REVIEW | The Porsche 911 GT3 RS is an unforgettable screamer

07 October 2020 - 08:12
The Porsche 911 GT3 RS offers one of the most visceral and rewarding driving experiences on the planet.
The Porsche 911 GT3 RS offers one of the most visceral and rewarding driving experiences on the planet.
Image: Supplied

Some cars require a more profound level of scrutiny and judgment. Of course, we at this publication approach all automotive subjects with the same degree of consideration, but there are certain products that prompt a session of quiet afternoon contemplation, beyond the standard scope.

The Porsche 911 GT3 RS was a recent subject of this rumination, after a spirited journey that left me more than a bit dazed and bewildered.

First, though, you would be correct to ask why we are evaluating a model from the 991.2 generation of the breed, when the 992 has been in action for over a year?

Graciously, the brand wanted to reacquaint us with some of the cornerstones of the Porsche identity. It used one of these last production units of the outgoing series for that opportunity: there will undoubtedly be a new range of GT-prefixed offerings on the horizon.

By now you know that in the Porsche 911 hierarchy, the GT3 RS sits towards the top of proceedings.

Second to the turbocharged GT2 RS, this is the most extreme production derivative you can have: a no-holds-barred, unfiltered and downright ferocious testament to the expertise wielded by the Zuffenhausen firm in the area of specialised sporting machines.

One of the most hackneyed phrases used by makers of high-performance cars is underpinned by motorsport exploits. They often like to say  the showroom product is a distillation of everything learned on the track. That their contender is a racer for the road.

Massive rear wing provides ample downforce at high speeds.
Massive rear wing provides ample downforce at high speeds.
Image: Supplied

Very rarely is that the case. A car built for the demands of track driving is completely different to one designed to meet regulations and the comfort requirements of occupants. Spend a few minutes driving a road car with vigour on a circuit, and unless you proceed with mechanical sympathy, your mirth might be over in fewer than five laps.

But the road-legal-racer diatribe holds legitimacy with the GT3 RS. Aside from the obvious flamboyance (and functionality) of the aggressive aerodynamic endowments, you will find other hardware portending to its impressive depth of competitive ability.

That includes a set of semi-slick Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres (265/35ZR20 front; 325/30ZR21 rear) that will spit you out when provoked without heat, or if you decide to take liberties on a wet surface. When parked, this ultimate 911 looks somewhat cartoonish, pumped-up, exaggerated and, in the case of our test unit, violently yellow. The optional Weissach package incorporates a generous ladle of carbon fibre componentry for the chassis, exterior and interior.

Open the door and you will spot a three-point harness. Fastening the whole affair up for a short trip to the shops might be a might much. Luckily, the GT3 RS has the regular, inertia-reel variety included too. If all that failed to deliver the message, that roll cage ought to affirm the intent of this machine.

Since Porsche cut the sound absorption materials, occupants’ ears are treated to an unmuted assault of decibels courtesy of the normally-aspirated, flat-six engine (3,996cc) in the stern. Among its suite of talents is an ability to be wound all the way up to 9,000rpm.

The resultant sound is astonishing. Just when you think its lungs are getting full at about 6,500rpm, boom, it breathes deeper and bellows with the amplified fury of a million angry hornets all the way to redline, bouncing off the limiter before you snatch the next cog. Or you can leave the seven-speed PDK to its own devices.

In either case, the Porsche can cover ground at a rate of knots that is often frightening. Its 383kW and 470Nm will hustle it along to a top speed of 312km/h and to 100km/h from standstill in a mere 3.2 seconds.

The experience of the launch control function is something to behold, with the tangible conflict between those rear wheels and the astute electronic governances bidding to apply the power to the bitumen efficiently.

Although the numbers are spectacular, it is the abstract and hard-to-quantify sensations that are central to the experience. You cannot have a conversation about cars that reward the driver without this as a reference point.

The steering is quick-witted, dispatching inputs possibly even quicker than you can make them. Those brakes are firm, but assuring and progressive. Your buttocks are sat literally millimetres from the floor.

At this point we must remind you that the first iteration of this current GT3 RS (the 991) was launched back in 2015. A lot can change in five years – and plenty has.

But the intoxicating, addictive concoction of speed, acoustics and the all-important feel factor held by the model indicates there will always be place in the Porsche narrative for a track-focused, purist-pandering machinery.

Pricing: From R4,2m