02 PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS

Driving nirvana, if youíre hard enough

BY SCOTT NEWMAN + PICS ELLEN DEWAR

NOTHING ABOUT the Porsche 991.2 911 GT3 RS makes sense. It defies expectations, logic and certainly physics, delivering a pure hit of driving adrenaline straight to your rapidly pulsating heart. It doesnít make sense that a car that looks like itís escaped from the Bathurst 12 Hour grid should be allowed on the public road. It has a bright green roll cage, ferchrissake!

The Lizard Green paint definitely doesnít help it blend into the background, but the GT3 RS could be painted dishwater grey and still spin observersí heads quick enough to cause whiplash. The 911 Turbo bodyshell gives the RS a very Instagrammable, erm, RS.

Optioning the $34,390 Weissach Package lays a liberal layer of carbon fibre across the top of Porscheís road racer, the bonnet, roof and rear wing all shedding weight, while elsewhere the anti-roll bars and shift paddles also cop the carbon treatment.

If youíre truly offended by the thought of extra kilograms, an extra $7600 will substitute the steel roll cage for a titanium one to save 12kg and a further $26,600 will add magnesium wheels and drop another 11.5kg. A $68,590 option package wonít make sense to most, but the take-up rate suggests it makes very good financial sense for Porsche at the very least.

While the chassis engineers went to extreme lengths to remove kilograms, the aerodynamicists did everything they could to add them back on in the form of downforce. At 200km/h the GT3 RS enjoys 144kg of air pressure, more than double the standard GT3 (69kg) and more than the equally wildlooking Jaguar XE Project 8 makes at 300km/h (122kg)! That ironing board rear wing plays a huge part, but so do the vents in the front guards, which suck out the turbulent air created by the turning wheels and pin the nose to the ground.

Front-end response is where the GT3 RS separates itself from every other 911 bar perhaps the equally focused GT2 RS. An extra 37mm of front track and 20mm-wider front tyres (265/35) make a mockery of the weight distribution; if youíre understeering in a GT3 RS on the road, youíre probably already on needed an extra two cylinders and a pair of turbochargers to do so.

The acceleration is enough to require your full attention, a difficult task when the engine emits a piercing mechanical scream like some undead monster from Game of Thrones. It can catch you out: whereas turbochargers give you the full hit almost instantly, the GT3 RS keeps accelerating quicker and quicker as the revs rise, exponentially decreasing the distance between you and your braking point. Itís important to keep your wits about you.

Just how Porsche manages to make a car with massive wheels and virtually no suspension travel ride with compliance is engineering witchcraft, but it canít completely defeat physics. On a bumpy back road the GT3 RS can be a wild ride, the steering constantly wriggling in your hands as it chases cambers and undulations and the revs flaring as the rear suspension runs out of ideas and lets the tyres skip free of the surface. Never is it unruly - only once in hundreds of kilometres over scarred roads does the splitter kiss the ground - but it does demand a certain workload from the driver.

THE ENGINE EMITS A PIERCING SCREAM LIKE SOME UNDEAD MONSTER FROM GAME OF THRONES

Thereís no point trying to exploit the limits of the GT3 RS on the road - itís simply too fast, too capable. After a full day behind the wheel criss-crossing Victorian twisties I was mentally shattered simply because youíre invariably going to be operating at your limit rather than the carís - at full your way to a crash as youíve clearly made a mistake. The rear tyres are equally fattened, but even 325mm-wide Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s arenít sufficient to harness the savage brutality of one of the most ferocious production engines ever built.

For all the wizardry contained within the GT3 RS chassis, the experience is utterly dominated by the berserk 4.0litre flat-six in the rear. Itís tough to know where to begin, so letís start with the raw numbers: 0-100km/h in 3.18sec, 0-200km/h in 10.61sec and an 11.07sec quarter mile at 203.78km/h. Elsewhere in this issue youíll find the MercedesAMG GT R, which recorded exactly the same 0-200km/h time as the 911, but attack itís berserk, a tarmac assassin, its engine matching the ferocity of the Ferrari 812 Superfastís V12 but with a chassis of equal focus. Itís bordering on being too intense.

Put your sensible hat on and itís tough to make a case for the GT3 RS. As a road car the new 992 Carrera S offers more accessible performance with far greater refinement and comfort, whereas if youíre that addicted to track days, buy a Cup car. But then nothing about the 991.2 GT3 RS makes sense. This doesnít stop it being possibly the greatest performance car currently on-sale and inarguably one of greatest driving machines of all time.