Opinion: Why the Porsche 991 GT3 RS doesn’t excite me
Since becoming the first website in the world to reveal the 991 GT3 RS back in April, our exclusive spy shots have become one of our most read stories this year. You guys obviously can’t wait to see the latest incarnation of the revered Rennsport 911.
However, I can because the upcoming GT3 RS, due to launch next year, is just not getting my pulse racing right now. Before you grab your pitchforks and start lighting the bonfire though, hear me out.
Recently I drove the 991 GT3 on track and, as you can read in the current issue of Total 911, I loved it. Its chassis and steering were superb, with the latter probably being the best I have ever experienced in a road car (hydraulically assisted or not).
In fact, as a piece of engineering, the latest GT3 is more impressive to me than the 991 Turbo. Porsche has managed to turn something that was previously the preserve of the hardcore enthusiast into a 911 with a Jekyll and Hyde character.
Whereas the new Turbo is simply wonderful at shortening the boundaries between entire countries, the 991 GT3 can amble around town before being unleashed as the ultimate Porsche track day weapon, providing a duality I have not encountered before in any 911.
But, the Porsche 991 GT3 RS is going to change this. It’s going to become ‘more focussed’ and ‘more raw’ all in the pursuit of better lap times. The Rennsport is going to lose the usability that the ‘softer’ GT3 currently enables. And for what?
For 99 per cent of drivers, the 991 GT3 is plenty fast enough on both the road and track. In fact, on the former, the upcoming RS is likely to feel completely benign without engaging warp-like speeds that are likely to see your licence rack up points faster than pinball machine.
This is a dangerous line I’m attempting to navigate because I’m effectively arguing that the constant progress Porsche is making in terms of horsepower, grip, and gearbox shift times are pointless.
That’s a dangerous line of thought because without progress, where would the 911 be? In all honesty, it would probably have been resigned to the scrap heap as its rear-engined philosophy wouldn’t have been able to keep pace with every other manufacturers’ sports cars.
So, I’m not anti-progress. But I still don’t get excited by the thought of yet more grip (thanks to stronger aero that is unlikely to make a jot of difference on a British B-road) and a rumoured 500hp output from the 3.8 DFI engine.
The last few generations of 911 have been growing so fast that they are starting to lose a sense of driver engagement when driving at road legal speeds. The 991 GT3 RS will be the zenith of this, with mind-blowing performance that may win you bragging rights down the pub but won’t enamour you with the local constabulary.
And that’s all without touching on the fact that the GT3 RS is due to grow even larger, utilising the Turbo’s body shell. Surely ‘Rennsport’ should be synonymous with lightweight thinking. Putting on an extra few inches around the waste seems counter intuitive to this philosophy.
Sure, modern regulations will mean that we’ll never see a car as feathery as a M471-optioned Porsche 911 Carrera RS but does that mean we have to go down completely the opposite route?
For the sake of my own personal enjoyment, I hope not. I don’t necessarily need my cars to be faster, bigger, or louder than the competition to have fun. I just want them to engage me and that doesn’t need to involve a Top Trumps battle.
Do you agree with Josh. Is the 991 GT3 RS a step too far? Or do you admire Porsche’s continuing pursuit of automotive excellence? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, or head to our Facebook and Twitter pages to join the debate.