Lee Sibley By Lee Sibley 1 month ago

Should you buy a Porsche 991.1 GT3?

Early engine issues shouldn’t put you off the brilliant 991.1 GT3, says Greig Daly of RPM Technik

Wide-bodied and PDK-only, the 991.1 felt like a step-change for the GT3. It was also the first GT3 without the famed Mezger engine, introducing a new 3.8-litre flat six with direct fuel injection. This proved to be the car’s Achilles’ heel, with a few much-publicised fires leading Porsche to replace hundreds of engines.

The issue has made some enthusiasts wary of the 991.1 GT3. However, as Greig Daly of RPM Technik explains, you can now buy this special 911 with confidence. Here’s what you need to know.

So, why do I want one?
Sold new between 2013 and 2015, the 991.1 GT3 offers performance to shame many supercars. Its exotic engine boasts forged pistons, titanium conrods and VarioCam variable valve timing, revving to a heady 9,000rpm. Peak power is 475hp at 8,250rpm: good for 0-62mph in 3.5 seconds.  

“They’re just epic: easy to drive on the road and brilliant on a track,” reckons Greig. “The way they rip from 8,000rpm to the redline still feels special. I really rate them.” Unlike the 2017-2019 991.2 GT3, you can’t have a manual gearbox, but the seven-speed PDK is robust and whipcrack-fast – a fitting foil for the car’s taut, balletic chassis.

What exactly was the engine problem?
“The issue centred on the engine’s connecting rod bolts,” Greig explains. “These could break, puncturing the cylinder block and leaking oil onto the hot exhaust. That’s how fires started.” After a handful of 991.1 GT3s went up in flames, Porsche issued a ‘stop driving’ notice to owners and recalled their cars.

How did Porsche respond?
All 785 cars produced in 2013-2014 had their engines replaced. Then, after a further problem was discovered with rocker arms in the valvetrain – leading to 12 cars being recalled for a second new motor – Porsche introduced an unprecedented 10-year/120,000-mile engine warranty. 

The cover applies worldwide and is transferable between owners. This swift response has kept 991.1 GT3 values strong and helped maintain the reputation of the GT brand. 

There were three versions of the MA1/75 engine. The earliest was E-spec, then F-spec added various modifications, including a revised cylinder head. The final G-spec motor has an uprated oil pump and new coating on the camshafts. Check the car’s service history or the sticker under the engine lid to discover which engine is fitted. Alternatively, RPM Technik can source the info using the chassis number.

What does that mean for 991.3 GT3 buyers today?
The earliest examples of the 991.1 GT3 only have a couple of years of this extended engine warranty remaining. So, what next? According to Greig, it’s rarely an issue: “We reckon around 80 percent of GT3 owners took out Porsche’s extended manufacturer warranty, which stretches to 15 years or 125,000 miles”. Under this scheme, unless it has an exceptionally high mileage, even the oldest 991.1 GT3 will be covered until 2028.

Without the 15-year cover, you have two options. If your chosen car is original and has full Porsche service history, you can pay £250 for a dealer inspection, then reactivate the warranty for £1,100 a year (or £2,750 for three years). Alternatively, specialists such as RPM Technik can help. “We haven’t seen a 991.1 GT3 outside the engine warranty yet,” says Greig, “but I expect we’ll develop a kit to solve any weaknesses that appear – as we did with IMS bearings for the 996.”

Are there any other issues to be aware of?
Now the engine issues are sorted, a 991.1 GT3 should be as reliable as any Porsche 911. “Transmissions and interiors both stand up well to wear,” explains Greig, “but check suspension components such as the bushes and top mounts. They tend to get a workout.

“We’ve also seen a couple of cars with excess play in the rear-wheel steering motors. In general, though, GT3s are owned by enthusiasts and have been cherished.” 

How much should I pay?
Like many GT Porsches, the 991.1 GT3 simply hasn’t depreciated. It cost £100,540 when new in 2013 and is worth the same today. “Prices range from £95,000 up to £120,000,” says Greig. The 991.1 GT3 RS (500hp, more aero, more attitude), commands a premium of around £40,000. 

Final word, then: should you buy a 991.1 GT3? Yes – if you can, you probably should. 

Search for your dream Porsche on the 9WERKS Classifieds, with over 50 cars supplied only by the UK's most reputable dealers.

Written by Tim Pitt