PORSCHE 911 GT2 RS

THE GT2 RS HAD THE WEIGHT OF EXPECTATION AND A MEGA PRICE TAG TO OVERCOME. BUT THE ULTIMATE 911 BEWITCHED ALL TO CLAIM PCOTY 2019

BY SCOTT NEWMAN + PICS ELLENDEWAR/ALASTAR BROOK

1 st THE NUMBERS

0-100KM/H 3.13 SEC

0-400KM/H 10.63 SEC @ 220.85KM/H

LAP TIME 1:24.0

JUDGEíS RANK

CAMPBELL 2ND It's so good I could weep. But man, $750K...

CORDONY 1ST Itís better and faster than you and always will be.

MORLEY 2ND Where on earth is this all going to end?

NEWMAN 2ND Nuclear performance, yet so accessible. Amazing, but $200K more than a Turbo S?

KELLY 1ST love this car. Itís expensive, but Iíll never forget driving it.

THE PORSCHE 911 GT2 RS is MOTORís 2019 Performance Car the Year. Itís so fast, so potent and so powerful that it not only beat 10 of the finest performance cars on-sale today, it beat democracy itself. As you might have deduced, three of the five judges put the BMW M2 Competition atop their lists, but the Porsche scored highest overall. Cue much head scratching. In the end, the Porsche got the nod as the overall winner because was no lower than second on any judgeís ballot, whereas the M2 scored three firsts, a second and a fifth. That means across five judges the GT2 RS had an average score of 1.6, whereas the M2ís average was 2. Porsche wins.

Though I did not personally vote for the Porsche, it takes only a glance at the numbers to know that itís a worthy winner. Simply put, PCOTY has never seen anything like the GT2 RS. Neither have the judges. Rick Kelly put it best: ďItís the only time I have felt acceleration thatís better than my Supercar.Ē Then again, that shouldnít be a surprise, as this ultimate 911 has an almost identical power-to-weight ratio to Rickís Nissan Altima with even more torque.

In terms of outright performance, the GT2 RS blew the other contenders to smithereens. It was 0.44sec quicker to 100km/h than the second-placed R8 RWS, yet was merely warming up. Once rolling, the Porsche was gone. Its 10.63sec quarter mile is the lowest number weíve ever recorded, while its 220.85km/h trap speed is the highest. Its 1.5sec 80-120km/h effort is essentially time travel, while no production car weíve experienced stops better, the RS pulling up from 100km/h in 30.12m. scary part? It couldíve gone even quicker. With more grip the 2.8sec 0-100km/h is surely achievable while a number resulted in 225-226km/h trap speeds.

But the GT2 RS isnít a Dodge Demon, concerned with corners than the between. In a mere 3.41km the Porsche pulled the second-best AMG GT C, itself outstanding performer. A Hyundai i30 N is no slouch Ė by most standards itís a reasonably quick car Ė yet the GT2 RS was 13.3 seconds quicker around The Bendís West Circuit.

Yet PCOTY never has and never will be about pure numbers. If it was we could simply select the winner from a spec sheet and save a lot of time and money. A PCOTY winner has to set the performance benchmarks in its segment, yet also be useable and enjoyable as a road car. The most remarkable aspect of the 911 GT2 RS is its friendliness. It has that uncanny Porsche knack of enough initial compliance to absorb the majority of bumps while retaining ruthless body control on gnarlier roads.

On very bumpy tarmac it struggles, hopping and skipping and triggering the unusually conservative traction control. Porscheís motorsport models havenít adopted the standard carsí ĎSport ESPí setting and while itís not a huge issue in GT3, the enormous torque of the GT2 results in almost constant electronic intervention with the aids engaged, deactivating them on the public road is brave or foolhardy in a car this fast and Owners might aspire to being Walter Rohrl, possess the same level of driving talent. driving a GT2 RS quickly for it to be an event. The theatre starts from the moment you turn the key, the 515kW/750Nm 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat-six erupting with a bassy explosion unlike any boosted Porsche engine that hasnít been strapped into the back of a Le Mans car.

The dual-clutch íbox and light steering make it undemanding to drive, but itís also the noisiest car any of the PCOTY judges have ever experienced.

