I got into a conversation with a friend today about scattering ashes. I’ve written about what led up to the chat and what’s happened since, but it may be too deep for a Thursday. I’ll share it another time.
It was a fun conversation. He was talking about how they scattered his dad’s ashes in a river: a strange will request, as his dad hated water and couldn’t swim. When they shook the ashes over the surface of the water, they did not float off on the current but sank straight to the bottom. “That’s aquaphobia at DNA level,” I said. “Even as ashes, he still couldn’t swim.”
Just as it’s impossible for us to sidestep our genetic building blocks, a new and interesting video on the GT3 Touring shows how closely the latest 911s remain tied to the old. The Touring is a spoilerless GT3 with a manual gearbox and all who have driven it have raved about its engine and its energy. A 9,000 redline gives it aural appeal, while the unspoilered tail brings us back in time to the first of the flared-arch, flat-tailed impact bumper cars. How it behaves under duress on track could not be more impact bumper.
Driving the Porsche is Andy Pilgrim. Born in Britain, Andy studied computer programming in the UK and then moved off to Michigan for a job with GM in Detroit. Arriving in the US with just one hundred bucks in his pocket (sounds pretty familiar), he programmed software for $12,000 a year before moving down south for better money and racing.
Working hard, he eventually saved enough cash to do a bit of racing and ended up making a name for himself. His career developed through Formula Renault into GT cars. He has raced many Porsches: at Le Mans alongside Stephane Ortelli and Sebring and Pikes Peak with Alan McNish, amongst others. He now runs a road safety school to make up for the below-par American driving test and teach kids how to drive safely, has driven with Patrick Long and Tim Pappas at Black Swan Racing and also instructs at NCM Motorsport Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky: not too far from my family in Lexington.
Andy also works with Automobile Magazine, and his latest video for their Youtube channel takes a GT3 Touring in beautiful Sapphire Blue Metallic on track in Kentucky. The run down the half-mile straight perfectly illustrates the Touring’s main selling point – the 4-litre engine – but the hot laps show how a Touring can bite. Scroll down for the video.
Physics: Modern v Classic
“It’s a very cold day here at NCM Motorsport Park and I’m trying to warm the tyres up as I wanted to give it a shot at a hot lap.” As the Pilgrim ploughs down the main straight and turns right into turn one, the rear of the car drifts left and Andy corrects, catches it, corrects again and catches that before the third swing kicks in. The behaviour will be familiar to anyone who has ever experienced an old 911 on track: it’s the laws of physics at work. The age of the thing trying to wrap up the physics doesn’t matter so much.
Porsche let Andy keep the car for a few more days until the weather warmed up and he did set a hot lap. Deciding not to change up ahead of some corners to hold on to the gear for the exit, he hits rev range one several times on the lap, but that Florida-registered demo has seen some action on Youtube and in print. No doubt the next owner will get a full warranty.
“Have to use all the road on this one. You’re going to see quite a lot of oversteer correction,” says Andy on his lap. “The Touring does not have all the downforce of the regular GT3: the regular GT3 has 150 lbs of downforce at 124 mph and the Touring has about 50 lbs of downforce.” The car sets a 2:11.8 in the cold: seven-tenths slower than a PDK GT3 over a fairly long lap, which I think is pretty good going.
“The GT3 Touring is kind of a split personality,” concludes Andy. “On track, it took all of my skill to get a really good laptime out of the car and it actually reminded me in a throwback way to the Porsche 911s I drove on track twenty years ago. They let you know there was a lot of weight back there and you used to not have a lot of downforce to help you.
“Well, welcome to the Touring: it doesn’t have a whole lot of downforce. But, on the street? I tell ya, it’s just such a joy to drive any GT3, but this one without the wing is a little more understated. If it’s not the best 911 you can buy today, it’s gotta be one of the top three.
None of my first 911s had spoilers and I can vividly remember my first high-speed drive in a friend’s ’86 3.2 Carrera with rear spoiler down the A43 near Silverstone. Hitting 130 mph in that car was completely different to my no spoiler SC Cabriolet at the same speed. I changed to a Carrera 3.0 Coupe soon after, fitted an early Turbo rear tail and have never taken it off.
Days of 120-130 mph as a regular thing on UK roads are well behind us now so spoilers may be once again irrelevant. A no-spoiler GT3 Touring would be on my list if I had the money to spend. From roughly £200k in their honeymoon period after launch, the cars are now showing somewhere around the £165k mark as used sales versus a base cost new of about £115k.
Expect to see them getting cheaper still. 991 GT3s with a few miles now start around £100k or so and, while Tourings won’t get quite that cheap anytime soon, there are always more cars for buyers to chase. Tourings will keep coming back to the market and get a little cheaper as new models supersede them. Nevertheless, they are emotional. I envy anyone who gets to drive one of these cars every day.
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