Porsche's 911 GT3 merges iconic eye-catching style with racetrack cred

Porsche's 911 GT3 merges iconic eye-catching style with racetrack cred

The face of the 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 looks like mine today, after I got a ticket on the way to work: It’s a look that can shoot daggers.

The rest of the car follows suit, which explains why it attracted the attention of the New York Police Department in the first place. Ovoid bi-Xenon headlights frame the black grille like floodlights. A carbon-fiber splitter flanks the front like a shield. Fighter-jet-worthy air intakes over the rear engine, and a carbon wing cut like a blade, demand that other vehicles “Move. Now.

A combination of legit Porsche racing power and street-level function, the GT3's steel-rod-stiff suspension sits as close to the ground as fog; credit its birth at Porsche Racing, which bestowed upon arrival the adjustable camber, ride height, and sway bar settings that keep it clamped to the road.

The car is so secure under high speed, so clocked into every input from every finger, that it’s tempting to try to take it up the side of a wall and drive sideways. Driving it feels like you probably could.

So, yeah, the car catches some rather unnecessary attention. Especially when you have engaged the button on the center console that reads “Engine Note Enhance.”

But it’s all worth it. I still want to drive this sucker down to the last thread and then blow it away like the white puff of a dead dandelion.

Porsche tried to get the car back from me a few times last week on account of a snow-forecast and summer-tire combination, which is never great, but I wrangled it back. You can pry this one from my cold dead heads (or when I hand it back next Tuesday, according to schedule).

I don’t mean to be rude. It’s just that the all-new 911 GT3, which we haven’t seen for three years, is the unicorn in the Porsche lineup: It’s the only one in the group that is naturally aspirated, rather than turbo-ized; has a manual transmission option at no additional cost; and, oh yeah, has real room in the back for a passenger.

Even though the GT3 follows the same general roofline of its 911 namesake, it fits in a very specific place in the Porsche family. At US$143,600, it’s got more punch than the US$102,100 Porsche 911 Carrera T - a sleek, sophisticated, daily driver - but it’s not as ravenous as the US$187,500 911 GT3 RS, the boy-racer, track-hungry, reptilian culmination of the GT3 line.

It’s a thinking man’s car - even more so if you buy the grand touring package on top, but that’s a review for another day.

This year’s version contains a six-cylinder engine significantly updated from the one found previously in the GT3 RS and has the same six-speed manual transmission as the super-rare 911 R. (That one started life costing US$185,950 but goes for nearly half-a-million in the open market - if you can find one.)

What’s more, the GT3 gets 500 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque – significantly more than the previous generation and equal to last year’s GT3 RS and 911 R. Top speed is 198 miles per hour on the manual version; zero to 60mph is 3.2 seconds under PDK paddles.

These specs are extraordinary. They also demand: “If you don’t care about extreme rarity, and you want to drive your 911 on more than a track, why wouldn’t you buy the GT3 over those two other, much more expensive cars that have also have longer wait times to get them?”

I don’t have an answer to that. To buy a 911 GT3 is to access the most legit aspects of Porsche sport driving at a significant discount from the norm.

Inside, it’s structured the same as every other modern 911. But unlike in the GT3 RS, there is no roll-bar here.

There aren’t “seats,” per se, in the back, either. Rather, Porsche has removed the alcantara rear seating and all its accoutrements in order to lighten the car.

It weighs a lithe 3,116 pounds - less than, say, the standard 911 Carrera line, among others. The weight also helps maximize the 20-percent increase in downforce over the previous generation GT3.

In place of the missing seats are two seat-shaped cutout ledges and a table-like expanse behind them. The area could probably house a dinner chair, if you pushed it.

As for me, I put a tall-ish photographer friend back there, in addition to Very Tall me and my Also Tall, bearded boyfriend commanding the cockpit. We were settled enough, with enough space to swim, happy as clams, through Porsche’s refreshingly minimal cabin.

Changing the A/C or adjusting the volume on the stereo uses real-life buttons, not glitch-laden touchscreens, and the Bluetooth and Navigation are some of the most intuitive I’ve seen in any car.

