Porsche 911 GT3 996 driving experience without the GT3 price tag
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again — we love it when a former 911 & Porsche World feature car comes to market. More so when it happens to be a former cover star...
TRIED & TESTED
The GT3 driving experience without the GT3 price tag. This is how Charlie Wildridge, boss of Suffolkbased Porsche indie, William Francis, describes the Tiffany Blue 996 you see in our photos. If the car looks familiar, then you’ll probably recall its star turn on the cover of our July 2022 issue, when it was paired with a zesty modified Cayman S Sport, the pair built by Charlie to demonstrate how anyone with a budget of thirty grand can have a ridiculously sorted 911 capable of taking the fight to track oriented GT Porsches costing three times as much. In fact, you can budget thirty grand and have change to spare — Charlie has advertised this stunning 996 as available with a purchase price of £27,995. So, then, what exactly do you get for the money? This 911 started life as a 2002 manual Carrera originally fitted with a factory Aerokit. The 996’s front panel and enlarged side skirts are still in place, but the ducktail engine lid is an item from independent Porsche parts retailer, Design 911. A rare non-sunroof coupe, the car’s original specification also included a rear wiper (now absent), M030 suspension, switchable exhaust and a BOSE stereo system. Things are a little different now, though, as we reported in the summer. “I’ve upgraded the factory-fitted switchable exhaust system to be manually operated,” Charlie tells us. “2002 cars with the optional Sport exhaust were only switchable through the relay and the module in the ECU. Porsche left all the wiring in place for the conversion, though. I installed the required relay in the footwell and added the button on the dashboard.” The system makes use of the factory vacuum lines.
Prominent in the 996’s cabin is its RUF-embossed GT3 seats, incorporating houndstooth-patterned cushions. The Schroth harnesses you see in our pictures are genuine 918 Spyder items. The mounting brackets were TIG-welded to a genuine Porsche Tequipment roll cage — there’s obviously a rear seat delete — to ensure they fit correctly. A seriously OEM+ addition to this cool Carrera.
There’s a miniature Eiffel Tower sitting prominently in the middle of the cabin. It’s a trackday-friendly, race-spec short shifter from the Ultra Shifter product catalogue of German transmission accessories manufacturer, CAE.
Mileage is 62,000. Modest distance for a twenty-plus-year-old car, we’re sure you’ll agree. “It had sticky valve solenoids, which I’ve worked my way through. I’ve carried out a couple of engine flushes, fitted a new clutch, upgraded the IMS bearing with a European Parts Solution roller bearing and fitted braided brake hoses,” Charlie confirms. The Öhlins dampers come into play here, complete with varying degrees of stiffness. “There’s thirty settings to choose from,” Charlie explains. “The first ten are circuit settings. The next ten are for fast road driving, then you’re into settings affording the car the compliance of a standard damper. I’ve currently got the kit dialled in to setting number nine, the softest of the track settings. It’s a little firm for the road, but not so your fillings are going to fall out. Put it this way, I drove the car to Snetterton and home again and it performed brilliantly around the track, as well as on the public road there and back. I’ve long considered the build quality of Öhlins products as nothing short of superb.”
The minty overcoat is a wrap, ceramic coated for long-term protection, while the wheels are genuine BBS E88s. Interested? Visit william-francis.com for all the details.
THE MOUNTING BRACKETS WERE TIG-WELDED TO A GENUINE PORSCHE TEQUIPMENT ROLL CAGE TO ENSURE THEY FIT CORRECTLY