The new Porsche 911 GT2 RS has a stark, perfectly round steering wheel. No sanctimonious squared-off bottom. No distracting multifunctional controls. That tells you most of what you need to know about this thing, the fastest car in the world. It’s built for driving.
And if that’s all you’re going to do with it, the GT2 RS is astonishing. Like animals that ward us off with bright colours and hissy fits, the GT2 RS in Miami Blue burbling at idle serves up a premonition — enter at your own risk. It is the most powerful production 911 of all time, and it lets it all loose without the security of all-wheel drive.
Every single component has been looked at and optimised, justifying a generational leap let alone yet another iteration of the 991.
Developed in Flacht, in the company’s racing department, this is the closest thing to a racing 911 Cup car that Porsche’s ever put on the road. The dampers are just about twice as stiff as a GT3’s. Every single chassis joint has been replaced by motorsport-derived steel units. You’d better pack some meat on your butt. There’s barely any sound insulation — you can hear every piece of road debris you kick up with the sticky Michelins. Wherever you look, inside, outside, or underneath, there’s carbon fibre, titanium, magnesium, aluminium and composite reinforced plastic. Instead of polyurethane windows like on the previous generation GT2, the new GT2 RS comes with lighter and stronger Gorilla glass off your smartphone. Where you’d normally find the satellite navigation and the air conditioning, my tester comes with a hole in the dash. At full tilt, the car’s aerodynamic aids produce over 400 kilos of downforce. The front splitter weighs nothing, basically, but at 340kph the downforce means it effectively weighs 200kg. Porsche tethers it off steel cables like you normally see on race cars, but since this isn’t road legal (chopping pedestrians’ legs is frowned upon) they hide the lot behind a pair of enormous grilled intakes.
Every single component has been looked at and optimised, justifying a generational leap let alone yet another iteration of the 991. So, you know, don’t call it a tuned Turbo S to Frank-Steffen Walliser’s face.
With a car like the GT2 RS Zuffenhausen’s statement has already been made. Trackside at the Algarve International Circuit, the company’s motorsport boss Walliser is blatant: “At Porsche, we like to think that the Nordschleife is ours.”
So they took what was theirs — the GT2 RS is officially the fastest car in the world, by the universal measure of Nürburgring Nordschleife lap times. The ‘Ring - bumpy, narrow, unforgiving and intimidating — sorts the pecking order based on capability around the most grueling circuit in the world, a 20km long one-way public toll road laid out over the Eifel mountains. Earlier this summer Porsche’s test driver Lars Kern put in a lap of 6:47.3, an absolute record.
“This record will stand for a while, for sure,” Walliser says, without flinching. Arguing his nonchalance doesn’t work either. This GT2 RS smashed the previous ‘Ring record held by Lamborghini by five seconds. It went around the Green Hell 10 seconds quicker than the million-dollar Porsche 918 Spyder. Compared to the previous generation GT2 the new car is a ridiculous 28 seconds faster. That kind of evolution in one generational step is unheard of. It would be akin to your child growing wings.
Around southern Portugal at the launch location, with the pedal down a quarter of the total travel, you are bombing along with so much in reserve. It’s damn near impossible to use a GT2 RS as intended on the road. The world is too small for it, and the mile markers just a blur. On firmed up dynamic engine mounts, the 3.8-litre flat six is the swan song for the codename 9A1 engine released back in 2009. Taking into account original output, the GT2 RS is 40 per cent more powerful, with bigger turbos, with water vaporisation to drop charge air temps by over 20 degrees, new internals, and redesigned cooling affording the car an 80-horsepower advantage over the previous 3.6-litre GT2 for a 700bhp total. Torque is up by 50Nm to 750Nm, and although you have frightening pull from any revs in any gear, this thing will only start bouncing off its limiter way past seven grand.
It’s relentless, and your energy will fade before the GT2 does. Even after 12 laps trying to stick to the back of driving legend Walter Röhrl, the 410mm carbon ceramic discs are stupefying, without any change in pedal feel let alone stopping ability. With this much attention paid to the details, it probably shouldn’t be such a surprise that Flacht was able to deliver a 700-horsepower two-wheel drive 911 that is so overwhelmingly capable, yet driveable.
They optimised everything, took weight off everywhere, threw on the biggest tyres ever put on a 911, and employed NACA (the predecessor to NASA) ducts and giant wings. The seven-speed double-clutch transmission has 918 Spyder internals with gearing specific to the GT2 RS — it could do 370kph, but with hardly a race track in the world featuring a straight long enough for 370kph, Porsche’s limited the car to 340kph with Michelin prioritising cornering grip instead of top speed heat management.
The lightweight suspension components and magnesium wheels (staggered 20in and 21in set-up) lower unsprung weight, additionally thanks to carbon fibre suspension arms and a carbon fibre roll bar both front and rear (the 918 Spyder only had one) made by a road racing bicycle manufacturer. The body panels too are lightweight, and if you spec the Weissach package, which Porsche says 90 per cent of customers will, you also get a carbon fibre roof and in total a further drop in weight of around 30 kilos. The welds on the titanium roll cage alone are works of art (if you want an FIA-approved steel one, just ask nicely).
The trouble is the GT2 RS’ limits are so far off and the power so huge that you hardly need much more than two of the seven available gears.
All this means the GT2 RS is absurdly good to drive — the electric steering system is the best on the market (Walliser: “Software, software, software…), and the pace you can achieve without any major alarms is remarkable. But if you’re out to get the most out of this car, you have to push insanely hard. Immorally hard. It only rewards when wrung out to the red line in every gear, except the trouble is the GT2 RS’ limits are so far off and the power so huge that you hardly need much more than two of the seven available gears. If you’re just dawdling along at seven tenths, the GT2 RS is apathetic. It only comes alive on a race track, or if you’re on a mountain pass, in the hands of a social delinquent.
With 150kg less weight than a 911 Turbo S and nearly a 100-horsepower advantage, the GT2 RS sprints from zero to 100km/h in 2.8 seconds, which actually seems conservatively quoted by Porsche. It’ll do these launches all day long.
A quick anecdote: late during development of the 900-horsepower 918 Spyder hybrid hypercar Walliser remembers taking a prototype home from work one day.
“On the autobahn I was so impressed driving it, everything was perfect,” he recalls. “And what I remember thinking most, was, ‘Well, maybe we could have given it a little bit more power…’ Because, you can never have enough horsepower.”
Yes, that’s how these people think…
In any case when it comes to the GT2 RS I should respectfully disagree. Seven hundred horsepower in a two-wheel drive 911, with that turbo kick and a booming, pounding soundtrack is plenty enough. It’s enough for the most intense experience I’ve ever had in a road car. The aftertaste lingers for so long. I know it’s the only chance I’d get with the GT2 RS. That’s the bit that’ll stay with me, the parting. Separation anxiety. But you, if you have this itch, if you have the money, you don’t have to feel my void. Do it. Buy it. Floor it, and never look back. You won’t have time to anyway.