Ancient Mesoamerican cultures that thrived in the West before European exploration didn't share our linear view of time. They saw a more organic cycle with past, present and future all flowing through each other and intertwined in a fluid composite of existence. As I blast through blazing golden fields and vast mesas in three very different Porsches, my mind is sucked into a similar sort of vortex entwining German heritage, cutting-edge technology and visions of Stuttgart's future.
Sharkwerks Tuning out of California's Bay Area has arrived in this mystical place with three cars that together represent the timeless soul of Porsche. A GT3 RS is perhaps the best modern example, delivering a visceral driving experience close to a 1970s air-cooled road racer. A Cayman S transcends the future of Porsche sports cars and mid-engine prototypes of the past. And the most advanced car, a brand-new 997 Carrera S PDK, connects both these current cars with the high technology all Porsches will share in the near future.
The first key to hit my hand goes to the GT3 RS. It's rather appropriate to drive it first considering this car could only draw more attention if it was on fire. The bright Viper Green paint draws an instant emotional response from onlookers. If you've never lusted after a '73 Carrera RS in this very color you may as well turn in your enthusiast card now. The big bi-plane rear wing, overtly aggressive front bumper and RS graphics would look silly on any other car. On the GT3 RS, however, it all adds up to animalistic brilliance. The guys at Sharkwerks refer to this car as ZKermit, a friendly singing frog it is not. I think ZGodzilla may be more appropriate.
This car in stock form is a monster; the one we have here is a radioactive city-crusher. Not satisfied with mere bolt-on modifications, Sharkwerks decided to build a car that goes to eleven. In typical mad scientist form, they tore into an engine with only 2,000 miles on it in search of more power. Stuttgart engineers feel that 3.6 liters is plenty of displacement. Sharkwerks felt a car of this magnitude deserves a bump to 3.8. Developed in conjunction with partner Evolution Motorsports (EVOMS), the package includes pistons, cylinder liners and all other required hardware. The heads are reattached with legendary ARP hardware. A Sharkwerks exhaust completes the hard parts while a custom software flash controls the combustion process.
The engine roars with a deeper tone than you'd expect form a relatively small engine. The revs come fast and effortless and belie the crushing 12:1 compression ratio. Throttle blips result in a snap that radiates throughout the entire car like flashes of jolting energy. The clutch is heavy and reminiscent of sport clutches in air-cooled cars of the '80s, but uptake is smooth once you're is accustomed to the heft. The RS digs in off the line, the 305s in back throwing the car forward with ballistic ferocity. The 3.8 pulls well in the low end, but really opens up on the far side of the tach. There are no sudden jerks anywhere in the band and it just keeps building until 7000 rpm, where the power curve is nearly flat until the 8700-rpm redline. Power has been measured at 407 hp at the wheels compared to 375 for the factory car. It isn't a huge bump, but it's more power everywhere in the curve. This isn't like adding a more aggressive cam where you are pushing the power around. Torque has been gained everywhere.