Sports car evolution or mobile phone revolution?
We’ve compared the Turbo S to the GT3, and we’ve contextualised generations of Turbo S through pop culture, so now seems like as good a time as any to run through the eras of GT3 with the accompanying best mobile phone of that year. Stay with us here…
The GT3, in its modern-day guise has been on our roads for over 23 years, and that roughly coincides with how long mobile phones have been in the mainstream and a key component of our everyday lives.
Such an illustrious lineage can be sourced back to the seminal – and to many – the greatest 911 of all time, the 1973 911 2.7 RS. Lightweight, high-revving and agile in the twisty stuff, the original RS is often thought of as the blueprint, the foundation on which all subsequent Porsches take inspiration from.
Although not technically falling under the GT3 appellation, the RS embodied everything the GT3 represents in a time before the ‘race car for the road’ category had truly had a chance to flourish in the modern market.
As far as it’s accompanying mobile phone, this one took us completely by surprise. Allegedly the first ever mobile phone call took place on April 3, 1973. A 2 1/2-pound Motorola prototype, nicknamed ‘the shoe’ was operated by engineer Martin Cooper to call rival Joel Engel of Bell Laboratories at AT&T, informing him that they had reached the milestone achievement first.
1999 996.1 GT3
It wasn’t until 1999 that we saw the GT3 nameplate in earnest, at which point it was introduced as part of the 996 generation. Homologous in design to those racing in FIA GT3 series, the 996 GT3 focused primarily on track performance, displacing luxuries such as air conditioning, rear seats and a sun roof, all in the name of cornering capability. Of course, these were optional add-ons at the behest of the customer but that premise set a precedent for all future GT3s to come.
It wasn’t just a serious weight-loss programme for the 996, either. Upgraded braking and suspension as well as superior downforce from a new bumper and rear spoiler ensured that the arrival of the GT3 was met with a certain degree of impact. The Clubsport package also made its debut during this period, featuring myriad motorsport aspects such as bucket seats, a half roll cage, racing harnesses and a fire extinguisher.
When you think about the classic, indestructible Nokia, the 3210 is the model your mind will immediately be drawn to. Known for its exceptional durability, many who owned one of these – or those who knew someone who owned one – will be overwhelmed with nostalgia at the mere mention of the game Snake.
2004 996.2 GT3
In 2004, Porsche made the GT3 accessible to the US market for the first time and with it, a swathe of upgrades to improve on the already impressive 996 GT3 recipe of five years prior. Braking was improved once again with new six-piston calipers whilst power and torque outputs were raised over the original, yielding a 0-60mph time of 4.5 seconds.
Often thought of as the least aesthetically pleasing of the GT3s, the 996.2 made up for its alleged lack of beauty in all the right places. This was made all the more evident by way of an inspired PR stunt – in a time before every man and his dog had done a hot lap of the ‘ring – in which Porsche test-driver Walter Röhrl completed a lap of the Nordschleife in 7 minutes and 56 seconds.
Motorola Razr V3
Hello moto! The popularity of everyone’s favourite flip phone from the early noughties speaks for itself. The Razr featured in some of the era’s biggest television series including Lost, Entourage, Prison Break and even in an outtake from Top Gear.
2006 997.1 GT3
The official second generation of the GT3 launched in February of 2006 and the 997.1 received updates that were as numerous as they were notable. Most prominent of which is undoubtedly the engine, which morphed from a high-revving 2.7-litre into a beefy 3.6-litre. An Alcantara-clad, Carrera GT-reminiscent interior added yet more elements to the ever-evolving personality of the GT3.
The 997.1 also harnessed some of Porsche’s more recent motorsport innovations in the form of ‘zero lift’ aerodynamics and Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) enabling owners to electronically adjust their suspension for the first time. In another first, the GT3 boasted unique rear bodywork with central twin exhausts for added drama.
Sony Ericsson W810
A year in which mobile phone style was high on the agenda, but distinctive functionality remained at a premium, the LG Chocolate was arguably the most innovative design on the market. However, tech giant Sony and Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson collaborated to create a phone/MP3 player hybrid during a period when the lines between those functions were yet to be blurred as seamlessly as they are now.
2009 997.2 GT3
A second iteration of the 997 GT3 was released in 2009 – the 997.2. Once more, Porsche produced a halfway house between the last GT3 and the next, drumming up plenty of excitement amongst car enthusiasts and potential customers alike, as they continued to refine an already pretty special car.
