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GT3 suspension in a 997 Turbo: 10 Mods for better handling!

Killer-M | On 17, May 2014

GT3 suspension in a 997 Turbo: 10 Mods for better handling!

10 MUST DO suspension modifications for the Porsche 997 Turbo that will have a dramatic benefit on handling and bring the all wheel drive super-car as close to as possible to a GT3 track monster.

It’s no exaggeration the that 997 Turbo is insanely fast, actually it’s one of the fastest production cars on the planet, even in 7 years after its début. The Mezger engine, which is identical to the 1996 twin turbo charged, Porsche GT1  engine which ran the Le Mans 24 hr race,  is practically bullet proof. Oh and it’s one that can easily handle upwards of 800 hp and with a few more modifications (fuel injectors, etc.) run into the 1200 hp bracket.

Well all this is great – yes, sure, it’s fast, reliable, can be thrashed non stop around the track, night and day, back to back, and comfortably get you home the following morning with a stop over at the local Starbucks for a medium blend – hold the sugar and the cream coffee! I call it functional coffee – hold the thrills.

The problem with this is that, bone stock the car handles like a couch. Well relatively. Let me explain…
Compared to GT cars – it’s great, dont get me wrong. Actually it’s better than great. Throw an Aston or a M3 in the mix or even the beloved Nissan GTR, and it will easily outperform (or in the GTR’s case – hold it’s own) on a track. But to be honest, after a while one does desire more from a car like this. It’s got to be razor sharp, crisp, predictable. When thrown in with the real wolves of the track it lacks quite a bit. Get out of a GT3 or a GT2 after a few laps and climb into the 997 Turbo and you’ll know what I mean when I refer to a “couch”.

So here’s the secret sauce, the remedy to get the Porsche 997 Turbo as close to as possible to the type of engagement/handling you would expect from a GT2 or a GT3

I’ll take you through my process and order of  instalment and provide a list of all part numbers and vendors at the bottom of this write-up.

 

porsche-997-turbo-suspension

Above Photo: Porsche 997 Turbo (2007), TechArt Aero, Champion RG5 wheels, Michelin PSS, TechArt Exhaust, TechArt Exhaust tips
Michelin Pilot Super Sport (Front, 245/30/20)
Michelin Pilot Super Sport (Rear, 325/25/20)

 

1. Coilovers: Bilstain B16 Damptronics (with PASM)

The first components that I upgraded was replacing the stock coilovers.
I had used Bilstein coilovers before in my previous Porsche and had zero issues with them – actually I was very happy with this manufacturer. After substantial amount of research and many positive recommendations (around year 2010) I decided to make the purchase and go with the brand I know. The years after I have had both front struts fail on me, and both times it was an electrical problem. The first failure actually shorted out the PASM unit which had to be replaced (another 700 charge), on top of the shipping and duty fees.

Now Bilstein offers a life time warranty with their products and honoured both failures, replacing the shocks. However the pain and expenses of shipping, service and diagnostic (my mech. shop) charges simply wouldn’t be worth recommending this set up. Performance wise, they are great, have a dramatic improvement over stock, and actually I’m still running the system. However if I had to recommend coilovers or if I had to do it again, my first stop would be the Bilstain B6 (no PASM) and then as a second option I would look at the slightly more expensive (Motons or KW units).

The change from stock to Bilsteins B16 coilover suspension, if one had to quantify the behaviour and feel would bring the car from a 4/10 (normal setting) and 6/10 (Sport setting) to 5 and 7 respectfully.
I would definitely recommend replacing the coilovers first.

Bilstein B16 Porsche 997 Turbo Coilover kit

porsche-997-turbo-lowered-suspension

 

…and please don’t go the route of just using lowering springs. If you’re looking to increase handling, spend the little extra and go with a full coilover unit. Lowering springs generally push the stock shock to it’s limit which results in excessive wear and a decrease in over all responsiveness.

dont use lowering springs

2. RSS Sway Bars and Drop Links:

Another must add component. The RSS sway bars are around 50% firmer that the stock say bars (anti-roll bars). There’s quite a lot of noise online (excuse the pun) about road noise of the solid drop links, and binding that can occur from the hard polymer bushings (which replace the stock rubber ones). When it comes to road noise, there’s no difference – at least I haven’t noticed any, and binding – well it’s been 4 years and no issues either. So I wouldn’t pay much attention to those statements.

Settings:
Sway bar settings:
– Front: set to soft setting
– Rear: set to medium setting

RSS Sway Bars from SharkWerks

RSS Sway Bar Drop Links from SharkWerks

 

3. RSS Solid Engine Mounts:

I had the RSS Solid engine mounts installed at the same time I installed the Sway bars, so can’t comment on which modification effected the car in different ways. What I can say is that after both were installed, the change in dynamics was extra ordinary. Turn in was substantially more crisp, with an incredible reduction in understeer – these All Wheel Drive monsters are notorious for understeer. The engine mounts obviously had a large role to play in increased responsiveness in acceleration and breaking and even in sudden cornering. It was just amazing the difference these made. All the sponge like behaviour, the type of feel like you are dragging a weight on a string was removed. All the symptoms of, and this is the best way I can describe it, the engine’s momentum fighting against your steering, and acceleration or deceleration was removed. The car was whole, felt more solid, you place it and it reacts.

More on these RSS Solid Engine Mounts here.

At the same time I initiated the following alignment settings.

Alignment:
Front: Camber -1.2, Caster 7.5, Toe 0.04
Rear: Camber -1.6, Toe 0.16

RSS-engine-mount-porsche-997-turbo-2

RSS-engine-mount-porsche-997-turbo

 

Stage 2

 

Waiting to be installed:

tarett-camber-plates-front-rear-porsche-997-turbo

 

The following parts are currently on order and should arrive soon 🙂

Update… for full parts suspension parts list and images, check them out here.

RSS-complete-Stage-2-suspension-porsche-997-turbo-2007

RSS-Complete-Porsche-997-turbo-suspension-components

 

 

TL;DR

997 Turbo Stage 0.1 (Performance):
1x RSS Engine Mounts for Porsche 996 & 997 (RSS-624)
1x RSS Anti-Roll / Sway Bar Kit (RSS-324)
1x Bilstein B16 DampTronic Coilovers (or equivalent)

997 Turbo Stage 1 (Track):
1x RSS 996 & 997 Adjustable Rear Link Kit (RSS-312)
1x RSS Toe Link Locking Plate Kit (RSS-333)
1x RSS 996 & 997 Adjustable Toe Steer Kit (RSS-307)
+ plastic dust boots

997 Turbo Stage 2 (Race):
1x Tarret Front Monoball Camber Plate (996C4FSMT)
1x Rear Monoball Shock Mount (996RSMT)
2x RSS Tarmac Series Lower Control Arm Kit (RSS-356)
1x RSS Adjustable Front Toe/Bump Steer Kit (RSS-370)

 

Vendors:

Tarett Engineering Competition Suspension Components

RSS, Performance Components for Porsche Automobiles (RSS Site)

RSS Canadian Vendor, Sports Car Boutique (Toronto, Canada)

 

Other vendors and tuners:

SharkWerks

 

Comments

  1. Tol

    Your advice would be appreciated.

    Which of the following two vehicles would you choose for the purpose of A) enjoying track days, B) owning a vehicle the value of which is appreciating, or at least not depreciating, C) can be enjoyably utilized as an occasional driver?
    1) 997.2 Turbo S (with modifications you advocate). Decent used examples: ~$100k+ (MSRP $161k)
    2) 997.2 GT3 ~$120k+ (MSRP $116k)
    Thanks for your opinion

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