!


The museum is well worth a visit. I've been lucky enough to go a few times and it has always been a different experience. Highly recommended.


My best road trip experience was driving the US 191 from Alpine, AZ to Clifton, AZ.

It was day 2 of a 3-day weekend drive from SoCal out to the mountains of Arizona and back. I was driving my 2000 BMW M Coupe and had two buddies along, one in a WRX and the other in a rented base-spec F-Type. After a really long transit from SoCal to Prescott, AZ the day before, we'd started very early and enjoyed the twisties around Jerome. On our way through Phoenix, we stopped at a Waffle House for lunch and realized that my buddy's rented Mustang convertible had a huge blister on one tire. We drove to Sky Harbor International to get the bad tire swapped out and, after hearing that they couldn't help us and didn't have an equivalent car to exchange, my buddy went into full on pain-in-the-ass customer mode until they gave him an upgrade to the F-type. The whole experience took three hours out of the middle of the day and ended well, but my other buddy and I were pretty tired of waiting and just wanted to get on the road.

After picking up snacks, we headed for the hills and had a somewhat boring cruise up HWY 87 out to Show Low. At this point the sun was heading down and we were all feeling discouraged; our "awesome" road trip had been a bit of a let down up until that point. I had my hopes pinned on the US 191.

As the sun set, we climbed out of Alpine and experienced wide open roads. The air was clear and cool after the heat of an Arizona summer. After 8PM we didn't see another car until we reached the other side of the mountains. The roads were exceedingly twisty, mostly 1st and 2nd gear turns, which is my favorite kind of road, but there were some awesome straights where we were able to let the cars stretch their legs. We stopped several times to get out and lay on the tarmac looking up at the impossibly bright stars.

By the end of the more than 430 curves over the 92 miles of road, our brakes were very warm and our adrenaline-amped bodies were soaked in sweat. We got a hotel and crashed out, getting ready for a relatively boring straight shot home the next morning. I'm not sure I'll want to make the drive back out to the 191, but it was the best road, and road trip of my life. Can't wait to get back on the road post-COVID-19 for some more fun!


Thanks for sharing, it's filling the hole not driving has left.
I've been reading my way through the speedhunters 'dream drives' articles as well.


Shaun - In between watching old DTM races on YouTube, I have also been revisiting stories and some of the project updates, including Dino's GT-R. I might be learning more about cars, but I am also starting to get fat! haha. Time for more running and less beer in front of the laptop.


MD thanks for sharing, sounds like a fun drive. I'd love to see some photos of the 2000 M Coupe. Feel free to upload some below.


What a lovely looking thing that is. An aquired taste, for sure. But I really like these. Thanks again for sharing!


Hi Ben,

Here's a shot from that day


What an article. Awesome work guys!


Great article, but I wish it was at least 3x as long as there's barely anything written about the cars. There's a 997.1 GT3 in the photos that wasn't even mentioned, right? What were the differences? What sounded best? Could the older cars keep up with the 991s, or were they too white-knuckle to drive the same way? Can you add a round 2 to this to share?


You make an interesting point David, not just about the story, but media in general. As a car person, and someone who’s getting stuck into the comments section on Speedhunters, you already know that there’s a wealth of info online from road testers that work for the likes of Top Gear Magazine, CAR, evo, Auto Car, Road & Track etc.

We don’t really road test or go deep into the driving dynamics of cars on Speedhunters. I think there’s far better places to get this sort of info and Speedhunters is more about sharing experiences.

Regarding the old vs new from a keeping up with each other point of view, well, that’s a deeper discussion.
And one that we’ve had before on Speedhunters surrounding horsepower. I think it’s fair to say that in 2019 power doesn’t matter anymore.

Why? Well, you tend to find that on the tight and winding roads - similar to the ones we were on during this shoot - there’s only so fast you can go. After a certain point power becomes irrelevant and all the GT3 cars have enough power to get you on the wrong side of the law!

For outright laps times, 0-60 and daily usability you can’t beat the 991 platform and the PDK gearbox. If you live in a city like London then either of the 991 models would be a dream. But as soon as you get onto open twisty roads, and fancy some analogue action, then a manual car comes into its own. The 997.1 GT3 felt raw to me. It’s a few years younger than my M3 CSL, but still has that simple cabin layout. I’d happily get in any of the 996 or 997 versions of the GT3 and head to Scotland right now! You really can find a reason to love each and every one of these cars.

