Five rare, special edition Porsches: the only 911 R in India, one of only two of the current generation GT3, the only GT3 RS, the only 50th anniversary 911 and the first of only seven Cayman GT4s to come to India are brought together for the very first time to celebrate 70 years of the storied brand
NOT EVERYBODY GETS the 911. The template has remained unchanged, the engine still hangs off the back, an old 911 looks like a new 911 and the variants are far too many for a sane human being to remember. A Ferrari, a Lamborghini, they need no explanation. You come into money, buy an Italian supercar, and a Punjabi in Birmingham will rap about it. Blow that dough on a Porsche and you’re guaranteed to go mad explaining why your Turbo costs twice as much as a Carrera even though they’re both turbo’d and basically look the same.
Most of all the numbers make no bloody sense. How does 991 follow 997? How does 996 follow 993? And why the random application of logic when 997 did follow 996? No wonder colleagues rifling through the proofs of this magazine’s cover on the design desk moaned, “but they’re all 911s!”
The thing is, Porsches are cars for the proper, proper enthusiast, especially here in India where there is no backstory. Maharajas didn’t buy Porsches. There’s only one 356 in the country, which is sequestered from the public eye. Nobody in Bollywood did a James Dean. We didn’t have the equivalent of Le Mans to go to as kids. India is the only major world power that doesn’t host a round of the Porsche Cup races (and Switzerland where motorsport is banned). Except for a big-ass wing sticking off the back of a GT3 there’s nothing extrovert about a 911 either. It’s why Delhi doesn’t do 911s.
Which means if you see a 911, it’ll be driven by a serious enthusiast. You buy a 911 because it means something to you. Maybe you had a picture of a 911 on your bedroom wall, it could have been the 959 but they all look the same, so what the hell. You probably did your graduation in the States and got bitten by the Porsche bug; maybe racing is more than just F1 for you; maybe you watch too much Californication (the one-eyed Cabrio is the 964, in case you’re wondering); whatever it is, once you get it, there’s no going back. It’s unlike any other sports car in the world. The silhouette, the rear-engined traction, the inside front wheel lifting under hard cornering, that shimmy in the ’wheel especially on old Porsches… it’s as iconic as it gets. The Porschephile, he knows his shit. The 911, the Cayman, and all those bafflingly numeraled variants, they’re not bought for strutting around. As it was pointed out to me on my induction (I went to work for Porsche for a brief while, such is the pull of the brand even for somebody with already the best job in the world!), the Porsche guy doesn’t want a big penis because it increases drag coefficient and weighs more.
CHENNAI IS ALWAYS HOT AND HUMID, but today the moisture hangs particularly heavy. You can slap it with a towel. It generates vapour trails off the GT3’s big-ass wing as we attempt to get some heat into the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres at the MMRT, adding to the already thick layer of grime on the heavy haunches. This is only the second 991.2 GT3 to be delivered in the country, third in the Porsche hierarchy of hardcore-ness after the RennSport machines, yet it hasn’t rolled off the back of a trailer. It has been driven down, in the monsoons, from Calicut in Kerala. And it will be driven back.
This is not normal behaviour, especially in India where we moan about the roads; where sports cars and supercars are mollycoddled; where the first words uttered by every uncle-type is: “Where will you drive this car, beta?”. Ashique Tahir though, he drives his cars. “My first Porsche was seven years ago,” he tells me. “A 911 Cabrio and I’ve done 60,000km in it. It can go over every Indian road and you can park it anywhere. It does not attract any unwanted attention.” In reality Ashique’s 911 Cabrio is a few months away from six figures, the timeline recently extended after he got delivery of the GT3.
Porsche claims 80 per cent of GT3 owners use their cars on the track, not surprising considering the GT3 gets its name from the FIA class that it has been built to race in. The GT3 is a Porsche Motorsport Department car. It is so motorsport-y you can get a half roll-cage for no extra money, along with a six-point harness and plumbed-in fire extinguisher. Cup 2 tyres? Those started off as cutslicks. You can also get this new GT3 with a manual gearbox, but everyday traffic in Kerala can be a bit much, so Ashique stuck with the PDK for a car he’ll be driving (nearly) everyday. He is (a bit) sensible in that respect.
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