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A decade and a half of 911 racing in Europe Part 1

#160, Porsche 997 GT3 Cup S (2008)

The #160 Prospeed Competition Porsche 997 GT3 Cup S was driven by David Loix/David Dermont/Franz Lamot/Jan Heylen
Spa 24-Hour, 2 August 2008: The #160 Prospeed Competition Porsche 997 GT3 Cup S was driven by David Loix (B)/David Dermont (B)/Franz Lamot (B)/Jan Heylen (B)

Over the years, we have attended many motor races and seen first-hand how the performance of the evergreen Porsche 911 has improved. This feature, the first in our four-part mini-series, starts with the 2005 season where the iconic 996 GT3 RSR was a potent force on the GT racing scene, and rolls through to 2008. The story of 911 racing in Europe is like no other, because the 911 is the only single continuously evolving sports car model in the market.

Porsche 996 GT3 RSR of Race Alliance driven by Thomas Grüber/Lukas Lichtner-Hoyer
The Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy, Silverstone, 7 May 2006: Porsche 996 GT3 RSR of Race Alliance driven by Thomas Grüber (A)/Lukas Lichtner-Hoyer (A) finished 18th (11 laps behind the winner) overall from 26th on the starting grid

In this mini-series, we will bring you some highlights from this remarkable journey as it unfolded from ’05 right up to the present. In order to share this 911 motorsport heritage with you, our readers, we have dug into our photo archive to produce a selection of racing images that best represents this period.

2005

The 996 GT3 Cup Car, the first racing car to usher in the new era of water-cooled Porsches back in 1999, could be upgraded to 400 bhp at 7300 rpm from its 3.6-litre engine, and had a sub-4 second time for the 0-62 mph sprint.

The #55 Embassy Racing Porsche 996 GT3 RSR of Neil Cunningham/Ben Collins
FIA GT race, Silverstone, 15 May 2005: The #55 Embassy Racing Porsche 996 GT3 RSR of Neil Cunningham/Ben Collins (ex-Stig from BBC Top Gear) finished 13th. Cunningham doubled for James Bond in the movie Quantum of Solace, and lives in Swansea, UK

The #66 Gruppe M Racing Porsche 996 GT3 RSR was ably piloted by Marc Lieb/Mike Rockenfeller
FIA GT race, Silverstone, 15 May 2005: The #66 Gruppe M Racing Porsche 996 GT3 RSR was ably piloted by Marc Lieb/Mike Rockenfeller, who finished ninth overall and first in GT2 (five laps behind the winner). Both Lieb and Rockenfeller went on to great success with the Porsche and Audi works teams respectively

Introduced in 2004, the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (Type 996) featured a 3598 cc water-cooled flat-six engine developing 445 bhp at 8250 rpm, up from the 2001 model 911 GT3 RS’s 415 bhp at 8200 rpm. Maximum engine speed was reached at 8500 rpm when fitted with twin FIA spec 30.8 mm air restrictors. This model ran for three seasons, 2004 to 2006, and was replaced by the Type 997 in 2007.

The #86 Noble Racing 996 GT3 RSR of Darryl O’Young/Matthew Marsh
Silverstone 1000 km, 13 August 2005: The #86 Noble Racing 996 GT3 RSR of Darryl O’Young (HK)/Matthew Marsh (GB) failed to finish due to gearbox problems

Gruppe M Racing 996 GT3 R driven by the British pairing of Jonny Cocker/Tim Sugden
Silverstone 1000 km, 13 August 2005: Gruppe M Racing 996 GT3 R, driven by the British pairing of Jonny Cocker/Tim Sugden, was involved in an accident during the wet race

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