Late last year in 2016 if you wanted a 991 Porsche GT3 with a manual gearbox, the only 2 options available were to either not buy one or to purchase what at the time was their latest production car, the 911R. The only real problem with this is that the 911R was made to be a fairly light and definitely fast sports car for the road.
This meant that although you had an exceptionally fun car to drive, it lacked ever so slightly in track performance compared to the 991 GT3. Not to mention the whole issue with Porsche not offering it with a manual gearbox, which caused long awaited customers to shout and scream in every other 6 Pistonheads thread at the time.
So, the new revised Porsché GT3 with a manual ‘box option. Does it kill the value of the 911R? Or is it even really worth buying?
Although the 911R is based loosely on the GT3, it is, first and full most, a road car. It’s not built to mash your mind in the corners or to break records. It is a road car. The GT3 is also a road car, but it is marginally more nimble and definitely has some track focus.
Then of course you have the GT3 RS and GT2 RS, but they’re ultimately just track toys. So we’ll leave those out of the equation.
The 911R and GT3 are not track toys though. Fundamentally they are road cars. But what really makes them different? Well, like I said before…not much. So really the differences in reality are all in the eyes of the beholder/owner. However, there is one thing that stands out for me.
The 911R is what is it. It’s just a one-off road car sold in small numbers and made by Porsché. It’s not part of a line up of consistently brilliant cars made to set an example. It’s just for fun. The GT3 is much more serious. It’s proper. It’s very fast, very capable and just as appealing as the 911R. But it is also much more…grown up.
And before we go any further, let’s take that manual gearbox option back out of the equation for a minute.
Picture both the GT3 and the 911R without any sort of gearbox in them at all.
They’re still very different cars, right? Of course they are.
One has a bolted on wing. The other raises a small tea tray when you brake especially hard before a turn. One spent months testing at the Nurburing. The other went there on occasion. One can keep up with a 600 horsepower Ferrari 458 Specialé on track. The other spends most of it’s time being driven on an open Welsh B-road definitely under the national speed limit.
You see where I’m going with this, right? The engine and especially the gearbox only tell half of the story. That’s why the new downsized Cayman still works. Because although it sounds like shit, it goes like a train. It stays true to form despite one major change in it’s components.
It’s exactly the same with the new manual GT3. Just because it has a manual gearbox, doesn’t mean to say that it will erase the 911R. I mean it will on track of course, but that’s exactly what it’s for. It’s a GT3, not just another sports car.
That doesn’t mean to say that the 911R is just another sports car. Because that’s not the case here either. It’s a sports car made by the best around simply to be the most enjoyable thing to drive on the road. It doesn’t have a dual personality, it’s the car you take out for a drive when you’ve had a hard days work, the road is clear and the weather is just right. That line doesn’t sell very well in the real world. Hence why the faster and more practical GT3 (even with a manual) will have a longer production cycle, because it’s more appealing to most people. But that’s exactly it.
Ideally, I’d like to run both of these cars one day. But if I could only choose one, I think I’d stick with the slower one.
Preferably this one in black.