There are just enough nods to the needs of modern reality – USBs and a cup holder or two – to make the GT3 feel far more comfortable and fun to inhabit than cars that can cost twice as much.

So, yes, we were happy. After all, we had commandeered a mythical beast of a car. At that point, not even a stop by New York’s Finest could have gotten us down.

 

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21 Jul, 2018 08:11 am

 Cartier Santos: the original pilot's watch, reimagined

Cartier Santos: the original pilot's watch, reimagined

Very few watches can claim true originality, and the Cartier Santos is among those few.

The Santos made its debut way back in 1904 as a personal timepiece for aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont, making it both the first pilot’s watch and one of the earliest known men’s wristwatches.

The story

As we've previously detailed, the Santos was borne from a request by Brazilian flyer Santos-Dumont, who told his friend Louis Cartier – then a Parisian watchmaker – of the challenge of timing flights using the then-conventional pocket watch, as pilots needed to keep both hands on the aircraft controls.

In response, Cartier designed a large square-faced watch and fitted it to a strap so it could be worn on the wrist – quite a revolutionary concept at the time.

The first commercial Cartier Santos watches went on sale to the public in 1911 with solid gold cases and ultra-thin mechanical movements designed by French clockmaker Edmond Jaeger.

(In order to produce this movement for Cartier, Jaeger worked with Swiss movement manufacturer Jacques-David LeCoultre, a partnership that would lead to the birth of storied brand Jaeger-LeCoultre.)

The enduring design of the Cartier Santos was reimagined in the late 1970s as a luxury steel sports watch, later adding two-tone steel and gold and the now-iconic screwed bezel with exposed gold screws along the bracelet for a modern, industrial aesthetic.

The style

For 2018, Cartier has once again re-invented the Santos.

The distinctive screw-set bezel now tapers at both ends towards the bracelet to create an organic, integrated look.

The satin-brushed case features a wide mirror-polished bevel along its length, extending all the way to the gracefully curved crown guards at 3 o’clock. A square watch the Santos may be, but there’s hardly a sharp edge or straight line to be found.

The case has been slimmed dramatically from previous incarnations of the Santos, allowing this watch to disappear easily under a shirt cuff when needed.

The bracelet is fitted with a new 'QuickSwitch' system allowing for easy swapping with the included tan calfskin strap or Cartier’s alternative crocodile straps, providing some style versatility.

Adding or removing bracelet links has also been made easier with a new 'SmartLink' design which allows the wearer to expand the bracelet during a hot summer’s day without requiring a tool.

While the bezel, case and bracelet have all been modernised, the dial remains classic Cartier. With Roman numerals, a railroad minute-track and heat-blued hands, it’s hard to imagine a more traditional look.

The 2018 Cartier Santos can serve dress-watch and sports-watch duties equally well, and boasts a history that few timepieces can match.

The details

• In-house mechanical movement with automatic winding
• Seven-sided crown set with a faceted synthetic spinel
• Silvered opaline dial, blued-steel sword-shaped hands, sapphire crystal
• Water-resistant to 10 bar (approximately 100 metres)
• Medium version case width: 35.1 mm, thickness: 8.83 mm
• Large version case width: 39.8 mm, thickness: 9.08 mm
• Pricing from A$8,750 for the Cartier Santos Medium in steel, to A$52,500 for the Cartier Santos Large in solid pink gold with matching pink gold bracelet. For stockists, visit www.au.cartier.com.

Jason Swire

Jason Swire (Jason Swire)

[email protected] /

Jason Swire is a Sydney-based writer, watch collector and author of 'Timely Advice', a beginner's guide to fine timepieces. His non-watch passions include hi-fi and whiskey, in that order.
 

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21 Jul, 2018 08:11 am

Feel the need for speed? Try McLaren's US$250,000 road-to-track racer

Feel the need for speed? Try McLaren's US$250,000 road-to-track racer

Formula 1 race team and supercar maker McLaren is aiming to win over wealthy drivers keen to prove themselves on the track with its latest model – the $250,000 circuit-ready 600LT.

