A few weeks ago we decided that the Porsche 911 GT3 RS was/is our favourite driver’s car of 2010. Quite a few of you had issues with our choice, citing the fact that it is little more than a track day special that has no particular relevance as a road car.
One or two of you even questioned the safety of the GT3 RS as a device to be used on UK roads, mainly because it comes fitted with Michelin’s Pilot Sport Cup tyres. These, according to some of you, are so dodgy to use in the rain that Porsche asks all GT3 RS owners sign a disclaimer absolving the company of responsibility in the event of an accident.
So I called Porsche to find out if this is true or not, and it isn’t. There’s no such disclaimer to be signed, not by owners of this car or any other GT3 – RS or otherwise. The man from Porsche told me that our readers might be getting confused with the BMW M3 CSL, which came on similar tyres, and whose owners were apparently invited to sign a disclaimer before they took delivery. But as far as the GT3 or GT3 RS is concerned, there was/is no disclaimer, he said. Not now or at any point in the past.
The reason why is that Porsche is “100 per cent confident that the car is safe to use on the public road” he said. “We did a lot of work with Michelin to get the balance and grip of the Cup tyres to a level that is more than acceptable on a wet or dry road, well beyond speeds that are legal in the UK” he concluded. And let’s face it, to expect anything less from a company such as Porsche would be to misunderstand the way the car industry – and its legal advisers – go about their business in the year 2010.
Admittedly the GT3 RS – or the GT3; they wear exactly the same design of tyre – is not the nicest car in the world in which to find yourself driving on a motorway that’s strewn with puddles, at night. But if you stay within reach of the speed limit you are no more likely, says Porsche, to aquaplane in a GT3 than you are in a regular 911 that’s been fitted with regular tyres.
It’s only above about 85mph and in torrential rain that the thing becomes a bit of a handful – and if you’re the sort of berk who carries on driving at 85mph in torrential rain, you’re probably going to have the accident anyway, no matter what sort of tyres you may be using.
As for the question about the relevance of the GT3 RS as an everyday road car, unless you’ve driven one for yourself on the public road you are not, I’m afraid, really in a position to comment. Some people couldn’t possibly tolerate the levels of road noise or the firm (but far from rock hard) ride quality. Others however would, and do, find the car’s comfort compromises more than acceptable given the trade off in dynamic ability.
Fact is, this car is way more civilized on the road than the armchair enthusiasts would have you believe. And if you don’t believe me, how about listening to Mr Jaguar Himself, Mike Cross, who’d just driven a GT3 RS the last time we met, and who was still reeling in disbelief at “just how usable it is as a road car.”