GT3 Diaries

My 991.1 GT3 must-haves

First, a quick recap: I’ve decided to buy a Porsche 911, in particular the 991.1 GT3. Now is where the process gets a bit complicated.

You see, buying a Porsche car isn’t as straight forwards as the typical mainline manufacturer, where you pick the color, select from the few option packages you want, and on you go. Porsche does things a lot differently: the company is hilariously notorious for its immense options list, where buyers can spec all sorts of things, from the useful (sports exhaust) to the downright ridiculous (deviated stitching in neon green on the leather-wrapped fuse-box door). The notoriety extends to the option prices, too: you want Apple CarPlay in your Porsche? Hyundai will give it to your for free in the Elantra, but i a Boxster, that will be 360 dollars.

Indeed it’s far too easy - and tremendously fun - to spec a Porsche car and have the options alone cost more than a well-equipped family sedan.

Obviously, I haven’t got the sort of monetary reserves to concern myself with special seatbelts and Alcantara sun-visors. However, there are some key options that I reckon are absolutely essential for the full 991.1 GT3 experience. To investigate, I bought myself a brochure (which alone cost 100 dollars used on eBay - the Porsche tax is real) to survey the possibilities back in 2014.

First and foremost in the decision process is the exterior color. Being that I am buying a used sample, I figure I cannot be too picky; I really want to avoid spending months on end hunting down just the correct colored car with the appropriate options. I guess I’m an impatient millennial after all.

So it became a matter of eliminating colors, rather than picking only one. It was rather quick: the only colors taken off the list were any variety/shade of black, gray, and brown. Black was an easy elimination because it only looks good for that one split-second after you’ve just finished detailing. Drive it down a road for a minute and it looks dirty again. I didn’t want gray because having seen a GT3 in that color, all the special lines and curves of the car gets muddied and overshadowed (same is true in black).

Brown got tossed because, well, it’s brown. A GT3 is a thoroughbred sports car, not a diesel station wagon. Anyways, my color preferences are, by order of desire: red, white, silver, yellow, blue.

The next big item after paint is actually the brakes. The 991.1 GT3 comes standard with fabulously large six-piston front, four-piston rear brakes clamping down on iron discs. For just a hair over 9,000 dollars, the car can be fitted with even larger carbon ceramic discs. I’ve always loved the looks of beefy brakes nestled behind alloy wheels, so I wouldn’t have objected to paying more for the carbon stoppers, but for one huge problem: the PCCB calipers are yellow, while the stock steelies are a proper shade of red.

Indeed it’s only aesthetics, but I’m paying a relatively enormous sum of money for the GT3 and I really hate yellow-colored calipers. Other than black, it doesn’t match with any other exterior color - and I’m not buying a black GT3. So the stock steel brakes it is, which also saves me the depreciated equivalent of 9000 dollars. A solid win.

With those two big ticket items out of the way, the rest of the must-have options are as follow:

  • Front axle lift: consists of two hydraulic cylinders perched on top of the front coils, allowing the driver to quickly raise the front-end about an inch at the push of a button. It costs nearly 3000 dollars, but I think it’s worth the massive decrease in chances of scraping the absurdly low front lip. It’s a must-have even considering a replacement lip is only 200 dollars.

  • Extended-range fuel tank: in place of the paltry stock 16-gallon fuel tank (for that all important low curb weight stat) is a 23.7-gallon unit. The GT3 is projected to get around 15 miles to the gallon on a good day, so the stock tank, after discounting the typical 3-gallon reserve, isn’t likely to net over 200 miles on one fill. I plan to road-trip the car quite considerably so the bigger tank is crucial.
    Fun fact: the extended-range fuel tank may be larger but the fuel gauge inside the instrument cluster still acquiesces to the stock tank size. The needle stays at full until level goes below 16 gallons.

  • Sound Package Plus: this option adds a separate amplifier to give the standard nine speakers some extra watts of kick. It’s not remotely in the same league as the Burmeister system found in less sporting 911s, but I do like my sounds, and this package was the maximum possible on the 991.1 (991.2 GT3 offers an optional Bose system). You may ask why spend more for sound when the engine is already so melodious and captivating; to that I say sometimes I just want to cruise and listen to music.

And that is it; not too particularly picky, if I do say so myself. More importantly these are common options that most GT3 buyers do spec, so the potential number of suitable cars should be fairly decent. However, next to my must-have list I also have a must-not-have list, and unfortunately that’s going to constrict the list of cars:

  • Lightweight Buckets: while I have no doubts that these option bucket seats are fabulous on a race track, for daily comfort I don’t find them to be optimal. The GT3 will be a weekend only car, and there will be stints of multiple hours; seating comfort is therefore immensely important. The standard 4-way adjustable seats or the optional 18-way adjustable units are what I am looking for.

  • Painted wheels: the standard 20-inch wheels come in a beautiful satin platinum finish, a hue that looks like a muted variant of my favorite wheel color ever: bronze. Obviously not everyone shares my taste, and Porsche provides the option for GT3 wheels to be painted in either silver, satin black, or gloss black. I absolutely do not want a car with wheels in those colors, and no, I’m not paying more to have a set painted back to satin platinum.

  • XM satellite radio: Internet radio is a feature I’m certain I will never use. A GT3 specced with this option wouldn’t be a bother if not for the fact in order to get reception, a small rectangular nub is required on the center rear of the roof - like a ‘shark fin’ antenna on a BMW. Exterior appendages that ruin lines and serve zero purpose? Hard pass.

  • Sport Chrono Package: in the “regular” 911, Sport Chrono Package is quite compelling in that in addition to the stopwatch/clock module on top of the center dash, there’s also extra software components (Sport Plus mode, for instance) to make the car that little bit faster. In a GT3 that’s already maximized for sport, all you get is the clock and connection leads for a lap timer that’s sold separately. The car itself won’t go any quicker, and since I don’t plan to visit a track at all, the Sport Chrono Package is definitely an appendage that serves zero purpose.

Right, so the plan is this: within the suitable price range for a 2015 991.1 GT3, I shall search for cars that isn’t black/gray/brown, with steel brakes, and with my must-have options and none of the must-not-haves. If the original owner decided to pay for superfluous accoutrements like full leather dash or a fire extinguisher when they ordered the car new, then that’s simply a bonus for me.