It’s hard to imagine how the last 911 GT3 RS could be improved upon. But somehow, with yet further honing of the model’s engine, chassis and aero, Porsche has managed it.
HOW MUCH BETTER THAN THE 991.1 GT3 RS can it be? I mean, really, how much better? That’s what I was thinking when Porsche unveiled the 991.2 GT3 RS at the Geneva motor show. Well pass me a knife and fork because I’ve got an extra-large portion of humble pie to eat: the new RS is a sensationally good car.
Was I foolish to succumb to superlative fatigue when it comes to Porsche’s ramped-up product cycle? Possibly. But was I right to be sceptical at just how meaningful an improvement could be made on the already fabulous Gen 1 991 RS? Absolutely. And yet, the new car proves me wrong.
Just how good Weissach-Flacht’s newest export is will become abundantly clear during the two-stage media launch. At least it’s a two-stage launch for me, as I’ve bagged a spot on both the road drive and the track test a few weeks later. The venues? The Isle of Man for the former (including guided laps of the TT course behind Mark Higgins, he of the Subaru lap record) and the Nürburgring for the latter. No, not the Nordschleife – the lap’s too long and too big a risk for press tests in a model this quick. Besides which, Kévin Estre proved the car’s ultimate potential there, clocking a remarkable 6:56.4, just 9sec behind the brutally powerful GT2 RS.
And so to Ramsey and the iconic backdrop of the TT course start/finish line for leg one of the RS drive. It’s a small gathering of people – just a handful of German, UK and US journos – but a mighty gathering of cars, with a regular and Weissach Package-equipped 991.2 GT3 RS on hand, plus all its water-cooled RS ancestors to offer some context. Oh, and a beautiful 2.7 RS, just to make the day that bit more surreal. The weather isn’t being kind, but it’ll take more than a bit of rain and low cloud to dampen my spirits.
It’s always good to get back into a GT3 RS. The sense of occasion is palpable, but not so strongly as the sheer sense of purpose. A 911 might not have the seductive swagger of an Italian supercar, but GT3 RSs have long been blessed with a different kind of allure. One that crackles with intent. Even in such illustrious company this Gen 2 991 is a gunslinger of a car: armed, capable and unafraid.
You’ll no doubt be well-versed in the technical details, but they’re worth recapping. The engine is easy to remember, as it’s the same 4-litre unit first seen in the 991.1 GT3 RS, then the non-RS 991.2 GT3. Compared with the one in the previous RS, the motor now has 200rpm more to offer, taking the red line to 9000rpm, plus lower-friction internals, an improved oil system, sharper responses and increased outputs, peaking at 513bhp and 470Nm of torque – up 20bhp and 11Nm on the aforementioned GT3 and RS.
However, the biggest changes centre on the chassis and aerodynamics, along with greater scrutiny applied to weight savings. The chassis benefits from a set-up philosophy first explored on the current GT2 RS. Stiffer springs (double the rate of the previous GT3 RS at the front end, 50 per cent up at the rear) deliver sharper responses and increased feel, the trade-off being a reported slight loss of ride quality – a sacrifice Porsche believes RS buyers will be happy to make.
Continuing the quest for feel and precision, all the suspension is rose-jointed with the exception of the rear axle steering links. There’s still a Sport mode (which has been recalibrated) available via the PASM button. The rear Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s are bespoke, with a specific compound that differs from the GT2 RS’s to suit the delivery of the less torquey, naturally aspirated motor. Optional, stickier, road-legal but track-focused Cup 2 Rs will be available, but aren’t fitted to our test car.
Aero-wise, the GT3 RS now shares its rear wing with the GT2 RS. This sits higher up than the old GT3 RS item. Together with the new underbody aero and rear diffuser there’s an almost eight per cent gain in downforce, but with less drag. Other detail changes include an eight per cent lower final drive, which mitigates the slightly larger wheels – new forged items, 100g lighter each – and tyres. The trademark brake cooling louvres in the front wings are the more aggressive ones from the GT2 RS.
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