Poland isn't the first place that comes to your mind when you think of fine performance tuning, but actually it is a popular source of some bhp-mad projects that star all over central Europe, from Austrian Wörthersee GTI-Treffen to Russian Unlim 500+. Polish tuning specialists may be less known than the big players from the neighboring Germany, but in fact they represent such a high quality of work that they often become secret developers and builders of the cars you see on the tuning shows all over the world. Poland also boasts some world-class projects that would be deemed exceptional even on the most developed tuning scenes.
The 997 presented is without a doubt one of these projects that would receive top marks in Western Europe, Japan, or USA alike, being one of the fastest and most advanced road-going 911s not only in Poland, but in the world. You may be wondering why anyone would like to make that iconic sports car faster or more advanced than it already is, but Karol, the man behind this project, has good underlying rationale. While a Turbo was just too slow and too soft to his liking, he owned, for some time, a GT2 packed with additional ponies brought by 9ff Fahrzeugtechnik, but then he wasn't happy with the limited traction provided by the rear-wheel-drive configuration. These undoubtedly horrible struggles Karol had to go through lead him to think of another 911, this time built from scratch, and based precisely on the guidelines ingrained in his mind: four wheel drive, focused approach, and power. Lots of power.
As no tuner seemed to have a parts range extensive enough to carry out the work from A to Z, Karol chose the hard way of working on each detail individually with a group of engineers coming from the best German and Polish tuning houses, like Street Shadows Garage and ECU Performance from Poland's capital, Warsaw, here joining forces as freelancers mostly out of passion for these kind of projects. In fact, they had so much eagerness to work that all they left untouched from the car's engine was the crankshaft, all of the rest being reinforced or made out of materials dug out from the depths of the periodic table.
The most ambitious part of the work was to design a wholly new cooling system for the turbocharged air, as even the factory spec Turbos are keen to have problems with keeping the right temperature on hotter days when driven very hard (which is the only way Karol drives his cars). The wise car owner went for a bold idea of creating a complex water-cooling system, which turned out to be tricky to develop and build, but opened the door for downright crazy performance numbers.
A standard 997 Turbo uses traditional intercoolers located behind the rear wheels to cool down the air feeding the intake manifolds. That's where the signature side air intakes on the car's body come from, but however cool (pun intended) they look, a relatively small size of the holes limit the amount of air that can be sent to the heat exchanger, restricting its efficiency. This system is replaced by specifically developed radiators filled with 12 liters of a liquid coolant, which dispenses heat through a cooler mounted in the front bumper, armed with an additional water spray for a good measure. The finished construction proves to work very well: It remains stable even under heavy loads, keeping the intake manifold at a temperature lower by around 90 degrees Fahrenheit than originally. Good news for the engine, the performance numbers, and the driver alike, who can now keep his right foot pressed in the floor without any worries.
The new cooling solution eliminated the need for the air intakes, thus allowing Karol to make another bold move: change the whole body for the updated 997.2 GT3 RS version, making his car a unique blend of the turbocharged 3.8 l boxer engine and a track-ready appearance. Both GT3 and Turbo variants boast the same 1.85 m width so the enticing hips didn't get any wider, but with the more pronounced lip on the RS front bumper and the take-no-hostages rear wing above the centrally mounted two exhaust tips, the finished effects surely looks the part. As the one-piece cast magnesium wheels made by BBS for the famous Porsche racing team and tuner Manthey Motors were chosen solely for their extreme lightness and rigidity, the unique metallic paint, which now covers the headlights' surroundings as well, may be treated as the only cosmetic refinement of the car. The 19-inch rims covered in custom paint are shod with Pirelli PZero Corsa tires, sized 235/35 in the front and 325/30 in the rear.
