Five reasons the Porsche 991 GT3 RS has to be perfect
We’re just a month away from the first drive of the new Porsche 911 GT3 RS, a car we first officially set eyes on in Geneva last month. We’re giddy with excitement about getting behind it’s Alcantara-clad steering wheel however, the build-up has also given us time to realise that the latest Rennsport has to be perfect. Here are the five reasons why:
1) To allay our fears over turbocharging
When we first saw the spy shots of the 991 GT3 RS test mules, the air vents in the rear arches (carried over from the 911 Turbo) immediately caused some people to think that the Rennsport was switching to forced induction. Is nothing holy?
This, as it turned out, was a completely false dawn. However, the 991 GT3 RS is likely to be the last car launched by Porsche before the 911 Carrera becomes turbocharged as standard, a massive change in Zuffenhausen’s central philosophy.
As such, the 991 GT3 RS needs to reassure us that naturally aspirated, howling flat sixes still have a place in the back of a 911 because neunelfer enthusiasts are going to want some links with the past to remain intact.
2) To make up for the 991 GT3 engine problems
Last year’s 991 GT3 engine problems left a sour taste in the mouth for some Porsche fans. After dropping the universally-adored Mezger, the new 9A1-based flat six had to be up to Weissach’s high standards.
Unfortunately, a brace of widely publicised con-rod failures ended up with two 991 GT3s self-immolating at the roadside. It wasn’t a complete PR disaster – the decision to replace all engines for new units was the right thing to do – but it did see some people lose faith in the concept.
The knock-on of the GT3’s problems was that the Rennsport version was heavily delayed (it was originally due to be released last year). Along with the extended wait, the 991 GT3 RS has to perform faultlessly straight out of the box.
3) To prove the 991 generation is a true 911
The 991 is, physically speaking, the biggest Porsche 911 ever. Gone are the days of small, lithe sports cars. Along with the switch to electric power steering, a seven-speed manual gearbox and compulsory PDK on GT3 and Turbo models, there are some who feel that the 991 is no longer a true 911.
That is, of course, hokum but it doesn’t negate the fact that the new 911 GT3 RS needs to act as a halo car for the 991 generation. The ‘standard’ GT3 is an excellent car but, when the history books are finally published, the 991 GT3 RS needs to go down as a Weissach icon.
With an even more focussed spirit and a number of technological firsts, it looks likely that this will be the case. Hopefully the latest Rennsport lives up to its goal-post-moving potential.
4) To keep up with the competition
Even since the arrival of the 991 GT3 in March 2013, there have been some incredible cars released by Porsche’s rivals. The Ferrari 458 Speciale seems to have rewritten the rules books of what it means to be a track-focussed sports car in the 21st Century.
Likewise, the Nissan GT-R Nismo provides similar levels of performance and ability for a healthy fiscal saving over both prancing horses. Suddenly, as loathe as we are to admit it, the 991 GT3 looks outgunned.
Therefore, the 991 GT3 RS has to step up to the mark. 911 fans will still love it but, from a wider perspective, it has to at least keep up with the Joneses (though in true style, Porsche will want it to do much more than just that).
5) To topple the 997 GT3 RS 4.0
The 991 GT3 RS’s creator, Andreas Preuninger has mentioned that, as a standard production model, the latest Rennsport is actually a successor to the Porsche 997.2 GT3 RS.
However, with a new 4.0-litre engine, the new 911 GT3 RS already has its sights firmly set on the 997 GT3 RS 4.0, even if the latter was a limited edition model, created to celebrate the end of an era.
With twice as much downforce, the new RS looks more than a match for the 4.0, but can it match the special character of the latter? We’ll have to wait and see.