Is Porsche the “Benchmark” for all Other Super-Cars?

Last week we had posted an article regarding a road test of the new Nissan GT-R, its performance and the fact that they tested it against a Porsche 997 Twin Turbo. Since then, there has been an interesting thread on Rennlist debating a video of Nissan GT-R vs. a Porsche 997 Twin Turbo. At the heart of the debate is the question "was the video real or was it staged to make the Nissan look like the better car"? You can see the video below and judge for yourself. The narration is in Japanese, but you can easily tell that the Porsche 997 is struggling to make its way around the track. In my opinion this is definitely a staged event as these are "professional" drivers. Even as a total racing neophite, I can see that the lines chosen by the 997 driver are all wrong and that as a result the cars do not seem to be evenly matched.

While the opinion of most on Rennlist is bound to be Porsche biased, most members offer insightful and technical details to back-up their claims and opinions that the race was "fixed". There is even an informal poll asking readers/video viewers their opinion on the results of the race, specifically, "Was the GT-R quicker?". At the time of preparing this post, 73 people had voted with over 50% of the opinion that the "whole race was a joke - it was obivous the Porsche was treated really bad to make it look slow". Surprising to me was the fact that 13 people (almost 18%) voted "Yes, it was quicker - the GT-R is a quicker car" (and this is on a decidely Porsche friendly site, maybe the most Porsche friendly site on the web).

If you are interested you can read through the entire thread and view the results of the poll on Rennlist. I'll put a link to it below. It is filled with a combination of strong opinions and very technical racing details regarding choosing the right line, tire selection on both cars, true horsepower calculations, etc.

What I find interesting and the reason for this post is that more and more it seems that Porsche is the brand and the standard that all others compare themselves. Is it because Porsche cars are such an accessible and user friendly "super-car"? Is it the 60+ years of racing heritage and experience? Is it the timeless design, functionality and pure driveablitity that has kept the 911 an icon for the ages? I think it's a combination of all this and more. Every time I see another "super-car" compare itself to a Porsche it simply reinforces my choice of Porsche as the superior brand.

Do you agree with our thoughts on Porsche as the benchmark? Yes or no, please let us know.

Here's the link to the Rennlist discussion mentioned above.

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11 Comments

  1. says

    RHM,

    Well, according to Wikipedia:

    Supercar is a term generally used for a high-end sports car, whose performance is highly superior to that of its contemporaries. It has been defined specifically as “a very expensive fast or powerful car with a centrally located engine”[1], and stated in more general terms: “it must be very fast, with sporting handling to match,” “it should be sleek and eye-catching” and its price should be “one in a rarified atmosphere of its own.”[2] but the proper application of the term is subjective and disputed, especially among enthusiasts.

    As the above definition says, it’s pretty subjective. However, certain Porsche models, especially of the Turbo and Twin Turbo variety are generally described as “supercars”. What’s interesting about Porsche and makes them so great is their infinite driveability and relative ease of maintenance (compared to say a Ferrari or a Lambo) that they can truly be used as daily drivers. Something much more difficult to do with other “supercars”.

  2. R33 says

    I WILL TRY TO HELP HERE.
    They are not putting demmerits on the 911 turbo.
    They are saying already on the start of the video the tires on the 911 are well used and even so,with the old tires in ,it put a very good time at the track.
    Because of the used tires the lines the pilot tucked was so unusual,with the grip level decreasing the car start to understeer on the in turns and oversteer on the outurns.
    Even so as you can see in the middle straight bove cars are very simmillar.
    What tsuchiya said it the gtr was in comparison with the 911 price,a very good bargain and in the all video he prized the 911 turbo as a benchmark for affordable super performance.
    Dont try to get too protective with a beloved trendmark though .it only made the brand become lazy.
    Thanks nissan for put a new benchmark for super cars,this will certainly made the next generation 911 a much better ¨and maybe affordable¨car with will make afficionados like you and me much more happy.

  3. says

    Thanks for the comments and translation, it does help.

    The only thing that doesn’t hold up is the comment on “comparison with the 911 price”. The recent news that I’ve seen is that the GT-R is going to be priced as high, if not higher than the 911.

    However, I do agree that competition, any competition is good to help improve the quality of any car/manufacturer.

  4. adg says

    I know a couple car magazines were a sham when they compared the 997 Turbo with the GT-R because it was later revealed that they put a Nissan driver behind the wheels of both cars who didn’t know how to properly drive a rear-engined car and openly admitted to being afraid of losing control of the 911.

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