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D952, Gorges du Verdon, France

The Gorges du Verdon, also known as the Grand Canyon du Verdon, is a river that has worn itself into the impressive mountain land of the French Provence over thousands and thousands of years. It belongs to one of the deepest rifts in Europe and the steep rock faces reach heights of up to 800 yards.

Northwest of the Verdon lies the beautiful, medieval village of Moustiers Sainte Marie, where we start our drive along the north side of the river. The D952 as it’s called, does not start here, but more to the west in Saint Paul les Durance.

From Moustiers onward signs will lead you to the Gorges du Verdon. The D952 starts to twist and turn right away, and coming out of the woods you will spot the beautiful blue lake of Saint Croix on your right-hand side, into which the Verdon flows.

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Many astonishing views, hairpins and fast corners await, and after a while you will arrive in the small village of La Palude sur Verdon, which is located halfway along the rift on the northern part. From there, an entertaining extra loop can be taken, called the Route des Cretes, also known as the D23.

It’s a narrow, twisting road with nonstop epic views of the south side of the rift and the blue Verdon river. If you are lucky enough, you can spot the vultures flying high in the skies in this area. Be warned, though, because this drive is not for the weak-hearted among us.

The guard rails, or guard walls so to say, are only about a foot high and the drops are dizzyingly high. Rock debris that falls down the mountain can be found around any corner, so keep a keen eye out for that. The D23 takes you back to the village of La Palude, and from there the journey down the D952 can be continued.

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The route goes all the way up to Castellane, but we take the D955, which leads south to the small village of Trigance, and from there on to Comps sur Artuby, and Draguignan, bringing you closer to the Mediterranean Sea.

You will not be disappointed if you go for this option, as about an hour’s drive later you will arrive in the beautiful town of Saint Tropez from this area. It’s pure driving heaven.

verdon france greatest driving roads

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2015 FIA WEC: Six Hours of Spa preview

After a break of just three weeks, the FIA World Endurance Championship heads to the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit in the Belgian Ardenne region this weekend for the second round of the 2015 season.

Last time out at Silverstone, the Porsche Team Manthey squad narrowly missed out on victory with the no. 91 Porsche 911 RSR of Richard Lietz and Michael Christensen finishing second, just over 10 seconds behind the winning Ferrari.

This weekend however, Lietz will be paired with Frédéric Makowiecki in the no. 92 RSR as both the former’s co-driver, Christensen and the latter’s partner, Patrick Pilet will be racing for Porsche North America Racing in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship event at Laguna Seca.

Porsche Junior, Sven Müller races the 911 RSR for the first time at Spa.

Porsche’s line-up shuffling means that the no. 91 car will feature an all-new driver pairing with Supercup racer and Porsche Junior, Sven Müller join Kévin Estre (the latter given permission to race for Porsche by McLaren).

Both drivers will be making their FIA WEC debuts at the demanding Belgain track however, the German-French duo have already acquitted themselves well, topping the times in today’s wet first practice session.

The second free practice session, also blighted by heavy rain, saw Lietz and Makowiecki lead the GTE-Pro field in their Porsche 911 RSR, setting a lap time nearly 0.3 seconds faster than the trailing no. 99 Aston Martin.

Nick Tandy swaps across the Porsche 919 Hybrid garage for his first competitive outing in Weissach's LMP1 racer.

Down the pitlane, the Six Hours of Spa also marks Porsche’s warm-up event for June’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. In the LMP1 class, the two full-season 919 Hybrids are joined by a third top class racer piloted by F1 star, Nico Hülkenberg, 2014 Supercup champion, Earl Bamber and our very own Total 911 columnist, Nick Tandy.

Like the rookie pairing of Müller and Estre in the 911 RSR, the no. 19 Porsche 919 crew topped the times in one of today’s practice sessions with Bamber setting the fastest lap of FP2 despite only completing four tours of the track.

Qualifying takes place today, with the GTLM session starting at 6pm CET and the LMP1 session getting underway at 6:35pm local time. The six-hour race is green flagged at 2:30pm CET, concluding in the Belgian dusk on Saturday evening.

For all the latest Porsche race and rally news, check out our dedicated motorsport section.

Porsche dominated Thursday's wet free practice sessions in both the LMP1 and GTE classes.

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How to rate your favourite Porsche 911 with Just A Score

Earlier this week we asked you to start giving every Porsche 911 in our data file section your own rating using the new Just A Score app (available now for iPhone and Apple Watch).

