I spent today in the workshop at JZM Porsche in Hertfordshire, gathering feature ideas and furthering my technical knowledge.
Sadly, Tech Director Steve Mchale was out of office due to bereavement (sorry to hear the news, Steve) but JZM mechanics, Andy, Chris, Danny, Mike and Ricky have plenty of experience to share, and there was lots going on.
One project caught my eye. A customer had brought his 996 GT3 RS in to check pulling to the left after the all-important suspension geometry had been set elsewhere. The problem was enough to have the owner on the verge of selling the car, as he found it almost undriveable.
First job was to road test the car. The steering wheel was off centre, tyres were rubbing on the front arches when pressing on and the front ride heights were too low. One normally innocuous bump on the test route was enough to bottom out the dampers and send the car way off track.
Getting the car up on JZM Porsche’s Hunter alignment ramp, Ricky checked fuel level, front weight and tyre pressures. Then the Hunter wheel clamps were attached, which carry 3D targets to set the geometry up to the wheel centres. Without knowing that the target is centred, all measurements will be off.
I’ve had my E36 M3 measured on this ramp so I know how good it is. It was fascinating to watch the readings being calculated and to see what had been done to the car to get it so far wrong, with camber & castor different side to side up front, and the rear wheels toeing out unevenly. No idea why anyone would set a 911 to toe out but we’ll cover this issue of geometry in a future issue of Ferdinand, as it’s super fascinating if you’re into fast road or track driving.
Underneath a 996 GT3 RS learning about what’s adjustable and why you would adjust it is a pretty cool place to be. No doubt they’ve got their issues, but I remain convinced that standard 996s will assume classic status one day. For the GT3 RS, those days are already here. They just look better and better!