Seeing the last of the last of the truly analog GT3s thrown around the Fito Hillclimb is a thing of beauty. With the talented Iván Ares at the wheel and a camera recording his expertise in slick conditions, we’re given a masterclass in car control and another reason why mainstream rally ought to have more of this type around.
No four-wheel drive, no turbos to mute the exhaust note, and, most importantly, no econobox shapes. These aspects are a large part of what makes the relatively new R-GT class so satisfying; they offer drivers and fans a taste of old rally with glamorous cars making nice noises and sliding in spectacular fashion.
One of the R-GT’s most popular and most successful platforms, at least until Alpine got involved in 2018, was the 997 R-GT. Not much more than a Cup Car with more suspension travel and a hardened underbody, this car is surprisingly effective in challenging conditions such as these. The 2,600-pound Porsche sends 450 horsepower to its rear wheels alone, which makes it a handful when the driver must deal with constant direction changes and negligible grip.
A powerful, rear-drive 911 requires a deft touch when the road is so slick. Since it’s crucial to keep the car moving forward on the intended line, Ares must employ some circumspection when turning into hairpins or making quick direction changes; much understeer would sap lots of time in these slower corners—or smash a few expensive radiators. However, as long as the car’s central axis is following that line, all is well. In other words, it’s no problem if the rear is trying to overtake the fronts as long as the latter are pointing in the right direction.
When the throttle is applied, the rear’s breakaway is abrupt and inevitable. Nevertheless, Ares proceeds unfazed. Though some of the external footage might suggest the cabin is full of cocked elbows and aggressive inputs, it isn’t. Though a blur at times, Ares’ hands are as delicate as a watchmaker’s, and with supreme confidence in himself he gently bends this howling GT3 through a course which most would navigate half as quickly if it were bone-dry.