Turbo S too slow, GT3 RS not sharp enough… step up 911 GT2 RS
Did anyone ever get out of a 911 Turbo S and proclaim it too slow? Or a GT3 RS and think it could do with being a bit sharper? Whether they did or not, Porsche has answered those questions with this - the new GT2 RS; an intriguing mash-up of Turbo S and GT3 RS, with the promise of more of everything.
Its predecessors have quite a reputation, rightly or wrongly, with the previous GT2 and GT2 RS both being dubbed 'the widowmaker’, in reference to the combination of massive power and potentially tricky handling.
The GT2 RS appeals to a certain type of customer, then, with Porsche’s GT boss Andreas Preuninger saying they’re a little bit more overt, demanding the very best performance. As such, the GT2 RS is deliberately loud, both visually and aurally.
Preuninger also admits it’s a riposte to those commentators that say the GT department has lost its focus on outright speed and instead has been building more purist-orientated cars like the 911 R and manual GT3.
It’s a very explicit response to that, the GT department taking the GT2 RS to that track, and putting a stopwatch on it. The result was a 6min 47.3sec lap time, beating all production car comers and smashing even Porsche’s own predicted times. By some considerable margin.
To allow that, the GT team has thrown everything at the GT2 RS with an engine derived from the Turbo S’s 3.8-litre twin-turbo, and the chassis, aero and weight-saving more akin to the direction the GT3 takes.
It’s no simple bitsa, though. The GT2 RS is very much it’s own entity, its mixed parentage creating a monstrous hybrid very much in the Marvel superhero sense, rather than the Toyota Prius one.
You can’t help but have an opinion of it, given that the GT2 RS’s thuggish, cartoonish track refugee appearance is not exactly shy. It’s all functional though, those many intakes, wings and protuberances all doing one thing: Creating speed. Lots of it.
That massive wing, depending on angle, develops up to 450kg of downforce, though if you want to reach the quoted top speed of 211mph you’ll want it at its 340kg setting.
If that huge rear wing has got Porsche written on its top surface and there’s a stripe up the bonnet and roof, you’re looking at a Weissach Pack-equipped GT2 RS. That, like the 918 Spider before it, adds a sizeable amount to the bill. Here about 10% of the £207,000 list price, that bank balance lightening also removing about 29kg of mass from your new, stripey plaything.
We don’t envisage anyone ordering their GT2 RS without it - just imagine the embarrassment of saying you had? Your mere 1,470kg kerbweight would be a laughing stock up and down any track day pit lane.
You could, of course, suggest that with 674bhp and 553lb ft of torque from the flat-six engine, dropping another 29kg is unnecessary. And you’d probably be right. Porsche doesn’t quote any difference in figures for the 0-62mph time which, despite the limitations of channelling its prodigious grunt through the rear wheels, is achieved in just 2.8 seconds. It’ll double that in 8.3 seconds, making this the fastest 911 you can buy.
No, you’ll want the Weissach Pack for the magnesium wheels, yes because they look great, but also because they drop the unsprung masses. Given the GT2 RS effectively runs 911 Cup car suspension with a Nurburgring set up, that is a very good thing.
The Weissach Pack also brings carbon fibre suspension elements, among the already fully ball-jointed set-up, a carbon fibre roof and bonnet, the attention to detail even adding lighter carbon fibre paddle-shifters and a titanium roll cage.
As standard, the interior is bright red and black - like Dracula’s coffin, only in Alcantara. It is so coloured because about 80% of 997 GT2 RS customers specified their car that way, though you can, of course, specify it with subtler hues. Do that. If you’re ticking option boxes you might as well have the Chrono pack, which adds some functionality to the display screens if you’re intent on measuring your lap times using Porsche’s Track Precision App. There’s no push to pass mode switch on the steering wheel with it, because, really, with 674bhp at your disposal, everything’s already dialled up to eleven all the time anyway.
How does it drive?
That it is fast comes as no surprise. The engine’s huge output is delivered forcefully, it punching with grimace inducing pace from 2,000rpm to around 5,000rpm, before and after which it’s merely shockingly quick.
Helping produce its power are water-cooled intercoolers, a titanium exhaust and revised internal components to cope with its significantly increased output. There’s little perceptible lag, its turbocharged nature meaning it runs out of revs about 2,000rpm quicker than its naturally aspirated 4.0-litre GT3 relation, but it’s a responsive, immediate unit.
Shifting gears is via Porsche’s seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic, and the shift is near-as-dammit instantaneous, with the paddles never second-guessing or denying you your decision unless you’re particularly daft. And just try to resist the temptation on any drive to do a Launch Control start... You'll probably fail. The way the GT2 RS catapults down the road when you do the full-bore start is hilariously addictive.
It’s a vocal engine for a modern, turbocharged Porsche, it lacking the intense, singing highs of its 4.0-litre GT3 relation, but while the bass, deeper-toned notes are not as rousing as a GT3, they do signal ridiculous, any-gear pace.
In that regard it’s up there with contemporaries like the Ferrari 488 GTB and Lamborghini Huracan Performante against the clock, though it doesn’t quite manage to achieve the outrageous mid-range effervesce of the freakishly quick McLaren 720S.
It’s a different proposition, though. More hardcore in looks and ideology, certainly, which makes the chassis something of a surprise. Given its ball-jointed nature and Nurburgring focus you’d rightly expect harshness and compromises. It’s testament to the GT department’s efforts with the damping that the GT2 RS isn’t stymied by the vagaries of British tarmac.
The ride is taut, but there’s real control, the GT2 RS riding with sophisticated composure that allows you to really enjoy the huge performance on offer. There’s masses of grip from the Michelin Sport Cup 2 tyres, although there’s the suggestion of playfulness when you start pushing that bit harder.
What is so beguiling is the steering. It’s right up there with the best set-ups on a modern Porsche. There’s decent weighting to the wheel, the response sharp and accuracy unfailing, with the rear-axle steering also helping to keep the GT2 RS’s nose about as faithful on turn in as you’ll get in a road-going 911.
Combine that brilliant steering with the chassis’s ability on UK roads, and it’s not the performance of the GT2 RS that’s the highlight of the experience, but the ability to exploit it. In that regard it’s a sizeable and welcome shift for the GT2 RS, away from its notoriously flighty predecessors and towards the usability that the modern 911 is renowned for.
Should I buy one?
If you haven’t already then you’ll be paying a premium for a build slot from someone else, or lining a speculators’ pockets; it's inconceivable that you've not already tried to get one if you're in the marketplace. Even so - yes, of course you should buy it.
Only keep it, drive it, enjoy it. Please, don’t stick it in the garage with no miles on it while you wait for its value to double. You’ve no longer got the excuse that it’s a little bit too much of a handful, either, as the new 911 GT2 RS adds control and finesse to its brutal power.
Even so, if it were this or a GT3 we’d have the simpler, naturally aspirated car, not least because it’s about £100,000 cheaper. Naturally, that’s not going to be a decision any GT2 RS buyer is ever going to have to make. They can have both, and we certainly wouldn't blame them.
2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS