Book Review: 911 GT2 by Christoph Mäder and Jan Koum
Book on Porsche’s 911 GT2 generation 993. Two volumes, road and race cars.
Porsche is well known for its limited production runs of both its road cars and race cars. This makes those special models all the more attractive to the racing fraternity, as well as to private collectors. The Essen Motor Show in November 1994 was chosen as the event at which the 911 GT2 model would be launched, and while it did not carry the prestige of the IAA, Paris or Geneva motor shows, Essen was recognised as the performance or tuning showcase for manufacturers.
The early ‘90s was not a time of plenty at Porsche, and with Wendelin Wiedeking as CEO of the company, the motorsport sales department was under threat of being closed altogether. Hartmut Kristen was charged with turning the department around, and although the Turbo and Carrera RS models were sporty in nature, there was no ‘hammer’ (as the engineers at Porsche like to call it). It was time to change that—and so, based around the 911 Turbo, the GT2 model was born.
Porsche was not the only sports car manufacturer struggling to find sales in the early ‘90s. The Group C era was over, GT racing had not yet caught fire, and since Porsche’s history was pretty much reliant on racing, a rudderless motorsport industry did not help.
But as the ‘90s wore on, GT racing began to pick up, and the prospects of creating a GT2 racing class contender began to sound like a feasible proposition. With Porsche’s sales struggling, they did not want a new model to steal sales from other 911 models—and so it was decided to create the new GT2 model at the top end of the 911 range.
Around the mid-90s, the BPR (Barth-Peter-Ratel) racing series was established for GT cars, and this focused the minds of sport-minded Porsche enthusiasts. The 911 GT2 (993) became one of the most potent and successful contenders in the BPR series—as well as the FIA GT Championship which followed it, the Le Mans 24 Hours, and on the US racing scene, too.
All-in-all, 194 street-legal GT2 cars were manufactured, while an additional 78 race cars were also produced. Having the new car homologated in the GT2 racing class required a production run of 200 units, but the FIA/ACO allowed the road and race car numbers to be added together in this instance.
What the Book Covers
For a number of years now, Christoph Mäder has been associated with several high-quality publications, and this one certainly does not buck that trend. 911 GT2 comes in two handsome clothbound volumes contained in an attractive and sturdy slipcase.
The first volume sets the scene with a chapter on the origins of the air-cooled 911, covering all generations up to the 993 generation. The story then moves to the GT2 model—its origins, development, engine and gearbox, optional extras and colour palette, as well as relevant media coverage.
The narrative is well researched, well written, and the text and images are well presented, giving the reader the right combination of information and visual content to enjoy. Included is a history of each and every 911 (993) GT2 ever produced, giving each car’s optional extras as included at the time of production, and other useful information about each car.
The appendix shows the driver’s manual and other relevant historic documentation, followed by a comprehensive section covering the technical and dimensional specifications.
In addition to the excellent photography and numerous illustrations and technical drawings, informative press releases also ensure the full story of the 911 GT2 is conveyed to the reader. The authors have benefitted from the combined wisdom of an impressive contingent of 22 interviewees who were involved in the design, development, and racing of the GT2—including those from within the company as well as external sources.
In addition to this, many other knowledgeable personalities have contributed a wealth of information about the many different aspects covered by this magnificent publication.
The second volume covers the racing version of the 911 GT2. The authors have really done this special model justice by including the various evolutions of the GT2, also covering aspects of the car’s aerodynamics and the race engines.
A section covering the motorsport scene describes in detail the different players, the various racing series, and the politics that ruled the day—very interesting! This is followed by detailed coverage of the five seasons from ’95 to ’99 in which the GT2 competed, giving truly great detail of each race, with high-quality photography provided by the factory and numerous well-known international motorsport photographers.
This volume concludes with a section giving the technical specifications of the different racing model evolutions.
The 911 GT2 was born at a time when the motorsport world was in some disorder. Along with other manufacturers, Porsche played a vital role in re-establishing the anticipation and excitement that has driven motorsport over the years. The Porsche 911 GT2 was the weapon of choice for so many teams and drivers during those heady days in the late-90s, and the race-going public loved every lap of it.
This two-volume set is, without doubt, one of the finest publications of its kind to come out in recent years—not only in terms of the style and presentation, but also in terms of the quality of its content. Far from trying to ‘big up’ this publication, the authors have created a truly impressive piece of work—and as a motorsport enthusiast, this publication is a necessary addition to your library.
At the time of this writing, 670 of the 993 copies have already shipped, which means that less than one third of the print run is left. So you had better hurry, because they are going fast!
About the Authors
Christoph Mäder took up writing professionally 20 years ago. Born in Stuttgart, the half-German, half-Brazilian designer and photographer started out as press officer for former Formula One team Zakspeed Racing. He went on to become team manager for Walter Lechner’s Porsche Supercup team, later working for Jetalliance Racing for a few years in FIA GT, before switching to writing premium automotive books.
Joint author Jan Koum, a vivid Porsche collector himself, was the one who kick-started this undertaking. Koum was responsible for tracking down all the street cars to create the Catalogue Raisonné, and he went over every single line of the road car book with Mäder.
The Foreword has been written by none other than Walter Röhrl, a racing and rally driver with more than 50 years of experience driving Porsche sports cars. Röhrl is closely connected with those inside the factory, and with his competition background, there can be none more qualified to assess a car like the 911 GT2.