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911 GT2 RS 3.6 – 620 ch [2011]

Well-Driven Lotus Struggles to Match GT2 RS Around Silverstone

It’s quite easy to become desensitized nowadays as, for better or worse, driving a 700-horsepower car doesn’t seem suicidal. Perhaps I’m just a little jaded, but cast your mind back fifteen years, when even 500 horsepower was something that seemed genuinely dangerous, almost a weapon.

Well, perhaps it was then, and perhaps it is no longer. After all, the 991 GT2 RS’ has been able to shake the model’s widowmaker reputation. Steps forward in aerodynamic and mechanical grip, a much friendlier handling balance, a manageable torque curve, and a paddle-shifted gearbox make the latest version a massive step forward from its forebear. Compared to the 997 GT2 RS, a loony car for a rare breed of brave men, the current flagship is—dare I say it—almost clinical.

So, with all that refinement and predictability, it seems another quick car must be used as a benchmark to convey just how absurdly quick the latest force-fed RS is.

The pursuer, an automotive photographer by the name of George Williams, has one of the niftiest track cars around: a Lotus Exige. However, this one has been touched by Komo-Tec, who’ve increased the engine’s output to 463 horsepower with a different pulley, a chargecooler, and a newer intake and exhaust system. Pushing around just 2,425 pounds, it is frighteningly quick and responsive. Plus, a Quaiffe limited-slip differential, a set of big Komo-Tec brakes with Performance Friction race pads, and top-tier Nitron coilovers make it a wonderful all-around car that is completely exploitable on the circuit.

That said, it’s not a pussycat, and is happy to spin the rear wheels—even at higher speeds. It helps that Williams is a very talented shoe, and knows Silverstone and his car well enough to drive in this dramatic, tail-out fashion. Some of those sideways antics are caused by an odd choice in tires—Michelin Cup 2 on front, Nankang NS2R on the rear—and the racing splitter in front, but he manages the car beautifully, despite having to dial in opposite lock regularly.

Still, even with all those assets, Williams struggles to keep the GT2 RS in his sights. Every time a reasonably straight section of the course presents itself, the gray Porsche pulls away and, at times, becomes a speck on the horizon. Only when traffic halts the Porsche’s progress can Williams get a good look at its broad rear haunches, then remark on how cool it is.

Only in the tightest sections, when aided by traffic, can Williams close the gap on the remarkably powerful GT2 RS.

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Porsche 997 v 991 GT2 RS tested on track

When we think about ‘Porsche’ and ‘Rennsport’, which connotations spring to mind? For me it’s the many ingredients which make the visceral experience of a raw 911: ostentatious aero; a stripped interior; loud, mechanical noises from inside the car; razor sharp throttle response and direct, unfiltered steering. The concept of a turbocharger wouldn’t be high on the list of too many enthusiasts.

Perhaps it should though, for Porsche’s history with turbocharging is as rich as its narrative with racing, the company’s endeavours on the track spawning the concept of its Rennsport cars for the road in the first place. Even before the company had unveiled its 911 Turbo to the world in 1975 it had already set about trying to race it. Built by Norbert Singer, the 2.1 Turbo RSR was constructed according to FIA Group 5 rules and pitted alongside sports ‘silhouette’ cars from rivals including Ferrari and Matra. It raced at Le Mans in 1974 – with every top-level Le Mans Porsche since using forced induction.

It finished 2nd overall to a Matra driven by a certain Gérard Larrousse, keeping a host of open-cockpit prototypes honest. It was no fluke: the RSR Turbo went on to record another 2nd place in the Watkins Glen 6 Hours, 7th at the 1,000km at Paul Ricard and 5th at the Brands Hatch 1,000km on the way to helping Porsche finish third in the World Sports Car Championship that year.

Alas, it was to be the only turbocharged 911 to officially adopt the Rennsport name. New rules from the FIA stipulated a change, Porsche going on to spawn the 911 Turbo-based 934, 935 and 936 thereafter. That is, until 2010. Following three generations of GT2 in the 993, 996 and 997, Porsche unveiled the 997 GT2 RS. Ostensibly a Frankenstein of the 997.2 Turbo S and 997 GT3 RS 4.0, it was a carbon-clad, lightweight monster with rose-jointed rear suspension, its tuned, twin-turbo motor making it the most potent road 911 of all time with a mighty 620hp at its disposal.

Although it never really featured in top-level works or customer racing (save for Jeff Zwart’s record-breaking Pikes Peak run in 2011), the 997 GT2 RS looked to be sharing the 2.1 Turbo RSR’s destiny of being an exotic anomaly interwoven in the Porsche Rennsport tapestry. There was no indicator of a successor in the pipeline, the 991 generation skipping the GT2 moniker entirely. Then, in autumn 2017 at, of all places, the launch of a new Xbox racing sim, Porsche announced the arrival of its 991 GT2 RS.

