When was the golden period for Porsche’s venerable 911? Your answer will probably depend on when you were born. Some 911 enthusiasts argue that pre-1973 911s are the real deal. Then, for some of us, an impact-bumper series car is the archetypal 911.
All things considered, your preference may ultimately be determined by which of the aforementioned models captured your imagination the moment you saw a Porsche “in the wild” for the first time. I am a member of the latter group, but when I started reading about cars with real intent, it was the end of the 964/advent of the 993 era. The 993 Turbo with its rounded curves really stood out for me, especially since other performance cars of the period were generally very angular in terms of their exterior designs. I thought a 911 couldn’t look any more hunkered down and purposeful than the 993 Turbo, so imagine my excitement the first time I saw a picture of a 993 GT2!
Note those bolt-on wheel arches (32mm at the front, 30mm at the rear), the wide split-rim, three piece magnesium-alloy Speedline wheels (here with darkened centre pieces) and a rear wing not unlike those on Porsche’s endurance race cars.
“Can you drive this 911 on the road?” It’s a question I first asked myself as a teenager. The road-going GT2s were built to comply with the rules and regulations of international GT-racing formulae, particularly the BPR series for street-legal GT cars. The GT2 race cars’ lineage traces back to the 964-series 911 Carrera RSR and RS 3.8. And, as was the case with competitively campaigned 911s that predate it, the GT2 excelled at endurance racing. 1995 was the first year the GT2 participated at Le Mans. Although six GT2s/GT2 Evos didn’t finish the race, three cars took the overall 15th, 16th and 17th places.
These achievements led to class positions of fourth, fifth and sixth. The top-placed car was the white no. 77 Seikel Motorsport car, driven by Guy Kuster, Karel Dolejší and Peter Seikel. And the GT2’s racing success gained momentum thereafter. At the 1997 24 Hours of Le Mans, the cars achieved first, second, third and fourth in their class at the challenging La Sarthe circuit, which resulted in overall positions of ninth, tenth, 11th and 13th. Privateers continued to race the GT2s competitively in 1998, 1999 and even in 2000, however by that time the 996 GT3 R was already on the racing scene. Still, at its final Le Mans race in 2000, a GT2 finished seventh in class – it had proved no match for the mighty Chrysler Viper GTS-R and Corvette C5-R – but, significantly, it completed 317 laps, seven more laps than the GT class winning Porsche 911 GT3 R. To say it was a successful racer of its time is an understatement. Made available in early April 1995, the GT2 (in Street, as well as Clubsport, versions) was based on the new 993 Turbo, which – incidentally – would only be released a few weeks later.
There were notable changes and upgrades compared to the Turbo. The GT2 used the same engine, but power increased from 408bhp to 430bhp. What’s more, dropping the Turbo’s all-wheel-drive system meant the GT2 was around 200kg lighter and Porsche claimed a 0-62mph acceleration time of 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 189mph.