It's officially the fastest naturally aspirated production car to ever lap the Green Hell.
We all knew it was coming. As soon as Porsche unveiled the track-focused 911 GT3 RS, we knew that it would go up against the Green Hell.
An impressive time around the Nurburgring is the holy grail of performance motoring because it tests a car in its entirety - the engine, gearbox, brakes, aerodynamics, mechanical grip, etcetera, etcetera.
Let's not beat around the bush. The all-new Porsche 911 GT3 RS recorded a time of 6:49.328 minutes around the modern 20.8 km (12.94-mile) Nurburgring Nordschleife. Porsche also recorded a time of 6:44.848 for the previously standard shorter lap.
The car was driven by Porsche's brand ambassador and endurance car legend, Jorg Bergmeister. An official was present to witness the lap time, so everything is above board.
With that out of the way, we can dip into the really fun part, which is putting the lap into context.
First, the car itself. The GT3 RS Bergmeister used was equipped with the optional Weissach Package. Porsche also went for the optional Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires, sized 275/35 R 20 at the front and 335/30 R21 at the rear.
The RS completed the 12.9-mile loop 10.6 seconds faster than the standard GT3. The previous-generation GT3 RS, also equipped with the Weissach Package, completed a lap in 6:56.4. For that lap, Porsche removed the infotainment and climate control. This is no longer an option on the new GT3 RS. In other words, Bergmeister could have done the same while listening to his favorite German techno-pop via Apple CarPlay.
Did it beat the all-out record for production cars? Nope. We'll compare apples with apples and use the 6:44.848 lap time around the 12.8-mile version of the track. The longer lap includes the T13 straight, which adds a few seconds. The cars mentioned below all ran the 12.8-mile track.
Before the new GT3 RS came along, the leaderboard for the top five (from fifth to first) was as follows: Lamborghini Huracan Performante LP640-4 (6:52.01), Porsche 911 GT2 RS (6:47.25), Lamborghini Aventador SVJ LP770-4 (6:44.97), Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series (6:43.616), and the Porsche 911 GT2 RS MR with a time of 6:38.835.
The GT3 RS' time of 6:44.848 officially makes it the third-fastest production car around the 'Ring. It's 1.2 seconds off the AMG Black's time and less than eight seconds slower than the Porsche 911 GT2 RS MR. Most impressive of all is the fact that it beat the previous-generation GT2 RS. The GT3 RS is now officially the fastest naturally aspirated car around the Green Hell, beating the 759-horsepower Aventador SVJ.
Out of interest, we decided to calculate the average horsepower of the five cars that previously occupied the top spots. The Manthey Porsche 911 GT2 RS has 690 horsepower, the AMG GT Black has 720 hp, the Aventador's V12 produces 759 hp, the Performante has 631 hp, and the previous-generation 911 GT2 RS had 690 hp to play with. The average horsepower works out to 698 hp.
How much does the GT3 RS have? Its naturally aspirated 4.0-liter flat-six produces 518 hp, just 16 more than the standard GT3. What we have here is irrefutable proof that the chase for high horsepower is futile.
These two cars in front of the GT3 RS have roughly 200 hp more, yet both are less than 10 seconds ahead.
Finally, proof that 500 hp is all you need. Andreas Preuninger and his team have been right all along. This car's five most remarkable features helped it run a blistering lap.
"Today, the 911 GT3 RS delivered what it had already promised at first glance - absolute excellence on the racetrack," says Andreas Preuninger, Director of GT cars. "Considering the far from ideal conditions, with a strong headwind on the long straight of the Dottinger Hohe and cool asphalt temperatures, we are satisfied with this time. The 911 GT3 RS is setting new standards for aerodynamics and the chassis. Never before has a road car embodied so much motorsport."
The GT3 RS provides 1,896 pounds of downforce at 178 mph. The track conditions were also less than ideal, so we wonder whether Porsche will come back to claim Lambo's long-format naturally aspirated record.
"We lost a little downforce due to the strong, sometimes gusting wind, but I'm still very happy with the lap," says Bergmeister. "In the fast sections, in particular, the 911 GT3 RS is in a league of its own. Here it's on a level usually reserved for top-class racing cars. The car is also setting new standards in braking. Fast laps on the Nordschleife are simply so much fun in this car."
"I'm incredibly proud of what the whole team has achieved during the development and testing of the new 911 GT3 RS," said Frank Moser, Vice President of model lines 911 and 718. "Today, Jorg Bergmeister brought everything together and unleashed the car's full potential. The 911 can still surprise us and proves that the rear engine concept is still supremely suitable for high-performance sports cars."