All translations for this page: Other translations for this page:

Long live driving!

It may well be the case that our cars will soon be completely digitalised. It could be that we will benefit from passing on the “task of driving” now and then. But then there’s this sensual, highly refined Porsche 911 GT2 RS: Original. Uncompromising. Powerful…

Text: Horst von Saurma Photo: SSSZphoto 08.04.2019 8 min

“The most powerful 911 ever built. The ultimate animal. The Klitschko of the 911 range. The king of the series. The new Flagship...” Such and similar typifications came across the lips of the responsible engineers back in 2017, when the Porsche 911 GT2 RS was about to be completed.

The most recent of its kind to be unveiled, based on the 997 series, was introduced nine years ago, in spring 2010. But nobody who was allowed (and who was able) to take it on has ever forgotten it. This extreme sports car, based on the 911 Turbo, ushered in a new era when it came to timing, in more ways than one. Its Nordschleife lap time of 7:24 minutes had already placed the 911 GT2 RS of the time a cut above the rest.

“That much power under the hood is enough to make anyone a bit queasy – especially when you have to push it right to the limit.” Accompanied by a running commentary along these lines, the top Porsche of the time – with 620 hp, weighing just 1405 kilograms and capable of a top speed of 330 km / h – was held in the highest esteem by sports drivers. Its sheer force when it comes to longitudinal dynamics is legendary.

As someone in the crowd adds, “For anyone who likes to put the pedal to the metal, the GT2 was the best machine available.” Its motto: Get in and leave everything for dust. The high regard for this pure-bred Porsche that refused to compromise is still clear when you look at its current price: GT2 models are traded for amounts of money that far exceed its original price – a mere €  240,000.

Now to the 911 GT2 – from the class of 2017 – which, unlike its forefather, will only be available in the sporty, perfectly refined RS version. Prices are in the range of €  285,000. Plus the optional €  30,000 “Weissach package”, if so desired. Buyers are drawn to this option as it includes a range of the highest-quality materials available: Carbon fibre roof, front and bonnet panels, 21-inch magnesium wheels, a titanium rollover bar and – for the first time ever – stabilisers made of CFRP. Hand on heart – who could turn that down, particularly as this investment is rewarded with a reduction in weight of around 30 kilograms? Let’s tell it like it is. A new, completely kitted-out 911 GT2 RS will fetch a price of around €  315,000 this year.

At the very top of the specifications sheet, a succinct note reads: “Under seven minutes”. It is clear what this target is referring to. The lap time on the Nordschleife has been the measure of all things for a long time when it comes to providing credible evidence of sporting talent.

The number 700? Equally easy to work out, in light of the 620 hp of raw power provided by its predecessor. Clearly this refers to the target set for horsepower. Is this upward leap possible? Well, when you look at the horsepower specifications in the turbo ranges, which are usually estimated conservatively, it can’t be ruled out as a possibility. Preuninger laughs mischievously at this point, changing his tune when we refer to the third key figure which relates to the weight of the vehicle: The specifications sheet states “Under 1500 kilograms”.

When we consider that its predecessor weighed exactly 1405 kilograms, this limit seems almost generous. According to the overall vehicle project manager, Uwe Braun, there are two ­reasons for the increase in weight, evident from the data in the specifications sheet. Firstly, they have to reckon with an increased demand for comfort, even among GT2 RS clientele with their keen preference for as light a vehicle as possible. “After all, they don’t want to arrive in the hustle and bustle of daily life covered in sweat, with no air conditioning, no satellite navigation and no sound system.” A fair point. Anyone who wishes to can design their 911 GT2 RS without all the convenient extras. Although this means that the drive will sometimes be a bit sticky and far less entertaining, it does avoid any extra charges.

Secondly, the requirements of this 700 hp rocket in terms of fluid and air is enormous; despite the widespread use of carbon fibre, the magnesium wheels, the door-opening loops as used in the RS models and the Porsche emblem printed on adhesive film, to name but a few slimming techniques used, it has not been possible to completely reverse the weight spiral.

