The Porsche 996 was an all-new design made by Harm Lagaay – the first new 911 that didn’t carry over a significant component from a previous variant. All the bodywork, interior and drive-train were new, including the first water-cooled engine in a 911. The first 996s were available as a coupé or cabriolet, initially with rear wheel, or later, with four-wheel drive, and a 3.4 litre normally aspirated engine producing 296bhp. Porsche Carrera owners complained loudly about the “lower priced car that looked just like theirs did”, hence the headlight change for 2002.
The engine of the GT3 sets it apart from most of the other 996 models, although it shares the same basic 3.6 litre displacement of the standard 996 type. Along with those of the GT2 and Turbo, it is based on the original air-cooled 911’s versatile, true dry-sump crankcase, with an external oil tank. The original version of the GT3 had 360bhp, compared to 300bhp for the regular 996.
In GT3 configuration, this so-called “split” crankcase (meaning the parting line of crankcase is on the crankshaft centreline) uses, instead of a fan and finned cylinders, separate water jackets added onto each side of the crankcase to cool banks of three cylinders, with water pumped through a radiator. Thus, the GT3 engine is very similar to the completely water-cooled 962 racing car’s engine, which is based on the same crankcase. The 962 differs, however, by using six individual cylinder heads, while the GT1/GT3, like the air and water-cooled Porsche 959, uses two cylinder heads, each covering a bank of three cylinders. The GT3 engine could therefore also be thought of as similar to a 959 engine, but with the water-cooled cylinders.
Finished in a very rare shade of Bleu D’ Islande metallic paint with a Black leather interior, this UK delivered GT3 is well specified with a rear half cage, carbon seats and trim pack, and Schroth racing harnesses. Offered from long-term ownership during which time the Porsche has been very carefully stored and maintained, the GT3 is supplied with a full service record detailing 15 services in total to support the 46,000 miles covered from new. All in all a fine example of Porsche’s track-orientated modern classic.