Inside, Karol allowed for more luxuries without giving up on the extreme purpose of the car, ending up with an eclectic mix of exclusive ambience of sublime materials and the coarse accessories taken straight from the professional competition use. Even with the over-extensive use of the delicate chocolate-colored nappa leather upholstery and carbon fiber laying literally everywhere for no other apparent reason but to please the eye of the beholder, the typically 911 interior hasn't lost any of its no-nonsense teutonic attitude. The driver and the passenger are keenly supported by the thin bucket seats of 997 GT2 origin, while the rear bench was taken out altogether, GT3 RS style. Then, there are some details revealing the extreme nature of the car internals: a thermometer indicating the temperature of the water in the new cooling system is fastened boldly on a cable tie in the cabin's corner within the driver's sight, while an HKS boost controller tool mounted right under his hand allows a quick change of boost pressure.
The highlight among the interior features is a control panel hidden under the central armrest (finished with carbon fiber, what else?). The seriously looking red buttons and the toggle switch may be taken for Bond gadgets, but in fact they're responsible for regulating the water spray and other parts of the cooling system. Definitely not something you can find in a regular 911, but then not often do drivers design their own intercoolers for their cars... And that is the best summary of Karol's expert knowledge and loving attention to details: The interior leaves a great impression of a very high level of quality, the neat and tidy effect seeming to be another one of admirable Porsche efforts, rather than the work of one dedicated car owner.
It should come as no surprise then that Karol left little to chance also in terms of the rest of components. The drivetrain is mostly stock, though the drive shafts got reinforced to deal with the power leap. The rarely used in 997 Turbo six-speed manual Getrag transmission is widely acknowledged for its bulletproof durability so it could be left without any further support, but the clutch appeared to be the weakest link. Many different types of clutches were tried out and the best solution turned out to be the Sachs component able to transmit up to 810 lb-ft. There is a price to its toughness though: The left pedal needs great force to be pushed and released, making it quite tiresome for smooth, let alone comfortable, ride. The middle pedal requires no less vitality, as it is linked with competition-derived Brembo brakes with the front discs sized 380 mm in diameter, cooled down by the air led by the ducts borrowed directly from a racetrack equivalent. But hey, this car is meant to go fast, not look after my undertrained legs. Maybe I got a bit too soft with my expectations of what a true supercar should be like?
Still, even with the standard variable characteristics Porsche Active Suspension Management thrown out altogether to make room for the Bilstein PSS set with extra-thick antiroll bars (the only adjustable part), it can be said that the light car behaves relatively gently on the road, at least trying to sooth out imperfections of the road. It's not as stiff as you could've imagined it to be. After all, it was built with everyday use in mind: That's why carbon-fiber seats can be folded and there's no expanded rollcage behind them—for Karol it was more important to have a handy place to drop his groceries or a bag. If you're wondering why such a great feat of engineering isn't an often guests on track days, it's only because he has some even more hardcore tools for that job.
But what a joy it would be to tackle some empty corners with that monster. Even with the AWD configuration retained, the car feels far more agile and dynamic than the standard already great Turbo, but preserving that stable and effective attitude of the fastest series production 911 was fundamental to this project. As to the speeds it can reach... Better Ferraris, McLarens, or other usual exotica drivers don't come close if they don't want to return home crying humiliated. Numbers don't lie—this GT3 RS TT is mind-bogglingly fast, faster than any Beetle-shaped car should ever be: right up there with hypercar gods like Veyrons and Koenigseggs. 0-60 time is hardly measurable as such speed is achieved literally the moment you release the clutch. 60-124 mph acceleration time is more telling: It's an unbelievable 4.3 seconds, half a sec faster than a Veyron, even if the 911's driver has a couple of cogs to go through with his manual stick. Speeds on the naughty side of 200 mph are a big event only for the driver, not the car. If you're wondering what's the maximum speed, so is Karol—he's yet to find a stretch of a road long (and empty) enough to reach the point when his 911 is not building up on velocity.
Peak performance numbers are also not known for similarly abstract reasons—on the dyno the car couldn't find traction up to the sixth gear, where the length of the ratio resulted in speeds above 185 mph, to which these measuring devices in this part of the world are usually limited. The highest values achieved were 800 bhp and well above 740 lb-ft, but they don't tell the full story about the abilities of this car. It turns out that with great dedication, a budget of more than 100,000 USD just for modifications and—above all—proper technical expertise, world-class effects can be achieved no matter which part of the world you're in. Or rather, where a 911 Turbo is.