Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wide Open Wednesday

In the 70's and 80's my dad owned a series of seriously awesome sportscars, starting with an Austin Healy 3000, then a Porsche 356sc and ending with an Alfa Romeo GTV6.  The 356 was my favorite and I've been a Porsche fan ever since.  I cam close to buying a 944 in high school, but that's the closest I've come to actual ownership.  I've had some lucky encounters with test drives and friends' cars so I'm quite guilty of breaking the 10th Commandment and a bit covetous of the brand.  Ironically, its the non-911's that I love the most...the 924/944/968 series of cars and the mid-engined Cayman.

Its hard to be a Porsche fan without being a fan of car racing as well.  If you've read my blog before, you'll know sportscar racing is my choice when it comes to viewing and following time.  And in light of the recent takeover of sportscar racing by NASCAR its good to see Porsche continuing their development of customer racing cars.  The latest offering is the 991 version of the GT3 Cup.

I was surprised to see the new 911 look so good in racing trim.  In my mind, the 911 has become a $100,000 luxury car with its dimensions, electronic aids and growing MSRP so I was curious as to how the GT3 series of race cars would evolve.  Turns out Porsche engineers still know what they are doing.  From its huge wing and other aero enhancements to its new 6 speed paddle shifters, the elongated 991 translates very well to a racing car.

Porsche has sold over 2300 GT3 Cup cars over the past 12 years so the new version has a lot to live up to.  The most recent Cup big brother, the hi-po GT3 RSR, had some issues last year at the end of its life cycle, so lets hope the development of the new chassis takes off.

With all the changes in American sportscar racing coming up in 2014, it will be interesting to see what Porsche does, and what cars will be allowed in the new combined ALMS/Grand-Am series.  With NASCAR's tradition of low tech (Car of Tomorrow, Daytona Prototype) I hope they realize why ALMS had a good fan base...high tech prototypes and recognizable sportscars, and allow marques like Porsche to really shine.

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