When Porsche went to work turning its 996 generation 911 Sports car into a pure racecar back in the late 90’s, a new dynasty of GT-class competition was born. That bloodline spawned several track stars, as well as the streetable GT3. Now, the newest 997 generation continues that lineage with an even more capable 2007 Porsche 911 GT3. Think of it as a racecar in a sport coat and tie.
Nothing less than a street-legal race car, the 997 based 2007 Porsche 911 GT3 is a road-going variant of the GT3 Cup car. The Cup Car, of course, is complete with such racing essentials as a gutted interior, roll cage, and liberal use of carbon fiber body panels. But, mechanically the cars are near clones.
And, despite that close link to the racetrack, the GT3 is clearly intended for a street circuit. So, we picked some of the most challenging ones we could find, the twisting canyon roads north of Los Angeles. There we were easily able to push this uber-sports coupe hard enough to appreciate its profound capabilities, which are brought to life by a normally aspirated 3.6-liter flat-Six. Essentially the same engine used in the Cup car, the street version outputs 415 horsepower, that’s up 30 from the previous GT3, with peak torque at 300 pound-feet, and a redline of 8,400 rpm.
On its way to a top speed of 193 miles-per-hour, the GT3 squirts from 0-to-60 in a blurring 4.1 seconds. For the record, that’s 4 tenths faster than the GT3 we tested in 2004. This raucous momentum is managed by a 6-speed manual gearbox. Throws are super short and machine precise.
As before, a mechanical limited slip-differential allows the GT3 to hook up and take off with minimal wheel spin, and without engaging the new electronic traction control.
So, it blows off the line quickly, but not in the sledgehammer-like fashion of the 911 Turbo. Instead, the upshot builds smoothly with a little extra near redline.
And with McPherson struts up front and a five-arm layout in back, the GT3, for the first time features Porsche’s PASM two-mode active suspension setup. Push Sport mode and the already stiff front and rear geometries firm up even more, as an altered engine map also release a bit more mid-range power.
Driver feedback is astounding as even the slightest input to the wheel garners an instantaneous response. High speed cornering is plainly effortless. But don’t get too cocky - in classic Porsche fashion, stabbing the throttle mid-corner can cause the rear-end to step out without much warning.
Indeed, we found the GT3’s front end to be twitchy and, at times, a bit uncomfortable for a smooth street experience.
To bring things to a halt, our tester came equipped with the optional and pricey Ceramic Composite Brakes. These ABS-controlled multi-piston stoppers are hugely powerful, fade-free and 44 pounds lighter than the standard steel units.
On the outside, the GT3 is simply outrageous from nose to tail. Sitting lower than the base 911, the front fascia almost kisses the ground with a deep lip spoiler that reduces under-car airflow. Coefficient of Drag is only 0.29. The gaping front air dam and side intakes are as effective as they are dramatic.
Out back is a huge rear wing that looks ready to initiate flight. And the center-positioned rear exhaust pipes mimic those of the Cup Car.
Inside, the GT3 conforms to the mostly upscale look other current 911s. The familiar cockpit boasts yellow-needled gauges, fine leather appointments, the GT3 logo, plus our car’s Nav system and Sport Chrono Package.
But don’t expect a back seat. It’s been removed to save weight, allowing the GT3 to tip the scales at a trim 3,075 pounds.
With all this potency you might be surprised to find that the GT3 is more economical to drive as a mid-size sport-Ute. Government Fuel Economy ratings for the GT3 are 17 city/24 highway on Premium Gas.
But pricing is what you’d expect for a specialty 911 - steep. Base sticker for the GT3 is $106,860. Pile on options like ceramic brakes for 9 grand, and our tester bottom-lined at $120,735. That’s only a couple of grand less than the base price for the only slightly less exclusive 911 Turbo.
But with the 2007 911 GT3, you are as close to the Porsche race car experience as you can be without actually owning one. It also delivers the purest form of razor-edged Porsche performance available in a current model. But just remember, if you don’t come prepared to drive this car, it will drive you.
Engine: 3.6-Liter Flat-six
Torque: 300 Lb Feet
0-60 MPH: 4.1 Seconds
EPA: 17 MPG City/ 24 MPG Highway