The third in our series celebrating 20 years of the Porsche 911 GT3 shares the memories of a lifelong Porsche fan and a true 911 GT3 enthusiast.
Here John Winson, a customer of our Dick Lovett Porsche Centre in Tewkesbury, describes his passion for the 911 GT3.
What do you love most about your GT3?
I was lucky enough to tailor the car to my personal style on a factory visit to Stuttgart before the final spec was confirmed. Originally I wanted a paint-to-sample order in Viper green, but the window to change the colour was closed, so I chose Ultraviolet and in retrospect I think it's the best colour for this generation of the GT3 brand. I made some subtle changes to the car that were not available on the standard configurator, which really made it special to me.
What made you choose the GT3?
I had already owned several 911s by the time the GT3 was launched in 1999 and I fell in love with it on seeing the press photos. I remember drooling at a white 996 GT3RS with red script at the Dick Lovett showroom in Swindon in 2004.
Have you ever taken your GT3 on a track day?
With the bucket seats, the harnesses and the Clubsport roll-cage package, it is obvious sitting in my 997 that this car is built for the track as well as the road. Once I got a bit less precious about the car I started to use it on the track. As a member of Porsche Club GB I was able to use the car on some of their excellent track days and that's where the GT3 shows yet another side of its character. Whilst not as powerful as some of the turbo cars, the GT3 is capable of far higher cornering speeds and this is reflected in the lap times.
What other Porsches have you owned, now and in the past?
I am (unashamedly) a lifelong Porsche fan, having had my first Porsche when I was about nine years old (a 1977 911 turbo Martini). Okay, it was a Scalextric model, but that's not the point! My first real Porsche was a shabby used 12-year-old 924 bought in 1990. I soon upgraded to a 944 turbo, then a 911 and eventually a 911 turbo. I bought a 1999 996 Carrera in Speed yellow with a GT3 bodykit fitted, factory sports suspension, hard-backed bucket seats and a sports exhaust. In 2008 I managed to buy a used 997 GT3RS in Pure orange. Then in 2015 I was lucky enough to get my request for a new GT3RS accepted by Dick Lovett's Porsche Centre in Tewkesbury.
I am about to take delivery of a new 991.2 GT3RS. I still have and am still in love with my 997 GT3 and have vowed never to part with it, but as it's nearly 12 years old, I decided that it would be unfair to continue with its punishing track schedule. It has never let me down throughout years of track use, but its life will get a bit easier with the arrival of my new 991.2.
Where is the best place you have ever taken your GT3?
Anglesey. GT3s always give great experiences on track and the vista from the Anglesey circuit is fab. There are also a couple of great roads on the journey up, including fantastic sections on and around the A5 near Betws y Coed. That is the joy of a GT3 – it's fun on track and fun on the way to the track!
What are your future plans for your GT3?
Having done only UK track days with the 997, I plan to go further afield in the new car, with Spa-Francorchamps on the top of my bucket list.
Which three words would you use to describe the GT3?
Unbelievably fun Porsche.
Has anything about the GT3 surprised you?
I guess the bit about the front wheel being clear of the ground when the rear wheels are parked on slightly uneven ground. A true demonstration of the tautness of the chassis.