Porsche 991.2 GT3 RS: first drive verdict

Precision. That was the development goal with the new GT3 RS. You can’t have missed it, the Lizard Green launch colouring hardly retiring. Thing is, you could have written it off, Porsche’s GT department firing out new models at an unprecedented rate, the Gen I car still very fresh in the memory. The huge shadow cast by the GT2 RS is still around, too, so this GT3 RS has got some fighting to do.

Twenty-four seconds covers it, though. That’s how much quicker it goes around the Nurburgring over the old Gen I 991 GT3 RS. Works Porsche Racing Driver Kévin Estre took this new car around that stretch of challenging tarmac in a scarcely believable 6 minutes 56.4 seconds. That. Is. Bonkers.

Looking at the specification it’s difficult to see where the new car gains such an advantage, we’re used to new generations eking out 5-10 seconds, but 24 is night and day. Either Andreas Preuninger has an epic poker face, or he was surprised, too. On two separate occasions up to the launch he told us he was looking at around 7 minutes 5 seconds, with only 1 second or so improvement down to the 20hp the engine gains. There’s 520hp for the record, it basically the same unit as the GT3, only inhaling and exhaling differently via RS specific intake and exhaust systems.

Twenty hp is nothing, but the engine feels different. Faster, more immediate, more, damn it, precise. That’s true of every element of the GT3 RS’s make-up, the PDK shifting even more quickly, the electronic differential, the steering – both front and rear-axle systems, all having been finessed to create a greater unity. The suspension is key, it’s basically that of the GT2 RS, which means hugely increased spring rates, solid mountings, yet softer dampers and sway bars.

It’s the chassis that’s so revelatory, a racecar set-up that’s devastatingly effective on the road, bringing it riding with supple composure that’s remarkable, and control that’s unerring. It’s unfiltered and pure, without the interfering compromises in its predecessors that would ultimately demand that you wind back the speed. The steering is crisp, quick and perfectly weighted, the front axle so sharp, the rear faithful, too.

That the chassis is mated to such an intoxicating, screamer of an engine and rapid-fire transmission only enhances the whole, allowing its performance to be fully exploited. This is RS nirvana, and a remarkable, genuinely surprising step-change over its predecessor. Nobody ever called that a dull, uninvolving, slow car, and it isn’t, it’s just that the new one is better in every single way, demonstrably so. The precision development goal is key, moving the RS to a new level, 24 seconds to be precise. Like the specification though, it’s not about the numbers, it’s about how it feels, and this new RS feels little short of sensational.

For the full report and your most comprehensive first drive verdict anywhere in the world, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 166, in shops May 16th.

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