Symphonic 997 GT3 Soundtrack Proves Akrapovič Titanium Exhausts Are A Perfect Match for Porsche

Photography: Mike Maravilla

  • The 997 GT3 represents the last of the Mezger era and remains one of the most desirable modern classic Porsches.
  • Akrapovič brings over 30 years of manufacturing and engineering experience to OEM and aftermarket car and motorcycle applications.
  • Akrapovič’s world-championship-winning exhaust systems are crafted from proprietary titanium alloys, producing an unmatched aural experience.
  • The aspirational pairing of Porsche and Akrapovič reflects a consistent commitment to excellence without compromise.

In the simplest terms, an exhaust system is a set of tubes that direct gases away from the engine’s combustion chamber and out into ambient air. This is true, as much as any shoe protects your feet, any car gets you from point A to point B, or any watch tells time. The point is, countless interests can be boiled down to their cold, rudimentary function — automotive components are no exception — but regardless, this exercise disregards a component crucial to distinguishing simply functional pieces from aspirational ones: experience.

A BRAND WITH NO EQUALS

Akrapovič has accrued more than 30 years of that to craft, and engineer the world’s best titanium alloy exhaust systems for motorcycle and car enthusiasts worldwide. Since its inception Akrapovič has been committed to excellence, leveraging state-of-the-art research and development, in-house manufacturing, and motorsport-grade testing. It should come as no surprise then that Akrapovič’s ascent to the pinnacle of the OEM, aftermarket, and racing worlds was swift.

Its likeness is unmatched, and you’ll find its exhaust systems on some of the most renowned, championship-winning race machines and the finest road cars. At this level, Akrapovič represents more than just its craftsmanship — it has become an aspirational brand for discerning enthusiasts and professional race teams alike.

PORSCHE x AKRAPOVIČ

Technically, the 996 Turbo exhaust marked Akrapovič’s entry into the Porsche market. But the 997 is where it expanded its offerings substantially; here, DFI-equipped 997.2s, 997 Turbos, and, as you see here, 997 GT3s, were now able to enjoy the signature Akrapovič sound.

Although I’d experienced several Akrapovič BMW systems, this was the first time I’d seen one of its Porsche exhausts in person. I was floored. Visually, every imaginable detail was considered — there were design intricacies throughout with little Akrapovič logos, well-engineered mounting brackets, beautifully precise welds, and copper paste for every fastener. I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention the weight savings, too. Thanks to its special titanium alloy construction, the Akrapovič replacement system managed to shave a rather significant 37.5 lbs from stock. Should you prefer stealth, the OEM tips can be used with this system, but the Akrapovič versions (TP-PO997GT3H) are worth every penny to me.

Akrapovič’s commitment to Porsche has steadily increased over the last decade. Product lines for some of the most sought-after models, like the 718 GT4RS and 992 GT3, even expand into complementary carbon fiber body diffusers in both matte and high gloss finishes.

THE EVOLUTION LINE

The Akrapovič Evolution line builds upon the company’s slip-on systems, adding more performance, weight savings, and volume. For the 997.1 GT3 specifically, the Evolution exhaust system (S-PO997GT3E) pairs titanium, 100-cell catted headers, and what they call “pre-mufflers” (side mufflers) with the existing slip-on center. These two Evolution-specific add-ons greatly contribute to the 37.5 lbs diet, and given the location of the weight loss, it’s enough to make it perceivable from behind the wheel. The Akrapovič header actually includes a little “peg” that slides into the side muffler bracket, which is a pretty ingenious mounting solution and prevents contact between the two pieces under load.

As advertised, the Akrapovič 997 GT3 Evolution titanium exhaust system boasts an 11.8 hp gain and another 10.5 lb-ft of torque — both of which are not easy achievements on a naturally-aspirated car.

THE INSTALLATION

Consistent with our previous tech articles, we entrusted the work to our Montgomeryville, PA stomping ground, R/T Tuning who, just so happened to be working on a couple of other Porsches that day as well.

Anyway, tangential to Akrapovič’s reputation for engineering excellence is its fitment. Take the Akrapovič logos off of the exhaust and you’d be convinced you’re installing a piece straight from Stuttgart. It’s here that Porsche’s rear-engined layout also pays dividends — everything is nicely confined to the back of the car — and there’s ample room on each side to access every piece of hardware with the right tools. Remember those well-engineered brackets I mentioned earlier? You can see how it actually allows the Akrapovič mufflers to swivel which helps line up the connecting pipes to the center muffler.

PRO TIP: Removing the rear bumper will save you time and frustration trying to coax your extensions underneath heat shielding to fasten the center muffler (MTP-PO997GT3H/1) in place. It will also make fitting the supplied Akrapovič exhaust springs a cinch. After you’ve fitted the tips onto the slip-on muffler, but before tightening everything down, loosely fit the rear bumper so that you can verify the muffler is centered in the bumper opening.

TAKEAWAYS AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS

The side mufflers are smaller than the OEM pieces and this proportional reduction should help dissipate engine heat away from the rear tire area nicely. That heat is a big reason why track-destined GT3s consider full muffler deletes, but they’ll be the first to tell you that the resulting effect is LOUD. Your neighbors and stringent sound ordinance police will thank you for going the Akrapovič route, no doubt.

This isn’t to say that the end result is quiet by any means. Sure, compared to the center muffler delete that came off of my car, the Akrapovič exhaust is quieter when you turn the key, but I’ll be honest: there’s no honor in a 105dB cold start. Valve control is happily maintained from the factory system and transfers over easily. From 4,000rpm (when those valves open up) to the redline, however, it’s a completely different experience altogether — the Akrapovič exhaust manages to extract every ounce of magical, mechanical Mezger noises — and you’ll be too wrapped up in enjoying the exotic howl to wish the startup sequence was any more theatrical.

Simply put, I’ve never felt so enchanted by an exhaust. I was in a camp that thought “Honestly, how good can it be?”, even moments before R/T Tuning installed it. But after the first drive, I was immediately forced to untie my right shoe, remove my sock, and shove my foot directly into my mouth.

Shown above: Before (left) and after installation (right)

It’s no small investment, for sure. But if my previous mod told you anything, it’s that this forever car will be a no-holds-barred affair — just like its creators intended. It’s not the exhaust for people who value cold, rudimentary function, nor the people who need wanton attention at your local cars and coffee. No, this is a technological masterpiece that will be appreciated by the person who knows a car isn’t just a car and that any other exhaust isn’t this.

It’s ultimately our own seasoned experience — from years of improving different cars through the aftermarket — that has honed our sensitivity to distinguish between good, better, and best. From that summed experience, Akrapovič is, in every measurable way, the jewel in the crown.

To no small feat, it’s a brand that can make a substantial improvement to what we all consider to be one of the near-flawless factory benchmarks of the industry: the GT3.


 

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