DRIVEN TO THE BRINK |
On 30 June 2017, Driven attended the international reveal of the fastest Porsche production car ever built, the GT2 RS, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Finally, nearly four years later, Weissach’s finest ever hypercar revealed its most intimate secrets in the hands of Bernie Hellberg Jr.
2017 was a fantastic year for Porsche. Having just achieved a third win in a row (over the weekend of 17 and 18 June) at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the 919 Hybrid – the most technologically advanced car Porsche had ever built – the company also earned the Driver and Manufacturer titles in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Barely two weeks later, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Porsche revealed another significant milestone in the form of a hypercar for the road – the 911 GT2 RS.
Unfortunately, Porsche did not make the car available to drive at the launch event, instead assuaging the assembled journalists with a driving experience in pre-production versions of the 911 Exclusive Series, which also broke cover at the legendary British celebration of motor racing.
Despite not getting to drive the GT2 RS, it was still an instant hit with the crowd, which made it near impossible to get a half-decent shot of the GT2 RS without Matt LeBlanc and Chris Harris getting in my way. I eventually had to settle for Matt LeBlanc being a permanent fixture in most of my photographs from that day.
Almost four years later, the opportunity to test the 991 GT2 RS finally arrived. At last, the 515 kW, 750 Nm Beast from Weissach was ready to be unleashed.
The GT2 RS (launched two years after the GT3 RS was launched at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show) is in appearance, at least, similar to the latter car; itself a high-performance marvel.
With 383 kW and 470 Nm on tap, the 4.0-litre normally-aspirated GT3 RS achieves a sprint time of 3.4 seconds from zero to 100 km/h. That is darned quick!
Only until you ignite the GT2 RS, that is, and its 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat-six thunders to life with a mechanical roar that will literally wake the neighbourhood.
Endowed with 515 kW (at 7,000 r/min) and 750 Nm of torque, the GT2 RS is (still) the most powerful 911 ever built and, unlike its predecessor GT2, the RS’ power is sent to the drive wheels through Porsche’s bulletproof seven-speed PDK gearbox.
Getting behind the wheel of the GT2 RS, you instinctively know that this is something special. Most notably, it is significantly more spartan than most of its more luxurious 911 siblings – for weight-saving purposes – and the single-mould bucket seats are there to remind you that this is a purpose-built track-focused rocket. Finally, there is the small matter of the roll cage installed in the car and the subsequent omission of rear seats.
On the outside, the GT2 RS has similar air ducts and intakes to the GT3 RS and a fixed rear wing to match. The roof is magnesium, while the front lid, front and rear spoilers, and boot lid are made from carbon fibre. The front and rear apron are made from lightweight polyurethane, while the back and side windows are made from polycarbonate and the exhaust system from titanium.
A Weissach package option (fitted to our test car) is also available, which reduces the GT2 RS’ overall weight by 30 kg through the use of additional carbon fibre and titanium parts. These include the roof, the anti-roll bars and the coupling rods on both axles, while the package is rounded off with a set of lightweight magnesium wheels.
The GT2 RS is easily the most lightning quick car I have ever driven. A car that quickly blasts from standstill to 100 km/h in under three seconds has no mercy, and one becomes little more than a spectator to the sweet drama that now rapidly unfolds around you.
The first law of motion – that a body will remain at rest or continue at a constant velocity until a force is applied – seems to have been hardwired into the GT2 RS DNA. Not content with a 2.8-second acceleration time to 100 km/h, the GT2 RS will gladly apply continued force to reach its 7,000 r/min red line and its claimed top speed of more than 340 km/h without so much as breaking a sweat.
There is an argument to be made that so much power and such a spectacular high top speed in any car is unnecessary, perhaps even borderline ludicrous. Especially when the scope to enjoy a car such as the GT2 RS is limited by road conditions and speed restrictions.
The truth is that such an argument makes complete logical sense. Yet, this car defies logic on so many levels that whatever its abilities are on paper, become wholly inconsequential to those who seek the thrill of speed and for whom fast is simply never fast enough.
Report by BERNIE HELLBERG JR | Images © PORSCHE SOUTH AFRICA