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PORSCHE 911 GT3

Fix. Inevitable. Boring. I can see the tweets and emails now. Believe it or not, we are very aware that Porsches do rather well on eCoty tests, so with the absence of a manual gearbox in the 991 and an apparently greater focus on speed for its own sake, there was perhaps a secret hope that this one might be beaten. Amazingly, history also showed there was a good chance it wouldn’t make the top step, as neither of the 997 GT3s took home the gong (both having to wait for their RS versions).

However, when the scores came in, the margin of victory was clear. Like the SLS and F12, the GT3 topped only two people’s lists, but the fact it made everyone’s top three clinched the win. As Richard Meaden said: ‘‘It plays the averages without being in any way average’’. Both he and Duff did question the sheer pace of the GT3, Mike harbouring a suspicion that ‘‘with 90 per cent of the straight-line pace and 80 per cent of the lateral grip, it would actually be a better road car’’. Meaden even called it a ‘‘ruthless number-chaser’’ and used the word ‘clinical’… but still put it second on his list!

Vivian was having none of that, however: ‘‘For me it was all about connection. The GT3 made me feel more connected with the road and my own abilities. Like a movie directed by someone who wants to let the action do the talking, there’s an honesty and focused intensity about the GT3 that no other car in eCoty could get close to. If it’s less of a ‘911’ than the last GT3, I don’t really care. It is simply one of the best cars I have ever driven.’’

Nick certainly wasn’t nostalgic either: ‘‘The engine is out of this world – a suitably epic follow-up to the Mezger. Jethro mentioned that he misses the chunter and response of the Mezger, but I’ll happily trade that for the top-end zeal of the new engine.’’ A bit of chunter wasn’t the only thing Jethro lamented initially, but in the end he was besotted: ‘‘I miss the old ’box… but the chassis on this car is nothing short of scintillating. It grips harder than anything else here and yet invites you to experience everything it has to offer more regularly than you’d dare in the SLS Black Series or F12. It feels small and agile just when the others start to intimidate, and the way you feel locked into the chassis’ every movement is something else. We might be a bit disappointed that this car won eCoty, but we’re not at all ashamed of the result.’’
And me? About 56 hours after I’d stood listening to the other seven leaving the Hotel Campanile in Digne, I found myself standing in near-darkness atop a remote hill listening to the beautifully baleful voice of the 911 GT3. As it charged up from the valley below, the volume increasing as it ticked off each of the nine hairpins, there was a wonderful stillness, as though the world had stopped to listen and have its collective spine tingled by the flat-six revving to 9000rpm.

Due reverence for a worthy winner. In the gloaming I silently vowed to do it as much justice on the way down.

Henry Catchpole

 
To read more about eCOTY 2013, pick up a copy of evo Australia magazine at your local newsagent, Coles or Coles Express today. Or download it on your iPad via the Apple AppStore – just search “evo Australia”.

More photos here.