I Broke My GT3
But fear not! This is not a tale of woe, or a complaint piece about poor customer service. No, we’re talking about Porsche here, and as all members in the PCA know, Porsche is a brand that stands by it’s cars. Instead, this is a triumphant tale of amazing customer service and a brand going above and beyond to look after one of it’s loyal lunatics.
The scene: driving my 991.1 GT3 hard at Laguna Seca. A well executed turn 10 leads to a fast run toward turn 11 at high RPM. The wail of the 3.8 at over 8000rpm is beautiful music. But then, tragedy… The check engine light comes on, and the display in the dash reads “engine fault”. The car enters limp mode (limiting speed and RPM in an effort toward self preservation), resulting in a run down the main straight not at 125+mph like usual, but around 60mph. Keeping well off the racing line to try and not surprise other drivers not expecting such a slow car (this is the red run group, after all), I make it around to the bonus track exit at turn 5, and swing back to the paddock.
After shutting the motor down and restarting, no warnings are shown, but I figure I wouldn’t press my luck and called it a day. The next day, a Monday, I drop the car off at the dealer and explain to them what happened. Yes, I fully explained that I was on the track when all of this happened, lies never pay!
On Tuesday, I get the call: the codes from the ECU stated “high RPM misfire”. Per the Porsche service manual, after finding metal shavings in the oil pan, they had dropped the motor from the car to inspect the top end. That revealed worn cam lobes and impacted valves for cylinder 5. Porsche won’t repair the motor with this much damage – instead they will send it back to Germany to study, and replace it completely.
“How much will this cost?!?” was my first response on this call. “Nothing! You’re completely covered under warranty” was the unexpected response. Yes indeed, a GT3 is designed for this kind of track use, and since I’ve followed all maintenance advice and was not abusing the car beyond it’s limits, Porsche will take care of the parts and labor for a new motor. Wow.
The warranty claim was submitted on that Tuesday, and I had another call the following day saying it was approved and the new motor was on it’s way. My next surprise was a call the very next day (Thursday) – the new motor had arrived! It had been sent overnight from the mystical cache of GT3 motors and they were about to dive into the install. By Monday, the car was ready to be picked up.
Yes, over just 7 days, I went from “my car through a check engine light” to a brand new motor shipped, installed, and the car ready for pick up. That is amazing service. All covered under warranty.
And so now, since I really am a lunatic, I have dropped the car off to have a GT3 Cup conversion (bumper, under tray, front crash structure, fenders, hood, rear deck, wing, and lightweight motorsport wheels, all from the factory Cup race cars). I can do without the car for a bit because I’m also about to jump on a plane to drive the famed Nurburgring and Spa-Francorchamps tracks. I mentioned I’m a lunatic, right?
Please do not let any of this tale discourage you from trying one of PCA’s amazing track or autocross days. There is no better way to learn your car and improve your driving, and situations like mine are incredibly rare, and only usually seen at the level of craziness I am at (I’m an instructor, and do multiple advanced group track events per month, plus autocross).
Instead, let this be a tale that good preparation and the amazing reliability of our Porsches mean you can go out and have a heck of a lot of fun, all while becoming a better driver on the street and the track.
See you out there!