Kinda brings out the animal in you, this motorsport-inspired car that is perhaps the most driver-focused of all Porsches with its ‘purist’ set up: a high-revving normally aspirated engine and rear-wheel drive.
Porsche describes the seventh generation of this track-bred sports car in three words: emotion, efficiency, precision. All true, but I’d add one more: intensity. This steroid-boosted GT3 is a car that has the singular focus of setting quick lap times in the most driver-pleasing way.
The GT3 RS proved its athletic prowess in April 2018 by clocking 6m56.4s around the Nurburgring Nordschleife, becoming the third road-legal Porsche to break the magical seven minute barrier around the world’s most demanding race track - the others being the 918 Spider and the 911 GT2.
The new GT3 RS was a significant 24 seconds quicker around the ‘green hell’ than its predecessor, a feat made possible by a dose of extra power and a big helping of added downforce.
Boosting the output of the four-litre normally aspirated six-cylinder boxer engine to 383kW and 470Nm was the starting point, providing the capability of 0-100km/h in 3.2 seconds and a 312km/h top speed.
Track-attacking tweaks include retuned rear-axle steering, racing-style ball joints for greater driving precision, and lightweight wheels: 265/35 20-inch versions up front and 325/30 21s at the back.
And that flamboyant body work isn’t just peacockery; the giant rear wing and all the assorted scoops and louvres are all about aerodynamics and cooling.
This car has an impressive 40 percent more downforce than the previous GT3 RS, with 486kg of it at its maximum speed. For roads and tracks that might call for more top speed than grip, customers are able to re-angle the rear wing and block the front diffuser to reduce drag, decreasing downforce to 344kg.
The widened body (a la 911 Turbo style) with magnesium roof and RS-specific aerodynamic add-ons confirm this Porsche’s track focus. At no extra charge a ready-to-race Clubsport package adds a rear roll cage, battery disconnect switch, fire extinguisher and six-point racing harness.
The optional Weissach package sheds 30kg of mass by replacing metal with carbon fibre in the roof, bonnet and anti-roll bars, and replacing the standard footwear with lightweight magnesium wheels.
A racing feel in the cabin is provided by carbon bucket seats and Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel. As in the standard GT3 the two seats have fixed backrests; only their height and fore-and-aft movement can be quickly adjusted.
Around the Nurburgring Grand Prix circuit I discovered a car that has motorsport running through every lightweight panel. There are more powerful Porsches, but the GT3 RS is honed to be the perfect driver’s machine. There’s more than enough power here so that you can’t simply treat the throttle like a trigger when accelerating out of corners. It has to be fed progressively; booting it too hard too soon will promptly get the tail wiggling.
That said, there is an astonishing amount of grip from this racing-bred rear-engined car, and the lateral g-forces it’s capable of can take your breath away. The car resolutely refuses to understeer as it changes direction with the eagerness of a Scalextric car.
The brakes, which in the car I drove were the optional ceramic versions, allowed stupidly late braking, and they kept working fade-free after plenty of punishment, lap after lap.
Porsche’s engineers have done their homework in terms of how intimately the car communicates with the driver. The steering feel and general seat-of-the-pants feedback make you feel like you’re spliced into the car’s very DNA.
The steering-mounted gearshift paddles perhaps call for a more positive click, but I ended up hardly using them anyway as the automatic mode of the seven-speed PDK does things so well - and it spools up that six-shooter engine to a deliriously vocal level, with a sonorous howl that dials the emotion up to ten.
To outsiders this loud and lurid Porsche may seem a little over the top. But under that brash ‘party’ exterior is a car that’s all business when it comes to driving.
The GT3 RS is available to order in South Africa, priced from R3 220 000, which is a R470 000 premium over the standard GT3.
Porsche 911 GT3 RS
|Engine:||4.0-litre, 6 cylinder petrol|
|Power:||383kW @ 8250rpm|
|Torque:||470Nm @ 6000rpm|
|0-100km/h (claimed):||3.2 seconds|
|Top speed (claimed):||312km/h|
|Price:||R3 220 000|
|Maintenance plan:||3-year/100 000km|