As far as supposedly beating the cars that you mentioned. Many times the ride is more than the numbers. If the M does beat the S at the Ring, does that make it a better car? In many people's minds, yes. And, it certainly deserves credit where it's due, especially being the under dog. But, it doesn't mean that it's more fun to drive. That, again, is a subjective decision. (I don't really believe that the M will best the S @ the Ring, but I'll play until the results come out.)
These, which is more fun to drive, discussions never really go anywhere. Its a very subjective topic.
For example, I havnt driven anything that is much more fun that my E36 M3 even though by todays standards its a slow car.
A Lotus Exige or Aerial Atom are probably very fun cars to drive but also very unpractical. The S2000 and Miata are little more practical but lack room and back seats. The Vettes are great performers but thats about it. The Porsches are awesome but the price of admission is steep. The M3 is going to be fun to drive, probably not as fun as a Lotus but still fun. Plus, I get a back seat, a great interior, cool electrical toys, and gobs of performance that will at least give a 997S a run for its money!
And, Yes, since the "ring" has become the bench mark where all new sports cars tested, I do care about its lap time. Even coming close to the 997S is going to be thrilling. I mean we all love M3's but this is the first time an M3 has really given Porsche a run for its money. So, even coming close is at least as good as any other M3 and probably better than most.