Test Drive Report Vol.1 | Porsche 996 GT2

Also known as the "WidowMaker", the 996 GT2 is definitely a Car for seasoned drivers that have a decent level of skill. If you are used to driving high horsepower car with no traction control and you have more than a few driver's training courses or you are a track rat that attended numerous track days, you SHOULD BE...... OK.

The 996 GT2 was introduced in 2001, it was equipped with a 3.6L Twin Turbocharged Engine with 465HP and 470LB-FT of torque. All the power is sent to the rear wheel with no traction control aid whatsoever. The GT2 is extraordinarily fast (and still is after 16 years), it is light (relatively at 3150LB), it requires that you pay attention at all times. Especially in the wet, you really need to know what you are doing. The GT2 is one of those cars you cannot just stomp on the throttle wherever and whenever you want. If you floor it in second gear and the nose is pointing somewhere other than straight, chances are the rear end is going to step out (big time), which is not a big deal if you are expecting it.

If you plan on driving the GT2 on twisty mountain road such as Shek O road or Bride's Pond (LK), you will need to learn the GT2's characteristic slowly. In a 997 GT3-RS, you can get up to speed fairly quickly because the power delivery is very smooth and even. The way the GT2 delivers its power is not unlike an Italian Godfather suddenly whack you in the back of your head, you don't want it to come on full boost in the middle of a corner where you have your foot planted on the floor. You HAVE TO PLAN AHEAD and making sure you apply the throttle gently, so the Turbo comes on when you want it, that is part of the lessons to be learned in driving the car; throttle control is a big deal in a GT2. The handling, if set exactly to Porsche factory specification, is ..........Scary. Porsche set the car to understeer, but what they forgot was that if you are going into a corner too hot and turn in, the understeer will eventually stop, the front will grip and then the rear end goes into snap oversteer.

Don't get me wrong, there are PERKS too. The GT2 is extraordinarily fast, it is light, you could extract almost unlimited potential in terms of power by tuning the turbos. It also comes with fully adjustable suspension. Adjustable coilovers, 5 position adjustable swaybars, adjustable camber front and rear etc. This means you can change the factory settings and tune the GT2 handling to your own taste. But beware, even WITH the suspension sorted, the Car STILL requires your full attention, it will just be a lot more controllable. The GT2 is the car I have chosen to keep because I love a challenge. GT2 is one of those machines that can bite you back if you are not at the top of your game, YOU the DRIVER have to do everything, no electronics traction control nor stability system to bring the rear back in line if you oversteer. If you screw up, you are royally F*CKED. The reward for owning the 996 GT2 is the process of learning to drive it well. It is indeed a fascinating journey that taught me things I just won't learn in any other car.

This is a rear-engined car, so you have to drive it like any older Porsche, "Slow in, Fast out" is the slogan you have to remember !! Approaching a fast sweeping corner, hard on the brakes, side step the throttle to do a heel-and-toe, blipping the throttle and matching the revs as you downshift. Sniff out the corner with the nose, the steering will give you tons of feedback, so use it to your advantage. Trail brake into the corner, turn-in as late as possible, use that rear weight bias to your full advantage (the nose won't squat as much as other non-rear-engine cars). Turn the steering and get the tail to dance with you by slightly swinging the car to point to the apex. As soon as the nose is somewhat pointing straight, feed in more and more power and feel the rear searching for traction. When you see that exit, MASH the throttle and with full boost, the GT2 will F*CKING FIRE out of the APEX. The engine will make a deep snarling wail approaching the 6500RPM redline, the rear end will squat under all that torque, the nose will point at the sky and you will feel like you are "taking off" in a jet. You grab the next gear as fast as you can and MASH the throttle again and the rear squirms momentarily and GRIPS and punch you towards the next corner. Get it right, I guarantee you will grin like an idiot and you will do it again and again.

SO the verdict. If you want a car that's easy to drive, make you look good without real effort, or have enough electronic aids to get you out of trouble if you screw up. Or perhaps a car that you can have a coffee as you drive, a car that you can enjoy listening to some tunes or text your friends while driving......then the GT2 is NOT your Car. If you want a car that will challenge you, make you rise to another level and make you a better driver, and make you think about driving it when you aren't, then I personally don't think there is a better car than this one.


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