Member Profile: Liam Wild
Most PCNSW members own or have owned a fair number of Porsches in their time, but no matter what you’ve got in your garage now, you never forget your first. Maybe you picked up an old 924 to get you started, or perhaps a classic 911 in need of restoration? A few of the more ‘experienced’ members may even have bought a 356 new off the showroom floor.
Then there’s 25 year-old PCNSW member Liam Wild from Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Nothing run-of-the-mill about his first Porsche, as he took the plunge early this year and bought a very well-known 2004 996 GT3 racer with prestigious motorsport history. Not what you’d call easing yourself into the marque, but this well-known club member has more reason than most to indulge his dreams early.
Suffering from cystic fibrosis, a disease that greatly reduces life expectancy, Liam is on a mission to get the most out of life at every opportunity. To that end, what better way to satisfy his passion for speed and motorsport than in such a competent and quite awesome example of Porsche race engineering.
Liam’s entry into Porsche ownership means he is now a full PCNSW member, but has been with us for the past seven years running Subaru Imprezas at track events. “I was looking to move on from the Subarus,” he says, “and when I found out PR Technology was putting the GT3 up for sale I jumped on it. It was a big learning curve though from getting out of turbo all-wheel-drive road cars into a rear–engined, rear-drive and normally aspirated dedicated race car.” Big learning curve indeed, but one hell of a fun one.
This GT3 has had an enviable motorsport history in its first five years of life. In its time it has won the inaugural Mt Buller Sprint in the hands of Alex Davison, competed in numerous Dutton Rallies and took out overall victory in the Challenge class at the Australian GT Championship last year. Prestigious owners and drivers are names familiar to PCNSW members: David Withers, Richard den Brinker, Kim Burke and Richard Kimber; the latter being the Australian GT Challenge winner and the last owner of the GT3 before Liam took over.
It was sold to Liam in its full Australian GT racing spec featuring some choice modifications and enhancements from PR Tech Racing, the team behind Richard Kimber in 2008. These include a custom rose jointed and Ohlins coilover suspension setup plus a host of impressive carbon fibre body parts. Here was an entry-level Porsche to end all others!
“It was in perfect condition when I bought it,” Liam explains, “and spending that sort of money I’ve approached the Supersprints and track days with a bit of self- and car-preservation in mind. My first outing was at Oran Park at the first Porsche Club Supersprint of the year. It was an amazing experience and a completely different drive to the Imprezas. The way it handles is phenomenal, braking can be left very late and I ended up around three seconds faster around Oran that I’d managed in the Subarus.”
On a following track day Liam adjusted the sway bar settings to his preference, but insists it is so very well set-up that he hasn’t needed to alter anything else on his racing 996. He’s added a few personal touches such as his own racing steering wheel, and it’s hard to look past the beautiful aesthetic touch of painting the GT3 wheels black with a red lip.
Even though Liam has owned the car just a matter of months, he’s hardly been shy about exercising it. “I’m getting my money’s worth, that’s for sure,” he says. “I’m doing the odd track day, have used a skidpan and run it in the Porsche Club motorkhana. The best day I’ve had so far was at the fourth Porsche Club Supersprint at Wakefield Park on 4 July where I took ten seconds of my best Subaru lap and finished the day in third.”
When you consider Liam’s condition forces him to pit after only 10 or 15 minutes to recover and have a breather, the enormity of this achievement is surely impressive to all. The man’s undoubtedly a talented driver putting his GT3 toy to excellent use, and on evidence from the Eastern Creek Supersprint, a bloody brave and determined guy too: “At Eastern Creek I was competing with a collapsed lung that I only found out about when seeing a doctor later.” Mark Webber with a sore leg eat you heart out!
Such incidents have thankfully not deterred Liam, who makes a point of saying: “While I can I’m going to get out there and enjoy it. It really is a great car and being a part of the Porsche Club ensures I can get the best out of it. I’ll keep enjoying it on the track, and even though we’ve had a few little offs (necessary to discover the limits!), I’ve thankfully not had any big incidents in it.”
You’re sure to spot Liam’s distinctive 996 GT3 at future PCNSW events (two more motorkhanas, a Supersprint and Club Challenge all planned for), and as a true enthusiast of the Porsche marque he’s well worth sharing a few stories with. He’s one of PCNSW’s youngest members, is familiar to many with his continued involvement over the years, and above all is a top bloke to speak with about the good times to be had with our Porsches. Just don’t expect him to do you any favours on the track when he’s out there wringing the neck of his beloved racing GT3!