It is winter, and Project GT3 sleeps soundly in my heated garage, quietly pining for spring. Such a shame, not to be able to drive it. Hearing the glorious sound of its motorsport-inspired 3.8-liter flat-six, feeling the continuous thrust blasting down the front straight, well into the triple digits, at my home track, or interpreting the miraculous chassis feedback through the grippy steering wheel and tight-fitting bucket seats in any given corner. What to do? Well, it’s best to do something other than daydream the hours away. So, like other European car enthusiasts stuck in the Snow Belt, I needed to conceive, plan and execute a new modification to keep me up close and personal with my four-wheeled pride and joy during this downtime.
Actually, it’s rather difficult to come up with a viable modification on a Porsche GT3 that is destined to pay dividends in both pure enjoyment and improved performance; it’s as perfect a sports car that can be had from the factory floor. However, after a trip to Slovenia last summer to visit Akrapovic, manufacturer of full titanium performance exhaust systems (“Titanium Revolution,” May ’11), my plan was simple. I would install a full titanium exhaust system on the GT3. With this addition I’d definitely be losing some weight, hopefully freeing up some power, and possibly improving the car’s handling, all in one giant leap.
I selected the Akrapovic Full Evolution system (headers, race cats, side and rear mufflers and tips). This setup works as precisely as the OEM system, utilizing the same three-muffler configuration; it allows exhaust flow through both the side mufflers and rear muffler, or just the rear alone when activated by the ECU or “Sport” button. Note that Akrapovic also offers three other GT3 system configurations to choose from.
At the factory I was able to see first-hand the quality, engineering and artistry that goes into each and every Akrapovic product, but for retail consumers their first impression forms when they begin opening the boxes. If you think the packaging is upscale, well wait until you see what’s inside. It is a sight to behold; displaying it in a gallery might seem more fitting than bolting it underneath your car. But we won’t be hanging these lightweight bits on a wall—let’s do the install, and see the benefits with some thorough dyno testing.
I began with some baseline dyno runs at my local shop: RCTS Canada R&D in Calgary, Alberta. They graciously volunteered their time and their 248C Dynojet for our power testing. All runs described in this article were done with the same climate-controlled dyno, the same operator, the same gear (Fourth), the same fuel (Shell 91), the same brand-new dyno-dedicated air-filter, the same rear brake setup (Stoptech Trophy STR, 355mm two-piece rotors), the same 19-inch wheel-and-tire setup (Forgeline ZX3-S centerlocks and Toyo R888s), the same air pressure in the rear tires (36 psi) and with “Sport” mode activated.
The installation is fairly straightforward and the supplied step-by-step instructions are excellent, but as usual you’ll need time, patience and good mechanical aptitude to accomplish the task (see the sidebar for a quick description). Akrapovic supplies ample sealant and thread anti-seize paste, but no new header gaskets came with the system. The original gaskets can be reused in a pinch, but I highly recommend using a new set. I ordered some in advance, at a great price, from SunCoast Porsche.
After the install was complete, the final fit and finish can be described as near perfect. I have a very minor issue with the rear muffler and heat shielding rubbing on the right side of the lower bumper shell edge, but this may be specific to my car since Akrapovic has had no other incidence log of such a problem. One final note: The manufacturer weight savings claim for this exhaust system is a substantial 17 kg (37.5 pounds) off the rear of the car; this was fully confirmed to within less than a pound when I borrowed my wife’s kitchen scales. (Don’t tell!)