991 GT3 RS road trip: Man’s best friend
When it was launched in 2015, Porsche’s 991 GT3 RS moved the Rennsport game on substantially from its predecessors. Equipped with a 4.0-litre flat six engine producing 500hp in a body that generated more than double the downforce of the 997 GT3 RS 4.0, the 991 also boasted rear-axle steering, a seven-speed PDK gearbox and huge 21-inch rear wheels borrowed from the 918 Spyder.
The caveat, of course, was the biggest, widest and heaviest RS ever, but that didn’t matter. The car was quicker, faster and more efficient than ever before too, with a ‘Ring lap time of seven minutes 20 seconds to endorse it as the most accomplished Porsche Rennsport of the time. Even works driver Nick Tandy has said it’s the nearest thing to a Cup car that you’re ever likely to get. The 991 GT3 RS is a monster of a sports car – and therein lies its biggest problem.
Topping out in second gear sees 73mph register on the RS’s speedometer, which is enough to break the maximum UK speed limit. Redline in third takes you past 100mph, which will guarantee the loss of your driving licence if caught – yet the RS still has another four forward ratios to go.
It may well come with licence plates affixed to its front and rear bumpers, but the reality is you won’t even begin to tap into the 991 GT3 RS’s capabilities on a public road. This is a race car, born and bred, and a race car needs a race track to call home. Or does it?
If I were to proffer the idea that a suitable playground for Porsche’s latest RS awaits just the other side of a ferry ride from the UK, to a challenging public road that can have disastrous – perilous, even – consequences for those who get it wrong, then you may well assume I’m talking about the Nürburging Nordschleife.
And, while it’s true the ‘Ring is a happy hunting ground for many a GT3 RS, on this occasion our destination lies on a ferry east of the UK mainland, not west. I am, of course, talking about the Isle of Man.
Home to the famous TT motorcycle race held annually since 1907, its 37-mile course is made up entirely of public roads around the island, which is a self-governing territory with British Crown dependency. For two weeks per year in either May or June, these roads are closed to the public, respawning into a world stage for two-wheeled speed freaks to test their talent and nerve on a timed run of the circuit.
For the other 50 weeks, however, the roads are just that, helping to transport some 83,000 inhabitants around the island. Much of the motor-racing paraphernalia remains though, and as for the speed limits, well, out of town there aren’t any.
What’s more, the course offers plenty for the driving enthusiast by way of challenges. Longer than the Nürburgring by some 24.1 miles, Isle of Man’s TT has plenty in common with it: there are a number of surface changes throughout, its weather is as famously interchangeable, the track varying in altitude by some 1,400 feet, while a vast array of corner types and cambers are thrown in along the way. In short, it’s a proper driver’s playground, surely the best place on earth to take a 991 GT3 RS outside of a track – and that’s exactly where we’re headed for our latest Total 911 adventure.
To see how we got on with the exhilarating 991 GT3 RS along the Isle of Man TT course, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 160 here or alternatively you can download the digital edition to any device via Newsstand for Apple or Android.