So back to your question about which sounds best or drives best, quite simply; whichever GT3 you’ve last driven is the best. Because no matter what, you get out feeling good. That, for me, is what driving is all about.

Which would you ideally take for a late-night road trip?


Great response Ben, I appreciate the follow up. I would certainly love to drive these back to back to properly answer your question! I had a very brief drive in a 996 GT3 years ago, the memory is still vivid to me. I have a passion for the 997, especially the .2 version so that’s what I would take. Then again, I finally had a chance to get a 997.2 S recently (after saving for years), I just can’t imagine needing a faster or more visceral driving experience.

Great story, phenomenal photos- thank you!


997.2 S has more than enough power to get you into trouble. I was thinking about buying a base 996 C2 to enjoy. Sometimes simple is the best, right?


That's one thing I like about Porsche
Each car gets better and better


Nothing beats a road trip like this one


The Porsche 911 is an amazing sports car
Each one keeps getting better and better


I love that the cars are driven instead of preserved in a capsule.
Would love to hear an article you mentioned on your feelings on wear and tear.
Great shots all around!


Since we have a lot of time on our hands, I will gladly put a story together discussing mileage and the wear & tear aspect of car ownership. In a nutshell, though, I am with you on cars being driven instead of living their lives in a capsule. Nothing worse than seeing a collection of super low mileage cars that never see the light of day.


Not a Porsche, though from the passenger seat a 930 Porsche Cup (Oz) car was pretty amazing around the Eastern Creek track. My drive was in a lightly modded Saab 9000T16 1986 with 250kw at the wheels. 12 min for a 36 km drive, 96 corners. From the other side of Bathurst to the track to get in just before they closed the pit gate in 1997. Amazing and not socially responsible.


Sydney Motorsport Park looks like a fun place to do some laps. The Saab drive sounds like a lot of fun. 1997! I don't think anyone can tell you off for that over 20-years later. And your secret is safe with me.

Christopher Anderson

I can think of several really memorable drives, but since we're talking about GT3s, the time I drove a 997.2 RS seems appropriate.

I know a guy that owns a high-end dealership and I used to drive his cars to shows a couple times a year. On this occasion, it was a Cars & Coffee, the last time it was held where it had been for the last few years, and he had a red over black 997.2 GT3 RS for me to drive. It's probably a 30 minute drive at normal speeds (it was 6 am, so we weren't exactly going normal speeds) and I loved every second, every shift, and every bit of the 8k on the tach.

Weirdly, the thing that stuck in my mind the most was just how loud the wing was once I hit 6th and was just cruising. You could very distinctly hear the wind rushing around it and it never let you forget the car's purpose.


Best drive ever? Easy.

June 2014 my girlfriend and I wake up at 5:00 to attend a Pike's Peak Hill Climb practice day, we're slow out the door and are running late to Pike's Peak.

We make it to the tollbooth right before they close it. The attendant tells me to hustle because he really shouldn't have let me in. I'm in a MK6 GTI and a WRX is right behind me. It's still dark out and it's my first time I've ever driven the road so I drive quickly but I left a margin of safety.

The WRX is all over me and eventually I let them by and I try to follow but I get dropped in a few corners. I quit worrying about the WRX and focus on making fast but safe progress...the feeling of driving a legendary hill climb road in the dark so exhilarating. All types of corners and I've owned my GTI for three years at the time...and we're perfectly in sync as the weight transfers left and right. Front to back.

My girlfriend is in the passenger seat trying not scream but I can hear her short quick breaths, I asked if I should slow down but she said that if I felt good to keep the pace.

Eventually we get the spectator space and the sun's coming up now. The practice was super cool to witness. On the way down I realize how epic the tollroad was and I was so thankful I couldn't see how high and how steep the drop off was...probably wouldn't have been able to drive as fast as I did with the sun up.


Sometimes not knowing is best! As a VW fan, I'd take the GTI over the WRX. Thanks for sharing Charlie.

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

The best drive I've ever had? It was a friend's E80 Corolla sedan with 20 valve 4A-GE blacktop swap. Lightweight and nimble with LSD up front to pull the cars out of corners at our local mountain pass. What a car!


Yes Jay! Thanks for sharing, sounds like fun. Feel free to share any photos you have of that thing.

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

It's not much of a looker, but the performance astounds me for a relatively stock engine. This picture was taken 3 years ago. The engine has since been rebuilt with higher compression pistons and more aggressive cams.


yooooooooooooooo these pic are f%%%ng sickkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk , great read