Street-legal but capable of sprinting to 60 miles per hour in 2.9 seconds, the 600LT is a match for the company’s 675LT road and race model, which cost US$100,000 more and was built in limited numbers through 2016. That makes the new car an entry-level auto by the U.K. group’s rarefied standards.

But you'll want to shell out rather more to get the full track experience, with one upgrade adding light-weight carbon-fiber seats and interiors for about US$30,000.

Another US$5,300 buys a six-point safety harness, a wise purchase before putting a car that can reach speeds of 204mph through its paces.

“The price point is very different to any LT that we’ve done before,” McLaren Chief Financial Officer Paul Buddin said in an interview. “We hope to welcome new customers to the brand, more younger people as well.”

Track performance

The 570S, the baseline model in the McLaren Sport Series lineup that the 600LT joins, was designed equally for road and track use, whereas the new car leans “75-25” toward the race circuit, Buddin said. “The LT just takes everything a little bit harder, a little bit faster and more away from road use and into track performance,” he said.

Beyond it’s sheer pace, the 600LT comes with aesthetic and engineering appeal in the form of a unique top-exit exhaust system featuring twin pipes that protrude from below the back window.

Unveiled at last week's Goodwood Festival of Speed in England, the car also has what McLaren calls an “elongated silhouette” (though it’s just 74mm longer than the 570S) that’s led it to be badged as an LT or “Longtail.”

The name harks back to the F1 GTR, the racing variant of the auto with which McLaren made the leap from Formula 1 to street models in the early 1990s and which ranked as the world’s fastest road car at the time.

Woking, England-based McLaren, whose race team ranks second only to Ferrari in Formula 1 driver-championship wins, aims to build 4,300 cars this year, up from 3,340 in 2017 as it seeks to grow beyond its former niche status. The total should swell to 6,000 by 2025, helped by the introduction of 18 new models and variants, according to a statement Thursday.

All McLaren cars will be hybrids by that year, possibly barring the top-end Ultimate range, and the company will invest US$1.6 billion in the new models and a plant in Sheffield, northern England. A fully electric prototype is under development but there are no launch plans right now, Buddin said.

 

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21 Jul, 2018 08:11 am

Three simple ways to sharpen your game

Three simple ways to sharpen your game

How do you become a better golfer? As a golf coach, I hear many reasons why students feel now is the right time to get a lesson.

There’s the lifelong golfer who has survived without a single coaching session, but just can’t kick a bad habit. Or the spontaneous student who recalls their lesson a couple of years ago and reports they just haven’t hit it as well since. And of course the analytical golfer who has self-diagnosed their driver to be the issue.

Here are the three principle areas I focus on with my students which regularly result in improvements to their swing.

Rid yourself of bad habits

The main reason people fall into a slump is because bad habits, known in golf as ‘movement patterns’, creep in.

On the one hand we’re all lucky to be surrounded by so much information out there. And while it can be very tempting to try something we discover on TV, online or in a golf magazine, if not executed perfectly these new tricks become bad habits and those patterns take over.

It can be nearly impossible to change unless you have someone look at them. Next time you want to try something, it would be wise to run it by your nearest professional golf coach.

Balance your golfing life

Like with anything in life there has to be balance. You cannot expect to improve if you continually work on one type of golf club or one aspect of your golf game.

When I have a student in front of me who comes for that first lesson, I treat the lesson like an assessment, from which we map out the blueprint of their golfing future

I like to prescribe drills to be used in practice sessions, golf lessons every few weeks, as well as rounds of golf. If all of these are worked on in a balanced manner, every golfer will see dramatic improvements to their golf game.

Be kind to your body

If you are willing to get your golf practice in shape, I recommend you do the same for your body.

Regular stretching and general conditioning exercises should be an essential part of your routine. Not only will this make you feel physically better, your mind will be more open to learning and your body more receptive to changes to your swing.

So what are you waiting for? If you feel like your golf game needs work, or you want to finally identify your areas of focus, book in for a lesson with your golf professional  and map out your path to a better and sharper game.

