2018 Porsche 911 GT3 RS first drive: Incremental gain

Twenty-four seconds. That’s what the changes to the GT3 RS add up to. Around the Nurburgring, of course, those 24 ticks of the stopwatch’s second hand are incredibly significant. They make the new RS into a sub-seven minute car, recording 6 minutes 56 seconds around Germany’s Green Hell. That’s fast. Ridiculously so. Surprisingly, too, even to Andreas Preuninger, Director GT Product Line at Porsche who reckoned it’d gain 10, maybe 15 seconds over its predecessor, a car that nobody would ever describe as slow.

2018 Porsche 911 GT3 RS

First impressions

RSs have always been about a collection of incremental gains, but with this Gen II 991 GT3 RS the resultant whole seems greater than the sum of its parts. The power grows, slightly, a 19bhp gain seeing the peak output increase to 512bhp achieved at 8,250rpm. The engine is essentially that of the GT3, a naturally-aspirated 4.0-litre masterpiece that revs with tearing enthusiasm to a heady 9,000rpm, and breathes here through a differing intake, the exhaust being lighter and freer-flowing.

There’s improved aerodynamics, this RS achieving the same levels of downforce with less drag, largely down to those NACA ducts on its bonnet. They cool the brakes, too, the RS a definition of the performance car efficiencies that add up to greater speed. It’s all been about precision, admits Preuninger, with every element finessed with that in mind, from that aero, through to the engine, gearbox, steering control systems and the chassis.

2018 Porsche 911 GT3 RS
2018 Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Unsurprisingly it borrows he...