Celebrating 70 years of Porsche: Part 1

Celebrating 70 years of Porsche: Part 1

Setting MMRT ablaze with rare Porsche sportscars

Not everybody gets the 911. The template has remained unchanged, the engine still hangs off the back, an old 911 looks like a new 911 and the variants are far too many for a sane human being to remember. A Ferrari, a Lamborghini, they need no explanation. You come into money, buy an Italian supercar, and a Punjabi in Birmingham will rap about it. Blow that dough on a Porsche and you’re guaranteed to go mad explaining why your Turbo costs twice as much as a Carrera even though they’re both turbo’d and basically look the same.

Most of all the numbers make no bloody sense. How does 991 follow 997? How does 996 follow 993? And why the random application of logic when 997 did follow 996? No wonder colleagues rifling through the proofs of this magazine’s cover on the design desk moaned, “but they’re all 911s!”

The thing is, Porsches are cars for the proper, proper enthusiast, especially here in India where there is no backstory. Maharajas didn’t buy Porsches. There’s only one 356 in the country, which is sequestered from the public eye. Nobody in Bollywood did a James Dean. We didn’t have the equivalent of Le Mans to go to as kids. India is the only major world power that doesn’t host a round of the Porsche Cup races (and Switzerland where motorsport is banned). Except for a big-ass wing sticking off the back of a GT3, there’s nothing extrovert about a 911 either. It’s why Delhi doesn’t do 911s.

Which means if you see a 911, it’ll be driven by a serious enthusiast. You buy a 911 because it means something to you. Maybe you had a picture of a 911 on your bedroom wall, it could have been the 959 but they all look the same, so what the hell. You probably did your graduation in the States and got bitten by the Porsche bug; maybe racing is more than just F1 for you; maybe you watch too much Californication (the one-eyed Cabrio is the 964, in case you’re wondering); whatever it is, once you get it, there’s no going back. It’s unlike any other sports car in the world. The silhouette, the rear-engined traction, the inside front wheel lifting under hard cornering, that shimmy in the ’wheel especially on old Porsches… it’s as iconic as it gets. The Porschephile, he knows his shit. The 911, the Cayman, and all those bafflingly numeraled variants, they’re not bought for strutting around. As it was pointed out to me on my induction (I went to work for Porsche for a brief while, such is the pull of the brand even for somebody with already the best job in the world!), the Porsche guy doesn’t want a big penis because it increases drag coefficient and weighs more.

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The Porsche 911 991.2 GT3 – No trailer queen

Chennai is always hot and humid, but today the moisture hangs particularly heavy. You can slap it with a towel. It generates vapour trails off the GT3’s big-ass wing as we attempt to get some heat into the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres at the MMRT, adding to the already thick layer of grime on the heavy haunches. This is only the second 991.2 GT3 to be delivered in the country, third in the Porsche hierarchy of hardcore-ness after the RennSport machines, yet it hasn’t rolled off the back of a trailer. It has been driven down, in the monsoons, from Calicut in Kerala. And it will be driven back.

This is not normal behaviour, especially in India where we moan about the roads; where sports cars and supercars are mollycoddled; where the first words uttered by every uncle-type is: “Where will you drive this car, beta?”. Ashique Tahir though,

he drives his cars. “My first Porsche was seven years ago,” he tells me. “A 911 Cabrio and I’ve done 60,000km in it. It can go over every Indian road and you can park it anywhere. It does not attract any unwanted attention.” In reality, Ashique’s 911 Cabrio is a few months away from six figures, the timeline recently extended after he got delivery of the GT3.

Porsche claims 80 per cent of GT3 owners use their cars on the track, not surprising considering the GT3 gets its name from the FIA class that it has been built to race in. The GT3 is a Porsche Motorsport Department car. It is so motorsport-y you can get a half roll-cage for no extra money, along with a six-point harness and plumbed-in fire extinguisher. Cup 2 tyres? Those started off as cut-slicks. You can also get this new GT3 with a manual gearbox, but everyday traffic in Kerala can be a bit much, so Ashique stuck with the PDK for a car he’ll be driving (nearly) every day. He is (a bit) sensible in that respect.

Truth be told the 991.2 GT3 is actually better on the road with the newly added helper springs on the rear, massively improving the ride quality. Yet, this is a serious piece of kit; 20 per cent more downforce (155kg) at top speed over the 991.1 GT3. More power (493bhp) and more torque (460Nm) from the brand-new 4-litre flat-six. Rear-axle steering. Natural aspiration, “it helps connect to the car better.” And dynamics so beautifully honed that the more you put in, the more the GT3 gives back. It makes the GT3 as rewarding for novices as it is for a grizzled lot of 911 veterans we have here. A few laps in, Ashique switches off PSM and puts on a show for us. Only later do we learn this is his first time on the MMRT.

Stay tuned with us as we light up your weekend with more Porsche action at the MMRT

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