5,000km in the new Porsche 991 GT3 RS – part one

In the latest issue of Total 911, we pit the new Porsche 991 GT3 RS against its esteemed 997-generation forebears on both road and track. However, what does a serial water-cooled Rennsport owner think of Weissach’s latest offering?

Ronan McGrath, a Total 911 reader and owner of 997.1 and 997.2 GT3 RSs, recently took delivery of his 991 GT3 RS at Zuffenhausen, before embarking on a 5,000km road trip (including a visit to the Nordschleife) to find out. Here is part one of his three-part story:

Stuttgart, Germany

Lined up in the Zuffenhausen delivery centre, the 991 RS looked completely different to the cars that surrounded it, the huge rear wing, big wheels and open ductwork making this 911 look more like a Cup car than something palatable for the public roads.

The interior is little differentiated from the normal 991 platform apart from the smaller-diameter steering wheel – a huge improvement – as well as the typical Rennsport-style door pulls, and a pit lane speed limiter that is not something I’ve ever needed before on track.

First impressions of my new RS are positive then, but I needed a real test in which to measure up Porsche’s latest Rennsport. The plan, then, was to visit some places deemed important benchmarks in the history of Porsche and to compare this car to my 7.1 and 7.2 RS, each of which has had similar journeys when rolling fresh off the production line.

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Of course, the new RS represents a radical departure from its predecessors, with its CFP front end, magnesium roof, four wheel steering, PDK gearbox, new direct injection engine, and simply outrageous aerodynamics. Pulling away from Porscheplatz to begin my journey, the first big difference noticeable on the public road is the 991’s sound.

That new engine replaces the old Mezger, and the whine of the older engine is replaced with a new deeper bass at a lower pitch. The older engine can rise to an unforgettable wail when near the top of its range, while the 991 proves to be more of a deeper roar, though a thrilling one nevertheless.

At normal road speeds in traffic the 991 is a far more tractable car than the 997. Its suspension is more compliant, and left in auto mode the PDK gearbox shifts instantly in heavy traffic without the slightest jerkiness (a common trait that many pre-991 RS owners will no doubt empathise with).

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The 991 gives little sense of its real potential at low speeds but after a five-hour stint on the autobahn in stop-start traffic, I’m not uncomfortable.

I immediately find the steering to be a huge improvement over the earlier versions of the 991, with plenty of feedback delivered through the wheel. It is a delight. For fast road use, I’ve no issue with leaving the PDK in full automatic mode. Simply put, it is so fast as to be unbeatable. It’s immediately apparent, then, that the car is perfectly practical as a daily driver, with one caveat: its size.

My car is fitted with a front axle lift system, yet I still encountered the usual RS bugbear of scraping the front end on steep inclines. In narrow German parking lots, the width also meant a lot of care is needed to avoid wheel scrapes. A little 911 it is not!

Look out for part two, where Ronan takes his 991 GT3 RS to Zell Am See, tomorrow on Total911.com. In the meantime, check out issue 136 to see how the latest Rennsport fared against its 997 rivals.

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