Being late to the party when it came to Autocar staff each choosing our favourite cars of 2021, I was surprised to discover the latest superstar from Zuffenhausen – winner of this year’s Handling Day contest, no less – remained unspoken for. I wondered how I could have been so wrong about my clearly degenerate ‘petrolhead’ colleagues.
So I’ll go into bat for the superb Porsche 911 GT3, with the caveat that the 992 generation car does not hit quite the same sweet spot as its forebear. In terms of balancing usability and excitement, there are sweeter options even with the 911’s own model range, most notably the new Carrera GTS. On the road, the new GT3 is 20% too punishing in the way it rides, 15% too challenging to exploit and 10% too wide, all of which are contributing factors to this car holding the dubious honour of being the first 911 GT3 in a very, very long time not to ring the five-star road test bell.
The 992 GT3 is also 100% too difficult to get hold of if you don’t have a track record of ordering expensive GT-division wares, but we can’t really hold that against the poor car itself.
Despite all of the above, Porsche hasn’t executed badly with the GT3 – just chosen to shift the car's balance of priorities away from where they once resided to especially appealing effect. The GT3’s brief has changed. It now wants to be something more hardcore and track-biased. Perhaps it’s no surprise that only when you get this car on an actual track do you discover why Porsche is so excited about the latest GT3 and why it considers it to be the greatest GT3 yet.
My chance to properly get to know the new GT3 in its preferred environment came on day three of this year’s Britain’s Best Drivers’ Car group test (aka Handling Day). With most of the other cars in the pits, Anglesey Circuit was relatively empty. And with the GT3’s fastest lap time already committed to posterity, its final set of Michelins were, in effect, expendable.