There’s a famous quote, once uttered by Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, which neatly elucidates the existence of a car on which this very publication is dedicated to. “I couldn’t find the sports car of my dreams, so I built it myself,” he said, of course in reference to the revelation of the 911 in 1963. More than half a century later, Ferdinand’s dream is still very much alive, with nearly one million examples of the 911 having rolled their wheels on roads (and of them!) all over the world.
But while Herr Porsche’s 911 may represent the pinnacle for many, for others there’s work to be done before that tag of a dream sports car can be truly upheld. It’s early autumn and I’m in California to get behind the wheel of two very diferent cars that nevertheless share one common goal: to improve on Porsche’s factory specification and ofer enhanced performance and driving dynamics. As we know, the 911’s 52-years of continuous production and high reverence suggests such a feat is a tall order at the best of times – and that is before I reveal the two models under scrutiny here are to be a halo 997 GT2 and GT3, no less.
Think modified GT3 and there are only a handful of specialists with an impeccable worldwide reputation in the field. In Germany, you need look no further than Manthey Racing, Olaf himself being the king of the early Carrera Cup and master of the Nordschleife with numerous VLN victories to his name. Rest assured then, Herr Manthey knows his way around a Mezger, especially when it comes to making it even faster – and with Manthey themselves based next to the Nürburgring, they certainly get plenty of practice. In the UK, Parr Motorsports are often the specialist of choice, with a sustained Carrera Cup experience over a number of years from Paul Robe and his team an obvious selling point for owners wanting even more from their track-focussed 911.
Here in the USA, things are a little diferent. Historically Porsche’s biggest market, the States doesn’t have its own Porsche Carrera Cup series to garner the expertise of specialists. Instead, this sector is dominated by tuner specialists who started by modifying their own Porsche, often to extreme lengths according to personal taste, rather than manipulating a street GT3 to behave more like its Cup competition counterpart. A disadvantage over a pro race team, perhaps? Not even a hint of it, especially when the tuner specialist in question goes by the name of SharkWerks. Of course, SharkWerks should be no strangers to readers of Total 911.