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Sold for: £70,310
The Porsche 911 (996) GT3 is considered to the spiritual successor to the original 1973 Carrera RS. Initially introduced by Porsche in 1999 in limited numbers, these very special, first year of production, models really were race-cars-for-the-road and were originally only produced in sufficient numbers to comply with the FIA homologation requirements necessary for the 911 to compete in the GT3 Class in International Sports Car Racing. With this in mind, some of the production involvement for this original batch of GT3 cars happened away from the main factory line, with the Motorsport Division at Weissach being responsible for the final finish of each car. The Motorsport Division had a big hand in the development of these cars too, with the GT3 forming the basis for one of Porsche’s most successful and prolific GT race cars. These sensational road-cars used a dry-sump, normally-aspirated development of the Le Mans winning GT1 racer’s flat-six. However, it’s not just the amount of power and outright speed on offer – headline figures of 360bhp, 187 mph and 0-60 in 4.7 seconds – but that there’s so much response whatever the revs and so much character too. The engineering depth is tangible, with a bespoke engine fitted with titanium con-rods that help keep it smooth and safe to a heady 8,000rpm. To bring the vehicle's track prowess to a maximum level, Porsche endowed the GT3 with enlarged brakes, a lowered, retuned suspension system, lightweight wheels and a new front bumper with matched rear spoiler to help increase downforce. Porsche offered an option for the GT3 called the 'Clubsport' package. This replaced the standard leather front seats with manually adjustable racing buckets finished in fire-retardant fabric, single mass flywheel, bolt-in half cage, 6-point drivers racing harness, fire extinguisher and preparation for a battery master switch. Twist the key and the flat-six churns into life and idles with a whirring, rumbly voice that won’t quite settle to a smooth, consistent rpm. This isn’t a fault but a characteristic of the Clubsport models, which ditch the standard twin-mass flywheel for a lighter one that gives a throbby, hunting idle in pursuit of sharper throttle response. The 996.1 GT3 was respected automotive journal EV0’s 'Car of the Year' in 1999, seeing off, amongst others, the new Ferrari 360 Modena, with such comments as ‘’The GT3 is sensational; it’s a car with integrity, a car that feels solidly built and engineered, and you get terrific feel too, at a detail level through the steering, gearshift and pedals, and in the way the car rides and handles too.’’ These early GT3s were produced in small numbers (and not sold to the US) with 1,350 cars initially, then a second batch of 508 cars, with 308 in RHD worldwide, with only 106 imported to UK, of which 28 were Clubsports, and (supposedly) only 15 cars in Guards Red. The car presented here is very early example from that initial production run, being manufactured on the 24th September 1999. It is a genuine factory GT3 Clubsport model in RHD and delivered new to Porsche Centre Merlin of Nottingham. It's an all original example with a fully comprehensive service and maintenance history - there are servicing records from the year 2000 right up until 31,151 miles travelled. This car is unmolested and, we understand, has never been track-driven and has now covered just 32,287 fully documented miles. Coming to auction after some years as part of a small collection belonging to a Porsche Club GB member, this special car drives and performs as well as you’d expect. Accompanied by a Porsche Certificate of Authenticity and its full book pack, this car surely represents one of the best early GT3s available anywhere. In years to come these rare original cars, with their true Motorsport pedigree, will be the ones to own and with the greatest potential for retaining collectable status. Most people would look admiringly at this elegant Porsche and see a regular 911 sitting low on split-rim alloys and wearing a 'bi-plane' rear spoiler, but anyone who really knows their Porsches would see one of the most desirable examples of the marque in the last 25 years. Enough said.