The Porsche 991 GT3-R is one of the more formidable GT3 cars in ACC, but it’s also one of the more notoriously difficult to drive if you aren’t used to it. The Porsche can reward its driver with great braking, fantastic agility, and torque for great acceleration; however, it severely punishes the driver that isn’t smooth and attempts to force the Porsche to do things that it doesn’t want to do.
If you are new to ACC, the Porsche isn’t the car to cut your teeth on, but for experienced to advanced drivers it is a strong option. Although, with the 2020 BoP, it is a little more balanced. You have to pay attention to everything in the Porsche because everything happens quickly since the margin of error is very slim. For this reason, you will be working much more at keeping the car on the tarmac and pointed in the right direction than some of the other cars in ACC, but when you learn the car and what adjustments make it more drivable, it’s one of the most rewarding cars to drive and when you are able to take your first podium with it.
The Balancing Act
The engine and transmission layout of this car is the reason why it has such great traction off the line and out of corners, as the weight is placed aft of the drive wheels. This can be a blessing or a curse depending on how you manage your inputs with this car. The fuel cell is placed in the front of the car under the bonnet and aft of the front wheels.
This isn’t normally a problem for the street-faring version of the 991 since the car as a whole is very balanced, but in race guise where it’s being driven at the limit, the fuel cell is a component that varies in weight as the fuel level changes throughout a race. This alters the handling characteristics of the car quite a lot depending on the fuel load. This is because as the fuel burns off during a stint, the weight over the front wheels decreases as the front end raises, affecting not only the front end grip but also pushing the weight distribution of the car rearwards.
When driving the 991, you have to keep in mind that it handles completely differently than any other car in ACC. It’s not a car that you can just throw into a corner and expect to power your way through. The weight in the rear of the car makes it behave like a pendulum, and if too many corrections are made during a corner, you’ll have that mass in the rear dictating where the car will go. This trait is amplified if you are too liberal with the application of the throttle by generating large amounts of wheelspin and traction loss.
The Porsche is very eager to turn into corners which makes it a very fun car to drive on technical tracks because the car is so nimble and quick out on the exit, which again requires careful negotiation to prevent a spin as the large amounts of torque that’s available in the lower revs can easily get you into trouble if you aren’t careful.
Despite the challenges it can bring, if you can handle the car, the pace you can get out of the car is an avid reward.
Make Sure You Are Set-Up
Of all the cars in ACC, this one requires a custom setup to truly make it manageable for the majority of drivers and even more crucial if you want to be competitive in it. The default setups aren’t terrible, but if you aren’t versed in vehicle dynamics it can be difficult to know what adjustment will improve the handling of the car. However, if you really want to get the most out of the Porsche without too much work, Coach Dave Academy offers some brilliant setups to take you straight to the track.
If you decide to tackle car setup on your own it’s a great idea to start with the aggressive preset and do some laps to get to know how the car behaves and what it needs and wants before you dive into making adjustments.
The Porsche has a good amount of mechanical grip, which is a good thing and part of the reason why it’s so good at low-speed cornering where downforce plays less of a role.
Like most cars in ACC, the correct tire pressure can have the single largest impact on how the car behaves at any track, and you must always be mindful of the track temperatures before you set out in the Porsche. Special attention must be paid to the rear tires – if the pressures are out of the optimum window you experience highly unstable handling.
Traction control is another important tuning element that needs to be paid attention to before you leave the pits so that you don’t spin on the first corner that you encounter. When you have a baseline traction control setting that you are comfortable with, it will be easier to make small adjustments as needed during your stints.
The Porsche boasts two separate traction control settings: TC1 and TC2. TC1 is the “cut” phase and TC2 is the “slip”. It is important to understand how your driving style works with both settings and it will require some practice to understand which settings are needed for both. There are 8 settings, with the higher the number providing more interference, the lower the number providing less. Generally, it is good to keep both settings near each other so they provide predictable slip angles with the car before the car cuts power.
Traction control will play a critical role in how you can attack apexes in corners especially when you begin to apply throttle in on the exit phase when the throttle is applied. This will also help preserve your tires by reducing wheelspin and oversteer. The Porsche can be very hard on tires if driven too aggressively so be mindful of how enthusiastic you are with your right foot. It is important to understand the relationship between TC1 and TC2 with the car.
The most critical aspect of the Porsche that needs to be explored, however, is the reliance on pitch control and how it needs to be managed. The car has a very short wheelbase and runs a much less effective diffuser than other cars. This means it has more reliance on its rear wing and therefore the rake plays a key factor in how you set the car up.
Due to the Porsche’s engine placement hanging over the back wheels, this pendulum effect that was mentioned earlier can make the car extremely snappy under heavy braking if the pitch of the car is not successfully managed, this is especially true if your setup has low wing and so there is less downforce pushing the rear of the car into the tarmac.
This is where your wheel rates and bump stops come in. There are generally two aspects you can approach with the Porsche. If you wish to run more rake, it is critical that you do not let the car pitch and unload the rear tyres too quickly. By stiffening the front spring rates you can reduce this effect, you can also reduce the front bump stop range to limit pitching under braking if you want to keep a softer wheel rate.
Because there is so much weight over the rear wheels, the car does like to squat a lot if unchecked. This can lead to amplifying understeer on power, so keeping to a stiffer wheel rate at the rear will help keep the car flatter. This squatting effect can still be taken advantage of at high speed on the straights by keeping the rear bump stops high. This helps to combat the big weakness of the car which is its top speed which is much weaker compared to the competition, in part due to the large drag of that rear wing.
Pitch control can also be tweaked through your front slow bump damping once you get the dampers in a good window and want to fine-tune the balance precisely. Your rear bump damping can be fine-tuned for traction benefits if you find the car is starting to trigger the TC too much on exits or it is squatting too much on power.
The Porsche is definitely one of the more difficult cars to drive effectively in ACC but with practice and the use of some of the tips identified here, you’ll have tamed the beast and will be ready to unleash its fury on your opponents. It will take time but if you want to get off on the right foot with this car, the staff at Coach Dave Academy will be more than happy to coach you through the finer points of mastering the Porsche 991 GT3-R