Road noise is an issue in most 911s, but the enormous Michelin Cup tyres on the GT2 RS thrum so loudly at speed that conversation is a challenge. Thereís so little sound deadening that you can clearly hear the turbos exhaling, the brake pads gripping the discs and the gearbox swapping cogs. This sonic symphony, as well as the way the steering gently dances in your hands over bumps, means you donít have to be driving a million miles an hour to be entertained in a GT2 RS, though Morley is convinced the novelty would soon wear off. Whatever you do, donít touch the exhaust button on the open road, the resulting din is enough to give you a headache in a matter of moments.

But a matter of moments is also all it takes for the GT2 RS to comprehensively blow your mind. The expectations are so high that you donít want to spoil it by immediately flattening the throttle, like holding off opening all your Christmas presents at once.

However, like that one day in December, the concept of delayed gratification is quickly thrown in the bin and the accelerator is pressed to the floor. You can catch a GT2 RS off-boost, but it almost has to be deliberate; more often than not Frankensteinís 911 hesitates for a fraction of a second before rearranging your internal organs.

Itís not quite as violently accelerative as a McLaren 720S, but thatís like saying itís slightly less painful getting kicked in the face by Jackie Chan than Jet Li. Youíre almost guaranteed to blurt out a four-letter word as the tacho rips around to 7000rpm, and another one as the rate of acceleration refuses to slow. Down The Bendís long main straight the GT2 clocked 270km/h and was still pulling hard. The engine has masses of power everywhere, sounds evil and is made even more potent by very short gearing Ė Porsche, please put this gearset in the GT3!

Anyone familiar with traditional 911 dynamics will find the GT2 RS quite shocking. The front-end bite is simply incredible and thereís so much power that even the inherent traction advantage provided by the rear-engine layout canít stop the rear tyres being overwhelmed at will.

On the road this makes it more engaging than its naturally aspirated flat-six siblings; for all the excitement of its screaming 9000rpm redline, a GT3 needs to be driven with total commitment to truly come alive.

On track the Porsche has no equal Ė Rickís biggest complaint was that it needed slicks! It refused to wear out its tyres or brakes, though the water injection did need a fill up at one stage. It also completely refutes the GT2ís widowmaker reputation. A car this fast and powerful needs respect, but loosen the rear with the brakes, pick up the throttle with confidence and this 515kW 911 will happily sit sideways and bonfire its enormous rear tyres. Regardless of whether youíre driving to be fast or have fun, the GT2 is utterly exhilarating.

The only real problem is the price. Itís a relatively weak argument as Porsche opened the production floodgates and is still selling every GT2 RS it can build, but $645,000 (almost $800K as-tested on-road) is a crazy amount of money for a 911. As DC put it: ďPorsche is charging limited-edition money for what is no longer a limited-edition carĒ.

Personally, as incredible as the GT2 RS is, the Turbo S that won PCOTY two years back was very nearly as capable, much more liveable and almost $250K (!) cheaper. However, almost 700bhp has a way of rendering mundane criteria like value quite redundant. If you want the ultimate performance car, this is it.

THE 911 GT2 RS IS UTTERLY EXHILARATING

THE LIST YOU WANT YOUR CAR ON

1996 Porsche 993 Turbo

1997 BMW E36 M3

1998 Porsche Boxter

1999 Porsche 996 Carrera

2000 Porsche Boxter S

2001 Nissan S15 200SX

2002 BMW E46 M3

2003 Porsche Boxter S

2004 Lamborghini Gallardo

2005 Porsche 997 Carrera S

2006 Audi B7 RS4

2007 Porsche 997 GT3

2008 Porsche 997 GT2

2009 Audi R8 V10/ Nissan GT-R

2010 Porsche 997.2 GT3 RS

2011 Nissan GT-R

2012 Porsche 991 Carrera S

2013 Audi R8 V10 Plus

2014 Porsche 991 Turbo

2015 Porsche 991 GT3

2017 Porsche 991.2 Turbo S

2018 Honda Civic Type R

2019 Porsche 991.2 GT2 RS