GMG Racing Will Build a Porsche Just for You
- Global Motorsports Group has been tuning race cars for over 20 years, some that have won championships and others that are just fun to drive on the street. This 992 911 GT3 is made for both.
- The company’s specialty is suspension work, but it also does exhaust and aero.
- The blue car you see here costs $206,100, including the vehicle price and all its GMG performance upgrades.
Remember that scene in Cars where Lightning McQueen goes to Luigi’s Casa della Tires and says he wants a new set of tires and he knows what he wants? Luigi says, “No, no, no, no, you do not know what you want, Luigi know what you want!” Think of Global Motorsports Group as your own personal Luigi. You go to GMG and think you know what you want, and maybe you do, but maybe you don’t. Maybe you say you want the stiffest, fastest, most brutal setup imaginable for your 911, because you want to go fast, man! GMG could certainly give you that, but their approach is a little different.
“My background is more in psychology,” said Allen Ward, longtime general manager of GMG. “So as I interview people, before they even spend one dollar with us, I ask, ‘What are your goals? What are you trying to achieve?’ Because we don’t need to set up your car for racing if you just want to take it out on a track day once or twice.”
It’s not like a job interview, but more of career planning assesment to establish goals.
Usually it goes like this: GMG arranges to meet the client at The Thermal Club, a splendid motorsports facility out past Palm Springs, where GMG has a shop. Ward rides with the client for several laps to gauge the client’s driving style and abilities. Of course, some drivers are not as fast as they think they are—who among us is? Regardless of your starting point, GMG has proprietary parts, as well as an intimate understanding of Porsche 911s and a few other cars, so that whatever they do to your setup, you will almost certainly go faster and most likely be more comfortable while doing it.
To prove this point, GMG let me drive their new in-house project car, a beautiful blue 992 911 GT3. Instead of Thermal, where I probably should have driven it, I drove it instead on my favorite twisty mountain road. The setup for this particular car was midpoint between street and track, so it could demonstrate the best of both possibilities.
“It’s really a hybrid. It’s kind of really showing what we do,” Ward said. “It’s taking a street car and the guy that wants to take it out on the track and be safe, we put a roll bar and six-point harnesses in it, we set up the suspension, we upgrade the brakes, we do the exhaust as well. There’s different options. It’s, ‘How far do you want to go?’”
There are certain things that they like to do to all their cars.
“If you’re a guy that just tracks the car a couple times a year, then we’ll just do kind of a suspension setup, lower the car, give it a little more aggressive alignment, and you’d like to always go with the roll bar and harnesses because you’re safe, you can actually drive better that way, because you’re not holding on to the steering wheel when you’re going around the corner trying to stop yourself from slamming into the door panel or the center console. So that’s probably the bare minimum.”
And this particular blue 992 911 GT3?
“This car is set up probably the most aggressive. So when we go to the track with this car we have… it comes with 20 inch (tires) on the front 21 on the back, for the track we put Pirelli slicks on it on Forgeline Motorsport wheels. When you set up a car with slicks it needs to be way more aggressive because of the grip that the slick is giving you. So you need a lot more camber.”
Since I would be driving it on the street, they put Goodyear F1s on it, 265/35-20 front and 315/30-21s rear. But the setup was still the more aggressive slicks setup, which came with its own set of characteristics.
“This car, when you drive it on the freeway, is very darty, it wants to follow the grooves in the road. That’s the only downside to driving it on the street. But otherwise, the tire wear is really the same.”
As to the specific suspension setup I had, Ward explained what they’d done.
“This has suspension pieces we just developed and we’re testing on this car,” he said. “We have front thrust arms, which have spherical bearings. No Porsche comes with caster adjustment, so we have to make the caster adjustable because when you give it more camber the caster automatically goes positive. And when the caster is too positive, the car turns too quickly. And the rear of the car is going to want to slide out on you. So we made it so that the caster is adjustable and we replace that whole arm with a T-6061 aluminum thrust arm that is fine-tune-adjustable and we can back that caster down to about eight and a half degrees. And then for the rear of the car we replace the upper and lower suspension with the same thing, a solid aluminum billet suspension piece with spherical bearings, and there’s absolutely no give on the car now, so you can really, really feel the road and it’s very, very quick.”
And with that we took off up into the mountains. Right away the car felt surprisingly comfortable. I’ve driven a few cars that were supposed to be set up for “performance” and they are usually way too brutal for normal street use. This one still allowed suspension movement, particularly up and down. Often the chassis tuner will just put on the stiffest shocks and springs they can find in a catalog and let the body of the car absorb the rest. This setup had the springs and shocks doing the work and the body remained its normal, stiff-enough self.
Then we went around a corner. No roll, no push, no wallowing front end. The steering, which had not been changed that I’d heard, was remarkably light and precise. As the car tracked through turn after turn, I got more and more aggressive, and with each step up the car responded as before, it held on nicely and never got upset.
“Now driving a Porsche, you drive differently than any other car on the track because all the weight’s in the back of the car,” Ward said. “But with our setup, it really kind of evens the playing field and sets it up to get rid of that, that front end push or slide that you would typically experience if you just took it off the showroom and went right on the track with it.”
Indeed, the only thing limiting me from going faster was the presence of my passenger, the guy who basically owned the car, or at least worked for the company that owned the car. If you’ve ever driven fast with a passenger next to you, you find yourself looking out the corner of your right eyeball to note things like: deathgrip on the OS bar, palms flattened against the door panel, ever-so-slight whimpering… Ward never got to that level, but I was nonetheless over-careful from behind the wheel. I know the car could go much faster than I was pushing it. Maybe I’ll have to buy my own and really go to town.
Well, maybe not, since the Global Motorsports Group 992 GT3 starting price is $206,100, including the vehicle price and all GMG performance upgrades. Maybe I’ll get something more in my price range, like a Hyundai Elantra N. But you, you have the dough. So get one of these, then send me a postcard and tell me how it was, will ya?
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