YOU know that house in your neighbourhood that’s painted in a colour that you never thought existed, or at least not in enough quantity to cover an entire house? The house that people frown at every time they drive past, but never pass without looking? Well, sitting in the traffic behind the wheel of a frog green supercar can create a similar reaction from passers-by. Only here, when the colour’s on a Porsche GT3 RS, even though some may not appreciate the significance of the RS badging, you can almost get away with it.
You see, while the 997 series GT3 provides owners with the potential of a Porsche racing car, packaged for the road, the RS (derived from the German translation for motorsport, rennsport) is the car that slots in between the track car and the ever-so-slightly toned down roadgoing version. In a word, it’s the extreme version of the GT3 and, as such, warrants some extreme painted touches.
Our test car was finished in one of four colour options available, which include a less offensive silver with black wheels and graphics, a bright orange with the same black “complementary” touches, and, if you don’t like your wheels black, you can have them in orange – on a black car.
The RS version shares the same 3,6-litre flat-six engine as the GT3, which means it too has 305 kW available at 7 600 r/min and 405 N.m of torque with the rev needle at the 5 500 mark – only here, the most powerful naturally aspirated six-cylinder engine available in a production car has slightly less weight to push around. Our scales place the weight saving on the RS model at 58 kilograms. The official figure is only 20 kilograms, but it obviously depends on which optional extras are specified by the customer. An item that is not an option, but standard on the RS, is the rear section of a race-ready roll cage finished in the same colour as the car. Yes, in our case, bright green. The rest of the cage is available on order…
Weight saving on the RS includes the fitment of an adjustable carbon fibre rear wing derived from GT3 Cup racing, left in its natural finish, and the use of plastic on the engine cover and as a replacement for the rear window.
Although you will already be able to distinguish this extreme GT3 from far off thanks to its colour, from closer up you’ll see that the RS version gains an extra lip on the front spoiler to further increase down-force on the nose, and a 44 mm wider track at the rear, accommodated by the use of the all-wheel drive Porsche Carrera 4’s body shell. Split rear wishbones allow for greater accuracy when setting the rear camber. The wheelbase has also been extended by 5 mm. All of this to make the RS truly mighty at the speeds it is capable of.
Those speeds include an ultimate mark of 310 km/h, and an improved 0-100 km/h time over the GT3 – we got there in 4,47 seconds, bettering our GT3 time by just over two hundredths of a second …
While there are other supercars around that will match, and at times better, these figures, where the Porsche once again comes into its own is in the ease in which its performance is managed. The raceready bucket seats and roll cage may seem a bit intimidating at first glance, but once you are positioned snugly and find a comfortable driving position, the car immediately begins to feel part of you. Our test car had a three-point seatbelt system but, seeing as though everything else was extreme, we would have ticked the four-point harness on our order form.
The RS makes use of a lightweight, single-mass flywheel and close-ratio, six-speed gearbox, perfectly suited to the racetrack but, other than a firm clutch pedal action, it will sit patiently in rush hour traffic waiting its turn for an opening. At idle, the yellow rev counter needle flickers restlessly below the 1 000 mark, like an athlete awaiting the start gun of a 100-metre sprint. Here, the needle’s race is to an 8 400 redline, with a full stride being reached at an exhaust note-altering 4 000 r/ min. On the open road this impressive power band comes into its own as gears, particularly third and fourth, can be held long- er, and with fewer gear changes comes a smoother and more satisfying driving experience.
The alcantara-wrapped steering wheel features a “straight-ahead” marker at twelve o’clock, but this doubles as a target sight as you aim at the apex of the corners on your favourite not-so-straight stretch of tarmac. Steering is extremely precise and accurate, which can come as a slight surprise if you are not used to it, and the RS, like the GT3, will round corners with slot car-like changes in direction. The increased track at the rear, together with a set of wide and extremely sticky – once at optimum temperature – Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tyres, ensures that grip levels are higher then any sane driver is likely to demand. Both GT3 models have traction control derived from the system that keeps the Carrera GT on the road, and this can either be left on full watch, allowed to watch through one eye with the Sport button depressed, or allowed to leave work early when switched out completely.
Our test car sported yellow brake calipers that peered reassuringly through the black wheels, and these served as an early warning of a stiff neck the morning after testing. The optional ceramic brakes anchored-in on command, and brought the RS to a halt from 100 km/h in our 10-stop emergency braking test in an exceptionally good average time of just 2,57 seconds.