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Porsche 911 GT3 in the track test: Out and about with the rally champ

Julius Tannert
Rallye Porsche 911 GT3 in the track test
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I something doesn't fit here. It's all deceptively harmless. Is it the rims that only show five small holes where a massive central lock once provided a pure racing look? Is it the puny tires on the rear axle, which instead of the permitted 295 millimeters now only measure a slim 225 mm, making the sweeping hips of the Porsche 911 GT3 only half as exciting? Or is it the engine that is hiding low behind plastic cladding and thus wants to conceal the monster that actually lives in the basement? No, now I have it: It's the color.

This ridiculously innocent white, paired with black stripes, turns the car into a cute zebra. Only at second glance does it become clear that the welts are war paint and the Porsche 911 GT3 by Ruben Zeltner is not a hunted game, but a voracious robber. Orange would have been a lot more appropriate. If the roar of a tiger had announced the appearance of the championship car on the Erzgebirgsring, the herd of sheep lounging on the slope next to the club restaurant 'Kolbenfresser' would hardly have pooed the slope so brazenly.

The wool creatures snort looking for grass the fresh white aside, it snowed overnight. There is a stiff wind from the northeast, and an ice film lurks under the muddy snow cover in some places. 'The conditions are poison for the car,' says Ruben Zeltner happily.

What he actually wants to say is that they are poison for the learner driver who has just tied himself down and is amazed at how unexciting here everything is inside. The backside doesn't sit on the road like a Le Mans racer, the cockpit is spacious, the overview is not bad, and the wild GT3 is easier to drive than some popular sports devices. But that's all camouflage and deception - we'll get to that later. The story actually started quite harmlessly. After two years in the long-distance cup, the trained rally man and full-time driving instructor Ruben Zeltner wanted to romp around on narrow country lanes again. For three years, to the delight of the fans, he trundled through the country in a BMW M3, then he got tired of the unsteady slide of the rear axle. Zeltner grabbed the VLN Porsche and got to work. It may well be that the accurately drawn and carefully leveled German roads are very much a racing car like the Cup Carrerato meet - but that doesn't make a circuit bomber a German rally champion car. Apart from individual successes, the Porsche faction had little to inherit before.

Porsche 911 GT3 with top speed 200 km /h

But since the DMSB, the official championship with the ADAC -Masters merged and in 2014 everyone was able to pick their eight favorite raisins from 14 races, Germany is Porsche-Land - at least if the car is prepared as ingeniously as the Zeltner Zebra.

Initially, the master let go convert the cage of the Cup GT3. The flanks are reinforced and flared to the right in order to protect the co-driver not intended in the racing car. At the back, the sloping cross brace had to be removed to make room for a spare wheel. The specialists from Wiechers converted the front end with the tank so that an 18-inch model also fits into the so-called trunk. “My car is the only 911 that can take two spare wheels with it,” Zeltner proudly claims. Usually he only has one on board, and he stows its 25 kilos in the front, because the Porsche chronically suffers from rear-heaviness.

Appearances are also deceptive when it comes to driving behavior, because the key to fast times is not mastering the rear , the rally is won at the front. 'Patience', prompts Zeltner from the right armchair in the tone of a therapist. It is important to drive the GT3 slowly into tight corners. You have to brake gently and deep into the curve in order to keep your weight on the front axle for as long as possible - and thus grip.

Of course, that's all gray theory when a tiger trainer apprentice starts his first lesson and the The cleaning crew lubricated the arena with floor wax. The nasty understeer announces itself early and easily measurable, because then the tires rumble with a roar. So off the gas again and wait. In a car like this, you get the time when you accelerate, and to do this, your nose has to point to the next straight as early as possible. It's rather short on the up-and-down track, which was actually built for karts. Despite the axle shortened to top speed of 200 km /h, it is only enough for a speed of 125 in fourth gear, then the anchor has to be thrown again for a left turn. But even the insensitive can throw that with a clear conscience, because the electronics of the Porsche 911 GT3 itself ensure the appropriate sensitivity when decelerating. Zeltner was the first to compete in his rally 911 with ABS. “What works in the rain on the Nordschleife also works in rallies,” is his motto. The downforce of the mighty rear wing and of course the rear engine are also helpful when braking. The master is certain: “No car brakes as well at the rear as the Porsche 911.”

Only acceleration is one of the rare moments in the slush when you want an unusually boring four-wheel drive Mitsubishi. If you are the tenteris, you can swivel comfortably into the double right in front of the clubhouse with a casual pluck on the handbrake of the 911 GT3, counter-steer nicely with finely set staccato thrusts and sand around the corner in one swing. If you are just the bull Markus, the snow tiger constantly snaps at its own tail and turns.

The engine has a mighty thump in all situations, that of the regulations for the 3.8-liter boxer to 75 millimeters So far, the specified air mass limiter was a joke, because instead of the 400 hp plus five percent allowed for N /GT cars, the passage did not allow the intended 428 horsepower, but easily 500. A reprogrammed control unit brakes the GT3 to keep it within the legal framework . Both Zeltner and the suspicious DMSB had the car checked several times. But more than 425 hp was never on the display.

In the coming season, 55 millimeters are now required. The competition hopes that the Porsche dominance is over; Zeltner promises that she will be surprised - because that would still have the same performance as last year.

Soft landings after jumps

Instead of brute force on the drive wheels, Zeltner relies on gentle force. He had the world champion supplier Sachs installed softer dampers in the Porsche 911 GT3. Drexler not only supplied a less aggressive differential lock, but also longer drive shafts for greater spring travel. 'After jumps, I land as soft as butter,' says the master. But above all, the traction improves, and when the slopes get greasy, the fox lets the zebra pull on the narrow Hankook soles at the back. 'Otherwise you are always in the dirt with the wide wheels,' says Zeltner and warns: 'If you get aquaplaning on the rear axle, the devil will get you.'

Porsche 911 GT3 no more expensive than a Group N -Allradler

Well, that would actually be the case everywhere today. The ice has thawed in the winter sun and the mud is hardly less slippery. So again: turn in, handbrake, counter-steer, a little gas. Shit, too much again.

To add some oil to the fire with the soft soap on the slopes, the master whispers: 'And now you have to imagine the whole thing in fifth gear in the forest.' Thank you very much is exciting enough as well. But we don't want to artificially dramatize here. The boxer doesn't yell at the occupants inside as ferociously as the sheep outside, and the bullet isn't as mean as feared.

If you don't go to Zeltner's efforts, the 911 GT3 doesn't cost more to buy and run than a Group N four-wheel drive, but makes a lot more noise, wind and fun. “Driving a Porsche is always a bit of an adventure,” says the master.

And so in the end, the novice driver feels a bit like the Indiana Jones of the Ore Mountains. As an Indian saysProverb: “It is easy to ride the tiger; it's just hard to get back down safely. ”In that sense, it was an uplifting day. The driver's suit is soaked in sweat - but it is not torn by fangs.

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