There are many reasons to like the 997 Porsche 911. It was the last 911 to have hydraulic steering, for example, and the last generation of 911 to use only naturally aspirated engines (with the exception of the Turbo and GT2 RS, that is). It was also a generation of 911 that many wonderful lunatics took rallying. And they sounded superb.
Video: Oversteer everywhere in 997 rally cars
In 2011 the FIA created the Group R-GT rules for rallying, essentially for series production cars that are two-wheel-drive (or converted from four- to two-wheel-drive) and restricted to 294 horsepower per tonne. These cars would then compete in the FIA R-GT Cup, a championship that used the tarmac rounds of the European Rally Championship and the World Rally Championship. For 2014 the FIA announced that technical passports could be obtained for individual vehicles, and with that the doors were open wide for people to get tinkering, to build cars that otherwise wouldn’t have been seen anywhere near a rally stage. Enter the 997.
In 2015, 2016 and 2017, 997 911 GT3s won the FIA R-GT Cup, including one driven by Goodwood regular Romain Dumas. The rear-wheel-drive, rear-engined layout meant good balance, and the simple, reliable Porsche flat-six meant plenty of performance. And noise. Oh goodness, the noise.
This little video is a compilation of no fewer than five 997 GT3 rally cars steaming through forests, across patches of gravel and along muddy stretches of tarmac on and around the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit. There are handbrake turns and more oversteer than we know what to do with.
And if you’re wondering if Porsche has a rally history, the answer is of course yes. A 911 was first entered into the Monte Carlo Rally in 1965. In 1966 five 911s were entered, in 1967 eight 911s took part, and in 1968 the 911 of Vic Elford and David Stone took the win, closely followed by another 911 in second place (as well as a further seven 911s). There were other victories all over the world, too, and before the 959 won the Dakar Rally in 1986, a heavily modified 911 stormed to victory in 1984. Now, let’s all hope that someone at Porsche builds a Safari 992…
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