The engine once again received a smattering of extra power. 3.6-litres became 3.8 and subsequently, an extra 20bhp was thrown into the mix. Those 429 horses were responsible for a 0-60mph run of 4.1 seconds. This GT3 offered more than a bit of extra grunt, with a more purposeful rear wing, dynamic engine mounts and a pneumatically lifting front axle.
Blackberry Bold 9700
Who could forget the full keyboard-boasting Blackberry phones of the 2000s? The Bold 9700 released during the same year as the 997.2 GT3 is arguably the best of the lot. Similarly to the 997.2, this phone improved upon a hugely successful predecessor (the 9000) with a refined, intuitive trackpad and updated UI.
2013 991.1 GT3
With some of the largest disparities between one generation of GT3 and another so far, the 991 was something of a clean slate for Porsche whilst the potent combination of motorsport-derived DNA and ultimate sports car fundamentals endured.
Yet another engine increase means this new-era GT3’s 3.8-litre, direct injection output a weighty 469bhp. Purists have often struggled with the notion of electronic assistance when it comes to the real drivers cars, so when this model was released with four-wheel steering and a 7-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) double-clutch gearbox (with no option for manual transmission), they were dragged kicking and screaming over to the 991’s camp. It was, in essence, too quick to argue with.
Before every smartphone was crafted from slabs of premium metal, the HTC One really stood out from the crowd. This phone won several best phone of the year awards and presented a welcome alternative to the now established mobile phone front runners of Apple and Samsung. Unfortunately, HTC’s overwhelming success was hindered by the company’s public persona and faltering profits.
2017 991.2 GT3
The second generation 991 GT3 is everything you could ask for and more. Porsche responded to the outcry they received after the abolishment of manual gearboxes by reintroducing the good old stick shift. 0-60mph was now achievable in 3.4 seconds and it went on to 100mph in 7.3, owing to its sublime 4-litre, 493bhp, engine that revved to a stonking 9,000rpm.
The four year gap between GT3s was also a busy time for the engineers in the aerodynamics department at Stuttgart. A revised rear wing and ground effect-esque floor strakes help the 991.2 to produce an extra 20 per cent of downforce over its predecessor. The ride and handling were further improved with new materials being utilised across the steering and suspensions assemblages.
The iPhone X was a real game-changer at launch, brimming with new features such as a Super Retina Display, TrueDepth Camera System, Face ID and A11 Bionic Chip with Neural Engine. But what does that all in real terms? Well, it meant that users could unlock their phone with Face ID, share Animojis and enjoy the full-screen display that Apple had been eyeing for some time.
2021 992 GT3
Porsche embarked on a new era with the 992 GT3, which saw more huge changes to one of the quintessential race cars for the road. This time, they stepped it up a notch in terms of motorsport inspiration; the engine was the very same from the 2021 911 GT3 Cup car whilst a double-wishbone front axle was been borrowed from the Le Mans 24 Hour-winning 911 RSR, improving turn-in immeasurably.
Naturally, there have been plenty of aerodynamic improvements to this latest generation, most importantly a ‘swan neck’ rear wing to allow better airflow underneath the wing itself. If that wasn’t enough, the rear diffuser creates four times the downforce as 991.2. All that resulted in a whopping 50 per cent increase in downforce. A mode switch on the steering wheel also allowed convenient transitions between normal, sport and track modes.
When compared directly to GT3s of old, it becomes apparent just how much headway Porsche has made in terms of performance. Of course, we have to mention that Nordschleife time, a 6 minute and 59 second time in 2021 compared to that in 2004 shows an improvement of 57 seconds and at the ring, that’s no mean feat. Meanwhile, the Clubsport package retains all of the features seen in the original 1999 offering.
Galaxy Z Fold 3
Mobile phones on the other hand, are counterintuitively returning to the flip phones of the early 2000s. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is Samsung’s latest iteration of foldable smart phone-come-tablet and whilst they are still ironing out the kinks (literally), it seems like they might’ve finally hit the nail on the head, despite the hefty price tag. This revolutionary technology may well usher in a new era for handheld devices.
The continuously developing landscape of the GT3 and indeed, mobile phones since the turn of the century certainly highlights how long we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy the GT3 on public roads.
Full vehicle listing for our 2021 Porsche 911 (992) GT3 Club Sport HERE.