Bobby Walia

Bobby Walia (Bobby Walia)

[email protected] /

With over 15 years of international playing and coaching experience, Sydney-based Bobby Walia has toured and coached around the world and loves the natural rugged beauty of Scottish and Irish links-style courses, which he describes as “a true test of golf – you play them in whatever weather conditions are thrown at you!”.
 

3 Comments

  • traveller99

    traveller99

    18 Jul, 2018 08:19 am

    Finding a good golf coach has really helped my game. And not just for lessons at the range. I've had a number of playing lessons with him where he comes out for 18 holes -- lots of the advice he gives there is about course management which is as important as hitting the ball well.

    No member give thanks

  • GBRGB

    GBRGB

    18 Jul, 2018 10:23 am

    Great advice, course management is key, I did the same thing and played my home course with the pro, left my driver in the bag most of the round and knocked 5 shots off my handicap since, eliminate the bad option.

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  • Milton Gan

    Milton

    20 Jul, 2018 02:31 pm

    Bobby's a fantastic coach and through my lessons with him he's helped me to focus on the fundamentals I need to work on and not get distracted by the thousands of youtube instructional videos I watch! Seeing him next week to focus on bunker play - can't wait!
    No member give thanks

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21 Jul, 2018 08:11 am

Review: Living with the Sonos One smart speaker

Review: Living with the Sonos One smart speaker

"Alexa, what's the weather in London this week?"

A few months ago I was packing for a flight to London, wondering whether to toss an overcoat into my carry-on bag or if the space could be better used by my trainers and activewear.

But instead of reaching for my smartphone, I asked the compact Sonos One smart speaker in my bedroom - something I find myself doing more and more each day.

The $299 Sonos One adds ’digital assistant’ smarts to the popular Sonos Play:1 speaker. You get the same superb sound – rich, rounded and warm, with app-based tuning to tailor the speaker’s output to the shape and acoustics of any room – partnered with Sonos’ effortlessly easy WiFi setup and a minimalist design in cool white or stark black that blends into any home or office decor.

What’s new to the mix is support for digital assistant software. It’s like having Apple’s Siri or the Google Assistant sitting in the speaker awaiting your command – except that the Sonos One works only with Amazon’s Alexa.

The company has added support for Apple's AirPlay 2 system so you can direct music from your Apple device to their entire range of current speakers. The Play One works with Apple’s AirPlay 2 so you can at least beam music from your iPhone or iPad, skip tracks or change the volume using voice control through your iPhone.

But, while you can use Siri on your iPhone, iPad or Mac to send some tunes to a Sonos speaker, you can't say "Hey Siri…" to your Sonos Speaker and expect a response. You can't ask Siri, through the Sonos One, to turn on the lights or control any other HomeKit accessories.

Sonos has no plans to add Siri support to its speakers at this stage, but expects they'll work with Google Assistant via a software update later this year.

Of course, Alexa can do far more than deliver than a weather forecast, give you a traffic report or even a live news or sports update through the Sonos One. I used it to play a podcast each night while I was cooking dinner and fire up a Spotify or Apple Music playlist to enjoy during the meal.

Where the combination of Sonos and Alexa really shines is in connecting and controlling a wide range of ’digital home’ accessories such as smart power plugs, lighting, video doorbells, security cameras and even digital door-locks. You don’t need to have an electrician rewire your pad: just add an Alexa-compatible device onto your WiFi network and let the Sonos One do the rest.

I’m especially enamoured with intelligent lighting systems like the popular Philips Hue and funky Nanoleaf Aurora which makes lighting into a decorative as well as functional feature.

After returning home each day I just say “Alexa, turn the lounge lights on 50% brightness and play my '80s playlist from Spotify in my bedroom". A few seconds later, the music plays from the Sonos One, the lights come up and I’m sliding into the relaxation zone.

If you’re not locked into the Apple ecosystem then the Sonos One is a top choice for delivering premium audio and providing your stepping stone to creating a smart home.

Anthony Caruana

Anthony Caruana (Anthony Caruana)

Technology expert Anthony Caruana spends almost as much travelling as he does at home, and on each trip balances his early-morning runs with a search for the best hamburger (Lori's Diner at San Francisco is his favourite to date).
 

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21 Jul, 2018 08:11 am

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