Now, with this quick video, you can see how simple it is to get scoring with Just A Score. We’re finding it fiendishly addictive here in the Total 911 office so, be warned, once you start scoring, you’re likely to continue. Which is just as well because data file currently houses 96 Porsche 911s of all shapes and sizes.

You can download Just A Score from the App Store here.

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Actualité : WEC : Porsche se joue de la pluie à Spa

Le Porsche Team a dominé la première séance d’essais libres des 6 Heures de Spa-Francorchamps, entrée en matière largement perturbée par la pluie et…

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Five reasons the Porsche 991 GT3 RS has to be perfect

We’re just a month away from the first drive of the new Porsche 911 GT3 RS, a car we first officially set eyes on in Geneva last month. We’re giddy with excitement about getting behind it’s Alcantara-clad steering wheel however, the build-up has also given us time to realise that the latest Rennsport has to be perfect. Here are the five reasons why:

1) To allay our fears over turbocharging

When we first saw the spy shots of the 991 GT3 RS test mules, the air vents in the rear arches (carried over from the 911 Turbo) immediately caused some people to think that the Rennsport was switching to forced induction. Is nothing holy?

This, as it turned out, was a completely false dawn. However, the 991 GT3 RS is likely to be the last car launched by Porsche before the 911 Carrera becomes turbocharged as standard, a massive change in Zuffenhausen’s central philosophy.

Turbocharging is coming. But the Rennsport needs to stand firm.

As such, the 991 GT3 RS needs to reassure us that naturally aspirated, howling flat sixes still have a place in the back of a 911 because neunelfer enthusiasts are going to want some links with the past to remain intact.

2) To make up for the 991 GT3 engine problems

Last year’s 991 GT3 engine problems left a sour taste in the mouth for some Porsche fans. After dropping the universally-adored Mezger, the new 9A1-based flat six had to be up to Weissach’s high standards.

Unfortunately, a brace of widely publicised con-rod failures ended up with two 991 GT3s self-immolating at the roadside. It wasn’t a complete PR disaster – the decision to replace all engines for new units was the right thing to do – but it did see some people lose faith in the concept.

The 991 GT3 has had its problems. The RS version can't afford the same.

The knock-on of the GT3’s problems was that the Rennsport version was heavily delayed (it was originally due to be released last year). Along with the extended wait, the 991 GT3 RS has to perform faultlessly straight out of the box.

3) To prove the 991 generation is a true 911

The 991 is, physically speaking, the biggest Porsche 911 ever. Gone are the days of small, lithe sports cars. Along with the switch to electric power steering, a seven-speed manual gearbox and compulsory PDK on GT3 and Turbo models, there are some who feel that the 991 is no longer a true 911.

That is, of course, hokum but it doesn’t negate the fact that the new 911 GT3 RS needs to act as a halo car for the 991 generation. The ‘standard’ GT3 is an excellent car but, when the history books are finally published, the 991 GT3 RS needs to go down as a Weissach icon.

911 GT3 RS

With an even more focussed spirit and a number of technological firsts, it looks likely that this will be the case. Hopefully the latest Rennsport lives up to its goal-post-moving potential.

4) To keep up with the competition

Even since the arrival of the 991 GT3 in March 2013, there have been some incredible cars released by Porsche’s rivals. The Ferrari 458 Speciale seems to have rewritten the rules books of what it means to be a track-focussed sports car in the 21st Century.

Likewise, the Nissan GT-R Nismo provides similar levels of performance and ability for a healthy fiscal saving over both prancing horses. Suddenly, as loathe as we are to admit it, the 991 GT3 looks outgunned.

Cars like the Ferrari 458 Speciale have moved the boundaries. But, the 991 GT3 RS will move them further...

Therefore, the 991 GT3 RS has to step up to the mark. 911 fans will still love it but, from a wider perspective, it has to at least keep up with the Joneses (though in true style, Porsche will want it to do much more than just that).

5) To topple the 997 GT3 RS 4.0

The 991 GT3 RS’s creator, Andreas Preuninger has mentioned that, as a standard production model, the latest Rennsport is actually a successor to the Porsche 997.2 GT3 RS.

However, with a new 4.0-litre engine, the new 911 GT3 RS already has its sights firmly set on the 997 GT3 RS 4.0, even if the latter was a limited edition model, created to celebrate the end of an era.

Everyone loves the 997 GT3 RS 4.0. The latest Rennsport needs to generate that same enthusiasm.

With twice as much downforce, the new RS looks more than a match for the 4.0, but can it match the special character of the latter? We’ll have to wait and see.

Do you agree with us? Does the Porsche 991 GT3 RS have to be perfect? Join the debate in the comments below, or head to our Facebook and Twitter pages now.

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