The Porsche "RS" (rennsport/motorsport) sets Porsche fans' hearts aflutter with memories of the marque's glorious racing cars of the early '70s. The GT3 RS is built to motorsports homologation regulations, yet comes with air-conditioning and a six-speaker stereo system.
The car's 3.6-liter boxer six engine dates from the original 993-era GT1 car and has proven capable of handling up to 700 hp in extremely successful racing campaigns. For this new GT3 RS, Porsche engineers seriously reduced the engine's reciprocal weight and increased its cooling capacity. The extensive updating of the 997-generation 911 has also benefited the GT3 RS. The resulting engine is a gem, producing the world's highest horsepower per liter in a naturally aspirated production engine. With 415 hp at 7,600 rpm and 300 pound-feet of torque at 5,500 rpm, the engine rips its way to an amazing 8,400-rpm redline. This sends reviewers into spasms of glee, raving at the engine's ability to pull right up to its astronomical limits.
While the GT3 RS shares its engine with its GT3 road/track sibling, the RS has been put on a diet. Depending on which scale you use, the GT3 RS weighs 44 pounds (Porsche) or 60 pounds (Car and Driver) less than the GT3. The weight loss is achieved by the use of a plastic rear window and engine cover and a carbon-fiber wing. The acceleration figures reflect its weight loss. Porsche gives a 4.0-second 0-60 time, which is 0.1 second faster than the GT3's. Car and Driver got 4.0 seconds, while Road and Track managed 3.9 seconds. In addition, the RS replaces the more streetable GT3's dual-mass flywheel with the racetrack-specific single-mass version, which allows the engine to rev faster. Top speed is still 193 mph.
The more racing oriented RS has a slightly wider rear track (by 1.4 inches) and is 1.7 inches wider overall to enable higher cornering speeds. And like the GT3, the 997-generation GT3 RS incorporates the traction control system from the legendary Carrera GT supercar. It can be turned off and has a much deeper trigger threshold than "ordinary" Porsches. This means the driver can push the car much deeper toward its limits without electronic intervention. And those limits are deep, with the GT3 RS capable of generating 1.4g on the skidpad.
The GT3 RS is equipped with the PASM electronic/hydraulic suspension control system to broaden its operating range. Although the RS's "normal" PASM mode rides firmer than an ordinary 911, the "sport" mode adds track-level firmness with the capability to respond to surface changes. A revised limited-slip differential proportions the rear-wheel-drive torque to provide for improved control when blasting out of a corner.
Steering is race-car quick, with only 2.6 turns lock-to-lock. Driven with moderate caution the GT3 RS is prone to understeer in the corners. Driven, the way Porsche intended, with intensity, the GT3 RS is neutral, with grip returning fore and aft. Ride height, camber, toe angle, and anti-roll bar settings are all adjustable.
The interior's deeply bolstered front bucket seats (it has no rear seats) are leather with Alcantara inserts. This grippy fabric also covers the steering wheel (which has a straight-ahead marker at the top), handbrake, gear-shift lever, and headliner. Porsche's brilliant PCCB ceramic brake system is an $8,000-plus option.
The GT3 RS is a highly refined track weapon that can be legally driven on public roads to racing events.