CAPE TOWN– Click, click, click, click – the sound of the Schroth six-point harness clicking in place. There are only a few cars in the market which offer this option, and the latest 991.2 Porsche 911 GT3 RS is one of them. You know when you pull the straps tight over your chest and legs that you are about to experience something quite exceptional.
Behind the wheel
Pottering through mid-morning traffic is a chore but, when the first mountain pass arrives, it takes just a few corners to realise the capability of the 991.2 911 GT3 RS. In second gear, with 5 000 r/min showing on the rev counter, I plant the throttle. The RS rabidly leaps forward (the response not unlike all-wheel drive) as the rev needle flits past 8 000 r/min. As the pointer hits 9 000 r/min, I pull the small carbon-fibre paddle mounted on the steering wheel. The onslaught continues, with the raw, intense sound of the 4,0-litre flat-six infiltrating the cabin. My co-driver and I can’t help but laugh out loud.
The chassis of this sportiest of RSs (if you discount the limited GT2 RS) allows for crisp turn-in of the nose, partly assisted by the rear-axle steering. Climb on the throttle at any point in a corner you might think is too early and that rear axle simply squats and fires the RS forward. The steering wheel brims with feedback, despite being electrically assisted, while the brakes are strong but barely see the body pitching.
Inside, like all 911s, the driving position is perfect thanks to a particularly low-sited bucket seat and rake plus reach adjustment on the steering column. It’s a treat to spot the roll cage (with additional support members compared to the previous generation model) and that oversized wing in your rear-view mirror. Peak at the side mirrors and those large air intakes aren’t coy about the significance of this model in the 911 line-up. Up front, the driver has an evocative view of the bonnet and its NACA ducts – which suck in air to assist with front-brake cooling – and air outlets above the front wheelarches are prominent. It’s all pure automotive theatre.
But back to the driving… Snaking through the Overberg on rural roads, the RS commands attention from pedestrians and road users. On these pitted surfaces, the chassis generally displays great composure. But not all the time. On occasion, the RS feels unable to deal with larger bumps and crests, which see it lose its cool a little. Hit a smooth piece of tarmac, however, and its abilities are stratospheric.
That’s the ideal time to select PDK sport on the drivetrain-management system. It heightens the aggression on the gearshift mapping, leaving each shift for the redline. Meticulous rev-matching downshifts are accompanied by barks from the engine and the double exhaust pipes. This is comfortably one of motordom’s best powertrains.
Fitted with numerous options, counting the much-loved Weissach package (including titanium wheels and roll cage, unpainted carbon-fibre parts and magnesium wheels as well as carbon-fibre front and rear sway cars and coupling rods), this particular car costs more than R4-million. Considering some of these options aren’t crucial, a well-specified GT3 RS could come in at under R4-million and still provide a level of performance and ability beyond reach of cars costing double that. An educated guess would place it at the top of our Killarney Raceway track index in the hands of Deon Joubert. Sadly, due to Porsche’s limited insurance cover, we’ll probably never find out.
There are rumours swirling round the internet that Porsche will terminate its hallowed naturally aspired GT3 engine and it’ll be a tremendously sad day if that happens. For now, though, let’s celebrate the sheer of brilliance of the GT3 RS, a sportscar that operates on a supercar plane, but in its own inimitably unique way.