Why I Didn't Opt For The Manual Porsche 991 GT3
Late in 2017 I received a surprise phone call from my Porsche dealer confirming that they had secured me a build slot for the new Porsche 991.2 GT3. As disproportionate amounts of excitement kicked in I began planning all the content I would be sharing with the car, one of the first being the specification video, choosing colours, wheels, seats, stitching and...the gearbox.
One of the surprise additions to the options list that really got Porsche aficionados excited for the Gen 2 GT3 was the option of a manual gearbox. It was surprise and delight because with the launch of its predecessor the Gen 1 991 GT3, the world thought they had seen the last of a manual gearbox in a Porsche GT product as it was only available with a 7 Speed PDK (dual clutch) gearbox which, at the time, had many panties in many twists.
The twisting was further supported by the launch of the Porsche 911R - a limited production run 991 based manual GT3 the world believed was the last hurrah for a stick and three pedals.
So when I announced I had a build slot on the latest GT3, the comments on YouTube and Instagram were full of speculation that I’d obviously opt for the manual gearbox?
Well I didn’t. I went for the phenomenal 7-speed PDK, and here’s why...
The reason is - I’d buy a different car entirely.
So here’s the thing with a manual gearbox, in this day and age it’s a step backwards technologically in order to take a step forward emotionally. What I mean by that is driving a manual provides the driver with another level of connection and input with the car, having to manually dip a clutch pedal, actuate the shift yourself with the gearstick and input a heavenly heel-toe down shift to rev match your engine and transmission speed for an organically actuated seamless and rewarding shift.
The ethos here is driver engagement, a further sense of occasion and rewarding feedback from the car. It is my belief and preference then that in fact a 997.2 GT3 RS would actually provide the better platform for that experience. It’s the last of the rattle box (read: characterful) Metzger engines, it’s the last of the hydraulic jiggly steering racks (read: full of feel) and the last of the shorter wheel bases without rear wheel steer. It is then, the last of the organic GT3’s and for that reason it’s the first of the GT3’s I would buy if I were to opt for “the manual gearbox”
The 991.2 GT3 I drive today was engineered as a PDK platform first and it absolutely destroys in the performance department as a result. The dual-clutch gearbox is incredibly well calibrated to the character of the engine.
This evolution even has the single mass clutch for even less rattle box character and as a result it is a ninja precise tarmac terrorist which is exactly what you want when you’re in control of a road car with a race car engine in that revs to 9000rpm quicker than you can believe.
The last 1000rpm from 8-9k whips into a crescendo with such ferocity you’d be lucky to make the most of it with a manual in quite the same way the PDK does.
And so for me this is a simple case of horses for courses and in this course the horse goes by the name of Doppel-Kupplung.
FULL VIDEO ON MY REASONING BELOW!