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Dublin: 8 °C Saturday 30 May, 2020
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Review: We drove the intoxicatingly quick Porsche 911 GT3 RS (and went very, very fast)

We test the ballistic Porsche 911 GT3 RS at the Nurburgring.

Image: Porsche

IT’S STANDARD PROCEDURE these days for a car to receive a mid-cycle update, or facelift, to help keep it fresh and spur on sales.

Not that Porsche has had any trouble in shifting units of its racecar-bred GT3 RS to date. Nevertheless, it has done some tweaking with some pretty spectacular results.

The rear-mounted 4.0-litre flat-six engine has gotten some new innards, namely a reworked oil circulation system and fixed valve train setup, which contributes to the 20hp increase, bringing the total output to 520hp.

Power still goes to the rear wheels via the seven-speed PDK which now swaps cogs at an even faster rate.

Source: Porsche

I could tell you that the top speed of 312km/h or the 3.2 seconds it takes to get from a standing start to 100km/h is fast, but that doesn’t entirely cover what the Porsche engineers have achieved. New aero, thoroughly revised suspension and even more weight saving have seen this 991.2-gen GT3 RS slash 24 seconds off the previous model’s lap time on the Nurburgring-Nordschleife.

In ‘Ring terms that’s simply phenomenal and makes it one of only five production cars to have set sub-seven minute lap times there. (Three of those five are Porsches.)

Source: Porsche

So what better place to get our first drive of the new GT3 RS then than at the Nurburgring?

The car looks and feels every bit the road-legal racer, from the huge carbon fibre rear wing to the massive alloy wheels (20 inches up front, and 21-inch on the rear), behind which lurk equally massive brakes. The car is dripping with the lightweight woven black material, though lots of it is painted over, like the front wings and bonnet.

Optionally, you can add the Weissach Package, which strips even more weight from the car. It replaces the magnesium roof that is 1.1mm thick at its thinnest point with an even lighter carbon fibre piece. A new bonnet finished in clear carbon fibre weighs less than the painted one, while carbon adorns the mirror housing and gear shift paddles.

The carpet beneath the seats is removed to save some nectar grams, and the roll cage is replaced with a titanium version that’s 12 kilograms lighter than the regular steel one. Add in the impossibly light magnesium wheels and all in there’s another 30 kilograms in weight dropped.

Source: Rossen Gargolov

Naturally, I chose the car equipped with the lightened package to take out on track. Immediately the car feels explosively fast. The PDK transmission can be left in full auto mode, but for the Nurburgring, I’m going to shift through the cogs manually.

One sighting lap in and I get to fully open the taps on that 520hp flat six, and it blasts down the straight. I stop looking down at the speedo beyond 200km/h, still pulling like a train and running the engine right out to its 9,000rpm redline. There aren’t quite the words to describe just how epic this engine sounds. It’s intoxicatingly good.

Source: Porsche

Hard on the brakes into turn one showcase just how well you can modulate them deep into the braking zone. The car turns into corners beautifully, but some of the faster ones require a little more trail braking just to bring the weight back over the front to prevent understeer.

It’s now fitted with uniball suspension throughout, and the way it works at soaking up surface changes while maintaining near-perfect body control is nothing less than impressive.

Out of every corner, it feels ballistically fast, and even as the drizzle starts to fall, the car feels glued to the track with its Michelin Pilot Cup Sport 2 tyres. A sudden break in traction through the apex of the Advan arch, one of the fastest sections of the circuit was sub-consciously caught and followed by a long exhalation of breath.

The way in which you feel so connected to the GT3 RS is one of its primary draws. It’s digital, no, fibre optic in how quickly it can do everything, yet it still feels wonderfully analogue.

Source: Porsche

With a price that kicks off at €263,278, the GT3 RS isn’t likely to become an overly familiar sight on Irish roads. But one thing I do desperately hope for is that whoever those lucky people are that plan on buying one, do the right thing and get out and drive the wheels off of it.

READ: How long should you keep your child rear-facing? >

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About the author:

Dave Humphreys

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