Porsche 2.7 Carrera RS v 991.2 GT3 RS: evolution of Rennsport

It’s incredible to think we are just two years away from the 911 Rennsport’s momentous half-century. Through 50 years of renewed excellence, an RS is the reference point for the 911, representing the model in its ultimate form for the road and track.

Porsche’s Rennsport lineage is rich: each new model is considered a halo car in its own right, defining the era in which they hail from. Many remain highly sought after by collectors as well as enthusiasts today, with even the most financially humble RS setting you back in the region of £130,000. And at the other end, you might well be chasing seven figures.

The programme is bookended by the 2.7RS and 991.2 GT3 RS, two models which, rather serendipitously, we’ve lined up for a spirited drive through the Dorset countryside today.

There are precisely 45 years between them, the black 2.7 Carrera RS hailing from 1973, while the 991.2 GT3 RS is a 2018 model year and therefore a ‘batch one’-spec example (batch two cars had an extensive reworking of engine breathing to comply with new Euro 6 emissions).

Sitting side by side, it’s pure David vs Goliath: the 2.7RS looks minuscule next to the 991, almost toy-like. However, our mission today isn’t to compare the first and latest Rennsports – this would be a fruitless exercise whereby the 991.2 GT3 RS would surely outgun, outbreak and outgrip the 1973 RS in every way (though I suspect the latter might offer a more fun drive on our public roads?).

No, instead our prerogative is to use these stunning Rennsport examples to demonstrate the evolution of the genre, their status as the ‘first’ and ‘latest’ neatly bookending the most alluring and historically significant chapter in the Porsche 911 story, if you take into consideration the success of the race cars on which these are based.

So, back to our visual inspection of these Rennsport icons as they sit ready for action, as snapper Damian busies himself with his opening shots. Even without that bright green hue, Porsche GB’s press 991.2 GT3 RS utterly dominates its 2.7RS forebear, owned by collector and enthusiast Paul Pressland. The 991 is bigger, wider and taller than the 2.7RS, which is far simpler in its appearance, devoid of the outlandish winglets, ducts and struts featuring on its great grandchild.

Indeed, it’s the difference in proportions which are almost comical: for example, the wheels on the 991 alone are bigger than the combined wheel and tyre of the 2.7 – the 991’s wheels are wider on the front than the 2.7’s rears are in diameter, too. Get the 2.7 at the ‘wrong’ angle from a front three-quarter pose and you’ll hide that famous ducktail, whereas the 991.2’s fixed rear wing is wholly unmissable.

Just looking at the two hammers home that we’re dealing with a half-century-wide chasm in 911 development, but does that transcend to how they drive? Keen to keep to the order of chronology, it’ll be Paul’s 2.7RS which I’m to drive first.

The story of the 2.7RS’s birth is well known: it was simply built to enable the 911 to go racing. Of course, Porsche had raced its 911 almost as soon as production began in 1964…

To read our full rundown of the evolution of Rennsport, pick up Total 911 issue 198 in store today. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery, or download it straight to your digital device now.

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