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911 991.2 [2015 – ]

Porsche’s GT2 RS Wins Car & Driver’s Lightning Lap With A New Record Time

It seems like just yesterday we were hearing about Porsche’s wild 918 Spyder taking the new VIR production track record during C/D’s Lightning Lap in 2014. That record was taken down just last year when they ran a Ford GT just one tenth of a second faster than the 918. One tenth of a second seemed right at the time, and a massive step forward for technological progress, because the GT doesn’t use any hybrid or four-wheel drive to accomplish its lap time. This year, the Ford was sent home with its tail between its legs, because three cars not only beat its time, but demolished it completely. The McLaren 720S and Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 ran more than three seconds faster than the old Ford’s time. Porsche’s GT2 was a further TWO SECONDS quicker around the lap with a 2 minutes 37.8 seconds lap. That’s a full 5.2 seconds faster than Ford’s low-slung carbon-tub car, with a 911.

Here’s what Car and Driver had to say about the GT2 RS:

« For something with its spec sheet, the GT2 RS is surprisingly forgiving. A sharp turn of the wheel concurrent with a mashed gas pedal will induce oversteer, but with smooth inputs, you can floor the throttle a beat or two before it feels sensible. Braking from 165.2 mph doesn’t cause so much as a wiggle of instability from the heavy end. Where other cars bounce over curbing, the GT2 RS seemingly glides over concrete serrations. It is hard to believe how little body roll there is. »

That’s not all, because Porsche entered two additional cars in the Lightning Lap competition, a brand new GT3 which ran just 9.2 seconds slower than the GT2 RS with a two minutes 47 seconds lap, and dead on exactly the same time as the 991.1 GT3 RS ran a couple of years ago. It wasn’t fighting for the overall title, but it was the 17th fastest car in Lightning Lap history.

Here’s what Car and Driver had to say about the GT3:

« As you get comfortable in the GT3, more of your focus can turn to enjoying the speed it generates—and the sounds, the 4.0-liter hammering redline 18 times per lap. What’s a small-block? Ferrari who? You’ll forget every other major perform­ance player when ripping the GT3 up the Climbing Esses…« 

Then there was the 718 Cayman GTS, which punched way above its weight class, setting a 2 minutes 56.7 seconds lap to beat Audi’s TT RS by more than two seconds. More impressively, perhaps, it was just a few tenths of a second slower than last year’s Audi R8 V10 Plus, and nearly a second quicker than a 997.2 Turbo S back in 2011. In this year’s field, however, the 718 ranked just 9th.

Here’s what Car and Driver had to say about the 718 Cayman GTS:

« Before staring down the Corvette ZR1 on our final day at VIR this year, we first went out in the Cayman. Like starting your day with a cup of coffee or stretching before a run, a lap in a Cayman is the preparation you need before a big mental and physical challenge. And while it might not have supercar power, it has the magic. »

To see the full leaderboard from all past Lightning Lap events, including this one, click this link. You’ll see a lot of Porsche on that list.

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2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS (Weissach) Review

Porsche set a new record Nurburgring Nordschleife record with the new Porsche 911 GT3 RS; 6 minutes 56.4 seconds. This is the third Porsche to deliver a sub-7 minute laptime following the Porsche 918 Spyder and the GT2 RS. At first sight the new GT3 RS looks quite modestly powered with an output of 520hp […]

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Special Report: Exploring Wales With A Porsche 911 GTS

The Alps – a mountain range that stretches 1,200 kilometers and eight alpine countries across Europe. Even the coldest and darkest of hearts feel inspired looking up through the cotton clouds at infamous peaks such as the Matterhorn, Mont Blanc and Jungfrau. There are no mountains without earthquakes and there are no mountains without mountain […]

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Porsche 911 GT3 vs Lotus Evora GT430 – hardcore drivers’ car showdown

Is the fastest, most expensive road-going Lotus to come out of Hethel enough to oust the mighty Porsche 911 GT3 from its lofty perch?

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930 3.0 v 991: evolution of a species

Second gear, just before the apex of the tightly radiused corner. Squeeze the power and wait for the 930 Turbo to spin up and deliver boost. 2,500rpm and nothing is happening. 3,000rpm and still nothing of significance. In fact, it’s feeling like a slightly flat, normally aspirated Porsche. Three-and-a-half grand and finally we’re feeling a shove between the shoulder blades, the boost gauge below the rev counter now stirring. Suddenly that softly sprung rear is squatting down and the nose is lifting, and we’re being pushed hard at the horizon. The revs rise at a disproportionate rate to what was happening a second ago and I’m readying for that long-throw 915 shift across the gate and into third gear, hoping that I can shift it briskly enough that the engine doesn’t fall off boost.

Ahead of us there’s a vivid, gold 991 Turbo S Exclusive Edition that only seconds ago was filling our windscreen and has now almost vanished over the horizon. The 930 Turbo, now on boost in third gear, is covering the ground rapidly, yet there’s just so much distance to make up. An awful lot has happened in Porsche technology in the last 40 or so years… and not only in turbocharging technology. In fact, today is proving to be such an education and reminder of automotive technology advancement that it’s going to take some time to gather my thoughts.

These two Porsche 911 Turbos are both utterly beautiful. The fact that they both happen to be shades of gold that reflect the prevailing fashions at the time of their production is a happy coincidence that makes for an attractive photoshoot here in North Wales. They are both equally stunning to behold, and of course both are rear-engined. However, beyond that the differences are so stark that they provide probably the most graphic illustration possible of how the Porsche 911 ethos of Darwinian evolution has brought us to what is probably the pinnacle of internal combustion engine technology today, without the addition of hybrid power. We have here the beginning of the Porsche Turbo and quite possibly the end, together on the demanding roads of the Evo Triangle.

I’ve driven the 991-generation Turbo before, so its performance is nothing new to me. It’s fair to say that I am a devoted fan of the 911 Turbo as a road car. I fully accept the argument that the GT3 line has a purity of throttle response that is linear and telepathic, yet there’s something about the effortless, devastating overtaking capability of the 911 Turbos of each respective generation that has given me many happy memories over my years of 911 driving. Most enthusiasts would admit that if there were only one Porsche to drive every single day for the rest of their life, it would probably be a 911 Turbo.

It’s for the best that I’m driving the 930 Turbo first. At least that way it stands a chance to impress with that charismatic, early generation power delivery. The nicely adjusted 915 shift has only four gears, and I’m reminded as a former 1979 Turbo owner just how often you use first gear around the town. Those junctions where you may normally dip the clutch a little and keep it rolling in second gear need a slow, deliberate shift down to first that ideally requires a little heel toe and timing to achieve smoothly; you’re using first as an actual gear here, rather than something you select once stationary. Leaving it in second can strand you mid-junction in a black hole of performance that can be a little embarrassing if you’re not careful.

The steering is unassisted and heavy, weighting up in the traditional 911 way as soon as the corners become significant. It’s not difficult – unless you’re trying a three-point turn in a side street – but it’s heavy nonetheless and gives your wrists a workout, with the steering wheel doing its unique 911 feedback dance over road imperfections. The ride is certainly firmer that a standard 911, though it’s far from hard.

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