GT2 RS: The maddest production Porsche ever
Madder even than the 2003 street-spec Le Mans car
GT2 RS is 70kg lighter than the old GT2 and 115kg lighter than the Ferrari 458
Turbo 3.6-litre motor gives 611bhp and 516lb ft of torque
It costs a little over £164,000
Carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic keeps weight low
Only 500 will be made
It doesn't feel brutal at low speeds; conceivably this is a car you could use everyday
The basic interior colour is black, but contrasts with red alcantara detailing
What is it?
Legalised insanity from those wacky folk in Porsche’s Motorsport department or, to put it another way, the maddest production car ever to wear the shield of Stuttgart on its nose. And, no, we haven’t forgotten the Carrera GT. This new GT2 RS is a smidge lighter, a touch more powerful and a vast amount more torquey even than Porsche’s street-spec Le Mans car of 2003.
To achieve that Porsche married the twin turbo 3.6-litre motor from the outgoing GT2 to a substantially modified version of ultra-hardcore chassis of the current GT3 RS. Then, just to make sure the union got off with a bang, it upped the boost of the motor from 1.4 to 1.6bar, neatly liberating another 88bhp to finally gain entry for the 911 to the rather exclusive club of standard production cars with over 600bhp - 611bhp, to be precise.
But this gives no impression of the true potential on tap and for two reasons. First, it gives no account of torque which, when 516lb ft of the stuff sits under your right foot at 2250rpm, is kind of hard to ignore. For comparison’s sake, the Ferrari 458 Italia that everyone’s going to compare the GT2 RS with has just 398lb ft, and you have to wait until the engine is spinning at a dizzying 6000rpm before it can be accessed.
The second unavoidable consideration is weight; at 1370kg, the GT2 RS is not only 70kg lighter than the old GT2, it is also 115kg lighter than the 458. Get this for a fact: not even Ferrari’s 599 GTO can get anywhere near the power-to-weight ratio of this Porsche. But the Porsche costs a little over £164,000, the Ferrari a little less than £300,000.
What’s it like?
Rather boring - if you happen to be an astronaut, top fuel dragster driver or land speed record holder. For the rest of us it shouldn’t come with GT2 RS decals down the side but government health warnings. Those of a nervous disposition or in less-than-complete cardiac health really should avoid this car like a seafood stall in downtown Cairo.
The problem is, it actually appears comparatively tame at first. It makes a lot less noise than the standard GT3 you can buy for half the money, and responds to your first tentative prods of the accelerator rather gently. Conceivably this is a car you could use everyday thanks to a firm but supple ride, tolerable noise levels in the cabin (it’s quieter by far than a Boxster Spyder with the roof up) and Porsche’s typically effective driving environment.
But if you show it the stick you had better had your wits about you. Forget the 3.5sec run to 62mph, because that says everything about the traction limitations of two-wheel drive (a normal Turbo S is quicker over this measure) and nothing about the pulverising acceleration that’s actually available. More meaningful is the 6.8sec it takes to hit 100mph from rest, which puts it within half a second of McLaren F1 pace. If you put your foot down at 100mph, by the time you’ve registered and taken stock of what’s happening you’ll be at or past 130mph.
It asks questions almost any chassis would struggle to answer, but not this one. Although it’s essentially the same as that which underpins the GT3 RS, there are detail differences: rose joints in the suspension for a bit more wheel control, a different compound and construction (though no change in size) for the sticky Michelin Cup tyres.
But for all its speed, neck-snapping grip and improbable poise, the GT2 RS is a less intimate experience than its GT3 RS stablemate. The noise isn’t there which is an inevitable consequence of this kind of forced induction and, for the same reason, nor is the throttle response.
It has the balance of the GT3 RS, thanks to sharing its wider front track, and bites into the apex with the same alacrity as a result, but once there it provides you with fewer options to tune your line through the corner as well as a fairly serious caveat that this is a car you mess with at your peril. The fact that it has almost 200 less easily modulated lb ft of torque, 4500rpm lower down the range, should serve as all the warning you should need.
Should I buy one?
There is nothing like the GT2 RS and that’s an almost entirely good thing. Even so, unless you always dreamed of being a human cannonball, a GT3RS offers a purer driving experience, and the fact that you’ll have to part with around the price of a new standard 911 for the upgrade seems hard to justify at first.
On the other hand, find another car that goes like this for this kind of money, and combines that with 'drive it any day, park it anywhere' ease of ownership. In fact, don’t bother, because it doesn’t exist. I expect the majority of the 500 lucky people who will get to own a GT2 RS will be Porsche completists, unable to bear the idea that someone other than them is enjoying Stuttgart’s ultimate road car, at least until the 918 comes out. And enjoy it they will, for driving a GT2 RS is one of few experiences you know will lodge in your brain forever. It really is that good.
Porsche 911 GT2 RS
Price: £164,107; Top speed: 205mph; 0-62mph: 3.5sec; Economy: 23.7mpg; CO2: 284g/km; Kerbweight: 1370kg; Engine: 3600cc, twin-turbo, flat-six, petrol; Power: 611bhp at 6500rpm; Torque: 516lb ft at 2250-5500rpm; Gearbox: six-speed manual