The sheer genius of Porsche’s legacy of modern GT3 RS models could not have been delivered over the past 12 years if Porsche’s top engineers and executives didn’t have an instinctive and brilliantly accurate sense of exactly what the typical dyed-in-the-wool petrolhead is prepared to put up with on the road in order to get his or her kicks on the track.
It’s a compromise that other makers regularly misjudge. But today, just as it did in 2003 with the 996 GT3 RS and probably in 1973 with the 2.7 RS, Porsche has judged that compromise close to perfection. Most enthusiasts, for example, would tolerate a bit of road noise in return for the kind of lateral grip the RS produces.
Just to be clear, though, the RS creates more than a bit of road roar, but if that bothers you on the occasions you’re not wearing a helmet, there are always earplugs. This isn’t an ordinary sports car, after all.
And what you get as a pay-off for that noise is staggering: not only incredible adhesion to the asphalt but also quite breathtaking handling balance and response, and equally astonishing levels of feedback from all four corners of the car.
Almost none of the rules we’ve learned over the years about the quirks and foibles of a 911’s handling applies to this car. It dives into corners with an unshakeable determination to make the apex, almost regardless of what you happen to be doing with your feet when you turn in.
You could argue the previous 911 GT3 RS did that, too, but not as keenly and certainly not with the same mid-corner stability that this new car’s clever rear axle grants. With the electronics active, the RS corners as hard as any hypercar we can think of. And when you turn the PSM off, it becomes a more adjustable, absorbing, communicative and dynamically characterful device than almost any other driver’s car on sale.
Those vivid track thrills forgive an awful lot – and the truth is that the RS doesn’t need to be the perfect road car in order to secure its reputation. If you hadn’t experienced what happens on a circuit, for instance, you might find the car’s animated steering a little too lively over B-road bumps.
Although calmer than that of other track-intended machines, the steering certainly requires two hands on the wheel. You might also wonder at how easy it is to bottom out the RS through hard-charged compressions, or you might simply adjust the car’s ride height between extended road and track sessions – which is just one of several things that Porsche’s clever rose-jointed suspension system allows you to do.