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 though 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.
Registered new in 2004 to Porsche JCT600 in Leeds, this late Generation II Comfort model is finished in Guards Red, with a black leather interior extended to the dashboard and door cards. Further options fitted include crested Porsche logo sports seats, an aluminium handbrake and gearknob, climate control, silver dials and xenon lights.
This stunning GT3 has recently enjoyed much maintenance work over the years with various specialists such as RPR 626 and Tony Greatorex. Notably the Porsche has enjoyed a service in the last 1,000 miles.
With just 31,000 miles recorded, the GT3 is offered with all books and manuals, along with two sets of keys. 996 GT3s are rapidly establishing themselves as a must-buy Porsche for the future, whilst offering blistering pace and performance. This very well sorted example must surely rank as one of the best available anywhere.