A tank capacity of 90 litres, 28 litres of coolant, 12 litres of oil, 5 litres of screen wash and an extra tank capable of holding 5 litres for the spraying system used for the two intercoolers if additional cooling is required – they all take their toll. You could almost fill a bathtub with that much liquid. Despite, or rather precisely due to this incredible effort, the driving performance has reached a level which, as one of the engineers perfectly put it, leaves you with “a lasting impression of over-motorising”.

Well known from its predecessor, the process of giving short shrift to the sluggishness of its weight in order to reach the horizon at a speed previously consigned to our imaginations (provided you don’t lift your foot off the gas pedal in shock) is one that the latest incarnation seems by all accounts to have perfected – to an intoxicating degree.

A few more interesting figures? This truly super-sporty car can handle the standard sprint to 100 km / h in under 2.9 seconds and ramp it up to the 200 km / h mark in less than 9 seconds. Its top speed is listed as 340 km / h. The previous model’s results in these tests were 3.5 and 9.8 seconds, with a top speed of 330 km / h.

Quite right. After all, typical GT2 drivers, exemplary in the eyes of their makers, as they present themselves, are often more focused on longitudinal than transverse dynamics. In light of such grandiose expectations, any driver would be excused for concentrating on a new, extremely rewarding aim.

Despite this, the GT2 RS even seems to have an easier time on curvy tracks. The aim to beat the seven-minute sound barrier on the track does nothing to dispel this notion. For the sake of completeness, we should mention here that the GT2 RS, as tradition requires, will be waiting on the start line with rear-wheel drive, rather than the four-wheel drive of the 911 Turbo model on which it is based.

But how to compensate for any loss in traction that is even theoretically possible as a result of the extreme power? Rear-wheel steering. Alongside this, a pair of tyres are used which guarantee outstanding grip: The Michelin Pilot Sport Cup2 N2 in their generous large 265 / 35-20 size at the front and in the 325 / 30-21 size on the rear axle.

In all their work to refine the driving dynamics – which naturally goes hand in hand with deactivating every electronic safety system at the touch of a button – it was key for the developers to note that these efforts to push limits ever higher could be carried out within tolerances to the greatest extent possible.

It was not without reason that they ensured optimum support when it came to aerodynamics as well. The high, stably mounted rear spoiler with its distinctive side plates and the front splitter installed under the enormous front cooling openings, together with the completely closed underbody, ensure optimum downforce on both axles. This is done in the same way as for the 911 GT3 RS, superbly designed for this aspect of vehicle dynamics.

Alongside this, the new NACA ducts on the bonnet also draw plenty of attention. In conjunction with the brake air ducts on the front wishbone, they guarantee highly effective braking as well as constant retarding power at the highest level possible. But not all of the GT2 RS’s characteristic features and capabilities are noticeable at first glance. Although it may have been laughed at to start with, the speedometer in the newest model, reaching up to 400 km / h, doesn’t seem quite so unrealistic when the driver turns the key in the ignition and the six-cylinder boxer, pressurised by the two new variable-geometry turbochargers begins to sing, causing your skin to break out in goosebumps and the hairs on the back of your neck to stand on end.

In this respect, we can’t really talk about “singing”. The sound reverberating out of the two tailpipes, even at a low speed, is so muffled, wicked and awe-inspiring, and the two turbines’ chatter in between is so promising that you can hardly wait to spot the catalytic converters – situated directly behind the exhaust valves, glowing bright red when the power of this car is unleashed. The design crew gathered here are unanimous in their opinion that this is a view that you will never forget. It’s not hard to believe.

The catch? In order to see these fire-breathing elements, incorporated in the car with precision and finesse, you’d have to be able to follow the 911 GT2 RS in its direct slipstream. Possible in theory – less so in practice, however, given that this is only achievable if you’re sat in a second, identical car yourself.