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.
This desirable Left Hand Drive example has been with just two owners from new, and has been well cared for over the years, showing just 32,000 kilometres recorded and supplied with a file of history. The most recent owner has had the car for 16 years, during which time it has been dry stored and used sparingly. All in all a fine example of Porsche’s track-orientated modern classic.