Driven: the 911 GT2 RS
We've finally experienced the new 911 GT2 RS from the driver's seat. It doesn't disappoint
Big numbers make for fast times. The GT2 RS demonstrates that; the six minutes 47.3 seconds that Porsche’s most intense RS model yet achieved around the Nürburgring underlines it.
GT2 RS models are infrequent additions at the top of the 911 range, but they always leave an impression. The new one is resolute here, that lap time unambiguous, cementing what GT department director and Head of Vehicle Projects, Andreas Preuninger, describes as “the king, the alpha animal 911".
If you need any convincing, there’s 515 kW (700hp; combined fuel consumption 11.8 l/100 km; CO2e 269 g/km) from a heavily revised version of the Turbo S’s 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat-six. The most powerful 911 ever having its engine nestling under a suitably huge rear wing.
Weight is pared back everywhere, seeing the RS badge affixed to just 1,470kg, with further losses possible with the optional Weissach Package. Do that and you gain carbon elements not just to the bodywork, but the suspension, off which hangs lighter again magnesium wheels. The cage inside is also made of the exotic lightweight metal with the Weissach pack, all that dropping 30kg to the GT2 RS’s fighting weight.
Elsewhere the specification reads like that of a race car. There is ball-jointed suspension, upside down dampers and Preuninger readily admits that the GT2 RS’s set up is essentially that of a Cup car in Nürburgring specification.
Visually too, it’s a riot of vents, wings and ducts. All have purpose, shaping the air over, under, around the car, channelling it to where it can be put to the very best use.
There’s spray water cooling on the intercoolers, allowing that 3.8-litre engine its mighty output, the light titanium exhaust giving it a thunderous voice to match its overt visuals.
On start up that lightweight exhaust is effectively straight through, the rich bassy intensity living up to its predecessor’s fearsome reputation on sound alone. No road-going turbocharged 911 has ever sounded so menacing – you’d need to dig into Porsche’s racing archives to match it for intensity.
Those rich tones fill the pared, driver-focussed cabin. There is a physicality to the notes emanating from the rear, emphasising the visceral force that’s an RS signature.
It is undeniably different in character to its GT3 relations, deliberately, authoritatively so, clearly a GT product, but one that’s distinct and unique.
A paddle-shifted PDK with seven bespoke ratios provides the gears, the GT2 RS, like its predecessors, channels all its massive output to the rear-wheels only.
With that and its reputation in mind you treat it with respect yet, for all the apprehension that its power might overwhelm or corrupt, the GT2 RS responds with a sophisticated civility that’s surprising. Yes, it’s ferociously, eye-wideningly quick, the numbers associated with it forcefully express that: 62mph arriving in 2.8 seconds and 124mph in 8.3 seconds, as it makes its way to a 211mph top speed. Yet, for all the absurd, immediate performance that engine and transmission deliver, it’s the chassis that ultimately defines it.
Preuninger admits it’s nimble, agile, and easier than its sometimes brutish forebears, and of course he’s not wrong. The suspension has an unnatural ability to provide taut control yet a supple ride is masterful, the damping key in allowing the GT2 RS these usually juxtaposed goals. Huge traction, unerring grip and ridiculous braking power are all there, and there’s delicacy to the steering – the weighting beautifully judged, it is accurate and detailed.
Outrageous as it sounds, there’s a delicacy to the GT2 RS. And that’s probably the biggest surprise, given its otherwise uncompromising specification.
The 911 GT2 RS is more than about mere numbers, however large or small. It’s this fact that elevates it from its predecessors without severing the legend that defines it.
Alpha animal 911 indeed. And some.