Time and progress are forces that catch up with everything and everyone, and even the greatest stars will eventually fade. In the motoring world there’s always something brighter and sharper around the corner, but on occasion it is worth paying due respects to what is about to be lost.
The Porsche 911 has been a constant example of this process, having evolved in numerous directions since the first generation appeared in 1963. With just a few weeks until the LA Auto Show and the first press drives of the all-new 991-model 911, it would be a shame to do so without pausing to reflect on the end of the current 997-model.
It was a fitting weekend to do so, as this Carrera White GTS example picked apart the challenging B-roads en route to Silverstone where the final round of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship was taking place. After 17 rounds of action the Championship wasn’t decided until the second of the day’s two races, with James Sutton clinched overall victory.
The Carrera Cup uses GT3 models with all the racing safety equipment you would expect, but very little else: the 911 is the classic example of the sports car that works on the track too. And on those challenging roads the distinctive throb of the engine, the upright dashboard with the steering wheel pointing right at you and the sensitivity of the controls brought home just how much progress has been made.
The 991-model will be faster, lighter, quieter, greener and no doubt a little more spacious too. It’s already proved to be quite a stunner judging by the reactions from the Frankfurt Motor Show. But it will always be more advanced than the 997 and therefore not quite as raw, and for many that is where progress isn’t necessarily desirable.