We're madly in love and infuriatingly poor.
Porsche has just taken the wraps off the most extreme 911 thus far, the inimitable GT3 RS for the 992 generation. Complete with a wing tall enough for low-flying aircraft to hit, numerous motorsport-derived innovations, and Porsche's typically fastidious construction guaranteeing bulletproof reliability, it's something any circuit enthusiast would love to own.
518 horsepower comes courtesy of a 4.0-liter flat-six; a mild increase of 16 hp compared to the regular GT3. However, what the GT3 RS lacks in pure power, it makes up for in every other aspect of the driving experience. This is a driver's car, not a braggart's trophy. Andreas Preuninger, head of Porsche GT cars, says that developing this car was "exhausting," so let's take a look at five of his team's greatest accomplishments with the latest specimen of the world's best street-legal track car.
For the first time on a Porsche production car, the 911 GT3 RS has a wing that, in its highest downforce setting, is higher than the roof. We'll get into the aero in more detail later, but this wing helps the car produce over 900 pounds of downforce at around 124 mph - triple what a normal GT3 can do. So surely this creates drag, right? Yes; that's partly why the car has a lower top speed of 184 mph rather than 205. Bigger tires and a shorter overall gear ratio also contribute to the slightly lower top speed, but if you see some chump in his GT4 RS creeping up on you, you can push the DRS button.
This resides on the steering wheel where the voice control button would normally be, opening the rear wing, working in synchronicity with the moving front diffuser beneath the splitter. Opening the wing gives you a noticeable increase in speed, yet aerodynamic balance is always kept to 30:70 front:rear. Both of these wings act as highly effective air brakes too.
This car is aimed squarely at track day enthusiasts, which Preuninger says 85% of RS buyers are. These people will spend hours perfecting suspension and other setup parameters, but instead of jacking the car up and getting dirty over the course of hours as you refine the configuration that works for you, the suspension can now be instantly adjusted from the steering wheel using four rotary knobs. Here, you can access rebound and compression settings for each individual wheel; perfecting your setup for the specific track or surface you're on is instant. If you're not so geeky, the standard setup your car is delivered with is what Porsche says should help the average racer go quickly.
More customization is possible via these knobs. The behavior of the electronic diff can be adjusted here too, for both when entering a corner and when exiting it (coasting off power and accelerating on the gas). What's more, seven levels of adjustability exist for the traction control with the electronic nannies totally removed from the equation when the electronic stability control system is totally deactivated.
Porsche is very open about the fact that it could easily have endowed the new GT3 RS with more power, but this is the sweet spot for drivability and fun. Also, if there were more power, you'd need even better cooling, bigger brakes, and some way of avoiding more weight gain. As it is, the lightest GT3 RS configuration with the Weissach package is around 33 pounds heavier than the lightest regular GT3. But Porsche didn't keep the power at 518 hp because it was lazy.
The engine has new, hotter camshafts that help the car achieve a boost in power from 6,000-9,000 rpm; peak power isn't reached until you tap the redline. This makes the car more fun to drive at high speed, and with a new intake system, less noise insulation, and lighter carpets, this car won't sound the same as a GT3 or Cayman GT4 RS. Again, Porsche could have given it more power with a race-derived engine, but the people in Zuffenhausen have concentrated on maximizing fun through reliability by giving this car better oil cooling and other systems to ensure a reliable, bulletproof engine.
Instead of three radiators at the front as has been the trend on 911s so far, there's one big, angled radiator in front with 30% more cooling efficiency despite less overall surface area. This air exits out the front nostrils, being directed by a singular large vane and three 'boomerangs' on each side. These direct air outward so the area under the wing, where the engine intakes are, gets cold air. The radiator's hot air is pushed along the side of the car and can be felt through an open window. As it moves down the car, it wants to come back up to the roof, so vanes here keep it running along the side of the car.
Under the front splitter (nee spoiler), the aforementioned active wing is joined by 14 underbody vanes for aero and cooling, including NACA ducts cooling the transmission. Teardrop-shaped forged aluminum suspension components also contribute to downforce (more than 88 lbs of it on their own) simply by how they are shaped. Vents in the front fenders, redesigned wheel wells and doors, and side ducts further enhance this car's stability on track.
The hood, front fenders, roof, doors, and more are made of carbon fiber. The ducktail rear spoiler and rear wing are made from the stuff too, with exposed carbon and a PORSCHE script under the rear wing's top flap when you spec the Weissach package. This also opens access to a carbon fiber roll cage rather than a steel one, but both are illegal Stateside. Still, you can look forward to exposed carbon on the hood, roof, and mirror caps. Forged aluminum wheels are available to save you 3.3 lbs over stock, or you can get magnesium wheels to save more than 17 lbs. Other upgrades here include carbon suspension components. In total, the Weissach package saves almost 43 lbs.
Carbon ceramic composite brakes are available too, along with an electric cutoff switch and a fire extinguisher in case you bin it. Other customization options include the nine standard colors on offer, with 114 in the Paint to Sample program. Alternatively, you could spend a small fortune on a truly custom hue. Wheels come in six colors, or you can spend the extra cash on a GT3 RS owners' watch made of titanium and carbon fiber with Race-Tex on the strap. Something for everyone, then, as long as you have a minimum of $225,250 lying around.