Why the Porsche 911 GT3 RS (997.1) is one of the most significant cars of the last 25 years

To mark our 25th anniversary we name the 25 most significant driver's cars launched in the last 25 years. John Barker presents his case for the 997.1 Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Porsche 91 GT3 RS – front

It beat everything that it came up against, the 997 GT3 RS. Unequivocally, without mercy, and sometimes without breaking a sweat. After a day driving everything else at and around Cadwell Park for our 2007 Road and Track Car of the Year feature (evo 105), I finally got into the GT3 RS for the commute home. Within a few hundred yards I said out loud: ‘Well, that’s everything else f***ed, then.’ Its quality was obvious almost instantly and every subsequent yard of the 75‑mile drive home served simply to confirm and amplify its brilliance. 

> Why the Honda NSX-R is one of the most significant cars of the last 25 years

On overall scores, it took the narrowest of victories over the Ferrari 430 Scuderia at evo Car of the Year 2007. The Porsche was as thrilling and absorbing at the limit as the Scud but wonderfully engaging and rewarding when not, in that middle ground where we spend most of our wheel-time. The tactility of its steering and gearshift, the perfect tautness of its ride, and its depth of character were joyous. That it was half the price of the Ferrari was a bonus. 

I admire what Andreas Preuninger and his team have done with subsequent GT3 RSs, but for me the 997.1 is the high-water mark, the peak of perfection, being that bit smaller and lighter, with a manual ’box and a 409bhp flat-six that revs to 8000rpm, which is more than enough.

This story was first featured in the 25th anniversary edition of evo. John also voted for the Ford GT, Ferrari 458 Speciale, Pagani Zonda C12-S and Renault Sport Mégane R26.R to round out his five most significant cars of the last 25 years.

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