Words by Steve Dunn
I’ve owned my Porsche 911 GT2 for seven years, for the first three years it was my daily driver, covering approximately ten thousand miles per year. Now that it is used for recreation only that figure has dropped to three thousand. Why did I use the twin turbo, rear wheel drive GT2, which doesn’t have traction control as my daily? Few cars can run toe-to-toe with the latest supercars and also start with no drama or complications. The GT2 is built from the same cloth as the epic all wheel 911 Turbo – minus the safety net of four wheel drive and electronic aids. There isn’t much to give away the performance of the GT2 when you turn the ignition, just some gentle ‘burbling’ of the exhausts.
Given that the GT2 is well over a decade old, it is astonishing how well it compares to much more modern vehicles both in terms of outright performance and the turnkey experience. Perhaps the most notable characteristic that lets slip of the supercar potential is the difficulty engaging second gear when cold. With all the fluids warmed through the gearbox is ready for anything, extremely smooth and compliant. And then there is the acceleration, contrary to what one might read – pretty much instantaneous with very little turbo lag. The beefy part of the power band is from approximately 4500rpm to 6500rpm and then just before the red line. In these ranges the GT2 is an animal, surging forward unlike anything I’ve experience on the road. Surprisingly the sound of all this performance as you hold the throttle wide open is quite muted from within, but (I understand) it is quite dramatic from the outside. Alas, as the driver, one seldom gets to enjoy this aspect of the GT2.
On dry roads, at high speed, the car is extremely well settled and if driven by a capable wheelman (in consideration of its rear-end handling characteristics on bumpy roads) it is pretty much a match for any road car ever produced.
In the wet, it is best to exploit some of the other characteristics of the GT2! It’s really quite comfortable and a pleasurable car to drive – so in some ways a true grand tourer? Although I have never driven my car on track, I think it would make a formidable track proposition, benefiting in particular from the absence of bumps-in-bends which really do unsettle the car’s rear end, enabling you to extract all the power from the engine and rocket through and out of bends. At high speed the car can be intimidating to an unfamiliar driver. It exhibits the typical 996 light-steering, although that improves significantly at speeds above 130mph, where the car becomes much more settled and intent upon achieving maximum velocity. Again, it seems that the car is more suited to high-speed track work than everyday road work.
I believe that the GT2 is certainly the best looking 996 series Porsche 911 ever produced and perhaps the best looking 911 ever. The Generation II wheels which my car has are particularly attractive, they give the car a more meaningful and settled look than the original Turbo wheels. The easiest way to distinguish a GT2 from a regular 996 Turbo is the front bumper with the additional aerodynamic vent below the bonnet and the characteristic rear spoiler. A lower, more aggressive suspension setup also helps to spot a genuine GT2. Having looked at a fair few GT2s over the years I think the darker hues suit the GT2 much more than silver, which most were ordered in.
The GT2 is ‘priceless’ so far as I am concerned, I am extremely unlikely ever to part company with it. The driving experience is unique, and when driving back-to-back with my 997 GT3RS, it is really very easy to appreciate the advances made in the 997 series. That said, this merely amplifies the attractive attributes of the 996. Somehow the 996 feels much more “proper-Porsche”, with the later cars being almost “too easy”. The GT2 excites every time you sit in the driver’s seat, adrenalin pumps round your body with every mile on the road. The smell, the driving position and the sound all combine to remind you that the car is of absolute pedigree. Although I own and have driven much more powerful cars, I have yet to drive one which offers the same set of rewards as the GT2 does.
The GT2 is an extremely rare Porsche with only around 130 right hand drive cars manufactured. In the past values have been suppressed, primarily, I think as turbocharged Porsche have never been popular. The “widow maker” title didn’t help either, with at least two early-owners sadly proving the point! I think that perception is beginning to change, and values beginning to climb. I do believe that they will always be worth less than their normally aspirated counterparts in the 911 range, namely the GT3. However the turbocharged 911 will always have its place in my garage and heart. My GT2 currently sits alongside an orange 997 GT3RS an MP4-12C and a 1997 Vectra Challenge Car – the perfect combination of toys in my opinion!
Why buy one?
★Extremely rare 911 model that is highly sought after.
★GT2s rarely come up for sale because collectors have been sourcing them.
★The engine is a evolution of the more robust air cooled unit and doesn’t suffer many of the issues of the regular 996 models.
Full list of reasons to buy can be found in the magazine.
Full production history of the car can be found in the magazine.
Full analysis and advice of the ideal specification can be found in the magazine.
Porsche 911 GT2’s rarely come up for sale and the prices can vary hugely. Despite the low number coming onto the market our advice is to be very specific about what colour and specification you want and wait for that car to come onto the market. Our pick would be a GT2 fitted with fixed back bucket seats and no modifications. Full valuation details and examples on the market found in the magazine.
Considering this car is as quick as most exotic hypercars the prices of the components are actually
very reasonable. Areas to pay close attention to include the dampers, carbon ceramic brake discs, exhaust system, headlights and alloy wheels. Full breakdown of prices can be found in the magazine.
The 996 GT2 engine is actually based on the 993 aircooled unit which has been modified for water cooling. It therefore does not have the weaknesses of the Carrera models. There should be no oil leaks from the engine. The cam chain may be noisy at around 2,500 rpm, make sure it is investigated if it is. Ensure the turbos spool up correctly on the test drive and that there is no blue smoke from the exhaust during idling and test drive. Carefully inspect the front mounted radiators and air conditioning condenser for any corrosion or damage, leaves and road debris are prone to collecting around them. Full breakdown of buyers checkpoints for engine, clutch, gearbox, steering, suspension, brakes, wheels, tyres and servicing schedule can be found in the magazine.
To view an example full feature article click here.