• The Porsche 911 GT3 RS is one of the most accomplished sports cars ever made.
• The GT3 RS's history begins in 2003, but the groundwork was laid in 1999.
• The car in question is powered by a naturally aspirated 4.0-litre petrol engine.
• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za
As motoring journalists, we're often posed the question 'what is your best driving experience yet?'. And with that opening sentence, you can probably gather where this article is heading.
Recently, a (2019) Porsche 911 GT3 RS found its way to the office and its key was not going to disappear from my view. This was an experience, a drive, I could not pass up on, given that the second-ever Porsche I drove was also a GT3 RS. That was in 2017 and still one of the most visceral and sweat-inducing experiences I had ever had.
Back then, confidence and driving ability was not on a level where one could push the car with surety, but a lot of water ran under that bridge over the last 36 months. The car in question belongs to the 991.2 family of 911s and, bar the GT2 RS, is perhaps the best iteration of the classic sports car. Yes, a new 911 was launched locally earlier this year, but this GT3 RS is not bounded by 'age'.
2019 was a big year for Porsche. Twenty years ago, in 1999, the first-ever GT3 saw the light. Produced between 1999 and 2005, the 996 GT3 was somewhat of a revelation in the motoring world, as it blended Porsche's motorsport expertise with that of its road cars. This recipe continued throughout the next two decades, but the automaker turned things up a bit in 2003.
That year, Porsche introduced the 996.2 GT3 RS, or GT3 RennSport, if you will. The RennSport name, German for 'Racing Sport', became a mainstay in Porsche's 911 lineup. The RS takes things a step further than the 'standard' GT3 by offering a package that is rawer, more unrefined, more track-orientated, and more daring.
The GT3 RS in question was first unveiled in 2018 and would be in production until 2019. Everything was insane on this car, and it was aimed at being the best 911 GT3 RS the automaker had ever produced. Carbon-fibre is used to great effect, the wings - both front and rear - have been redesigned to improve downforce, and the wheels have been made from magnesium. The end result is a car that weighs 1430kg and able to run a 312km/h top speed.
Motorsport in its DNA
Porsche is no stranger to motorsport and its cars, especially the 911, is the greatest reference thereof. The GT3 RS, though, takes things up a notch, but without treading on the GT2 RS's toes (that car is a story for another day). To complement its racing heritage, the GT3 RS is fitted with a massive rear wing that stretches the entirety of the car's width and inside, occupants can find a roll cage. The car is a stripped out, race-like racing machine that inspires the driver who knows what they're getting themselves in for. And s/he who knows what this car is all about will explore the limits.
Stick the key into the ignition, foot on the break, and fire the car up. The engine roars to life, and you soon realise that sound insulation was a seemingly forgotten thought. The first interaction with the car brings it home that Porsche intended to bring the track to your driveway and that no excuse was too big for it not to happen.
Power is channeled to the rear wheels via Porsche's brilliant seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. This 'box is so precise that it will hook each gear with millisecond precision. Traversing over Franschhoek Pass with its sharp bends and must-remain-focused nature, the GT3 RS showed its true colours as its limits were pushed. When you stiffen the suspension, activate a more intense setting for the gearbox, and flick the gearbox into manual mode, the car is about as rewarding as it gets - akin to your deepest sexual fantasy being realised.
With traction- and stability control firmly engaged, the car feels as if it's floating on a bed of clouds while navigating around the tricky and twisty bends. Floor the accelerator and the naturally aspirated 4.0-litre engine whales to its 9000rpm redline. Each gear change sends a give-me-more shudder through the car's body, and you soon find yourself at a loss for words at what just transpired.
Following the first few hours behind the wheel of this car and reminiscing the experience over a pizza, the only feeling I had was utter disbelief that something could be this good. That perfection had an identity that will be recalled for years to come.
Someone asked me what I thought of the car, to which my only reply was a grin and "Fuck."
That pretty much summed it up for me, because the 991.2 Porsche 911 GT3 RS is an experience. Almost godlike, shall I say, and it warrants every bit of respect.
What was your question again?
Price: R4 495 000
Engine: 4.0-litre, six-cylinder
Power: 383kW @ 8250rpm
Torque: 470Nm @ 6000rpm
0-100km/h: 3.2 seconds
Top speed: 312km/h
Gears/Drive: Seven-speed auto, rear-wheel-drive
Tyres: 265/35 R20 (front) | 325/30 R21 (rear)