With only 500 997 GT2 RS’s and an estimated 2,000 991 GT2 RS’s worldwide, it’s not often you’ll see one of each generation side by side. However, that’s exactly the sight we’re treated to on arrival at Silverstone’s Porsche Experience Centre ahead of our twin test of both these performance goliaths. Representing GT2 RS genesis, the established 997 is the platinum smash hit, its 991-shaped replacement posing as the awkward second album. Can it really take Porsche’s blown Rennsport to a new level?

We’re yet to turn a wheel in either, but the 991 is already asserting itself, towering above the 997. The 991 simply looks like a Cup car, albeit with licence plates, its rear wing dwarfing the 997’s comparatively modest proportions. We’ll save the comparisons for later, though. After a quick cuppa and sign-on, it’s time to get reacquainted with the 997.

For the full feature on our 997 v 991 GT2 RS track test, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 171 in shops now. You can also order your copy here for delivery to your door anywhere in the world, or download to an Apple or Android device of your choice. 

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Rare 997s: six special editions

For some, it’s the ultimate generation of the Neunelfer: melding that classic 911 design with modern-day performance and sophistication, the 997 has it covered. While the earlier Gen1 cars brought back equilibrium for the 911’s aesthetics and build quality after six divisive years of 996, the arrival of the Gen2 in 2008 improved on reliability, usability and performance. Gone was the troublesome IMS bearing and bore scoring that had plagued the M96 and M97 engines. The new 9A1 engines had direct fuel injection, which offered better power with economy. Porsche also said goodbye to the Tiptronic gearbox, an archaic transmission by this point, replaced by the swift and intelligent dual-clutch PDK transmission still utilised in 911s with two pedals today.

Revered by enthusiasts and automotive journalists, the 997.2 has forever been thought of fondly, never suffering from the negative press incurred with the 996 or 997.1 (the latter thanks to question marks over its engine’s reliability). Of course, the ultimate barometer of success is to be found in sales figures, which were positive given the global financial meltdown in which the Gen2 cars were born into.

You could argue that Porsche itself looked auspiciously at the 997 era of production. With what was an all-new generation of 911 in the 991 firmly on the horizon, the company sought to celebrate this era with a series of run-out models that would truly leave their mark. Over a period of 730 days between 2010 and 2011, the company released no fewer than six special editions, all a consummate raid of the parts bin at least or, at best, a truly unique car, courtesy of the Exclusive department. Not since the 964 or 993 generation had the throng of special-edition 911s rolling off Porsche’s production line been so rich.

Just seven short years later, Total 911 has gathered this stellar sextet with Hexagon Classics in a world first. Most are worth far more than list price – incredible for a Neunelfer less than ten years old – and all are now appreciating. This is their story and brilliance, and why they were sure to be deep-rooted to the Porsche 911 hall of fame from the moment they rolled off the production line…

To read the full story, het your copy of Total 911 issue 162 in stores now. You can also order your copy direct to your door here, or download to any Apple or Android device. 

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997 GT2 RS Thrashed on the Limit!

Sandwiched in between a pair of spiffy Ray Bans and a wrapped rollcage, a GoPro captures some incredible footage of a 997 GT2 RS driven to and beyond the ragged edge of adhesion. After a few tire-warming laps, the fearsome grunt of the blown 3.6-liter is deployed and we get a glimpse into why this Porsche is so revered. It’s not just rarity which catapulted this monster to the position of cult icon, but it’s the way it gets down the road with such ferocity, the way it seems to slow time on the brakes, and the otherworldly levels of grip available at both axles that made the turbocharged Porsche GT2 RS both feared and loved.

In the video above, at 4 minutes and 20 seconds in, the terminal speed at the end of Mantorp Park’s front straight is 140 mph, and seconds later, that speed is easily halved. If the eye socket-emptying deceleration wasn’t impressive enough, the way the Porsche’s front end responds after some threshold braking is. You might be excused if you thought this GT2 would plow straight off, but instead, the incisive RS follows the driver’s hasty inputs and cuts a tight line into Mantorp’s Turn 1.

Where the right pedal is concerned, it’s pretty composed once the tires are warm. All 620 horsepower are delivered without much fuss or wheelspin; in fact, the only real corrections made are during a mid-corner lift, and that looks completely controllable. That dependable traction and ability to trim a line make it confidence-inspiring.

Still, it’s no pussycat. It demands respect, and when the front washes wide at 6:26, the corresponding lift off the throttle makes the back end sashay briefly. It requires a deft touch, and rarely can even an experienced driver rest behind the wheel of this fire breather.

Constant, small corrections are necessary to keep this sharp-edged machine under control.

The post 997 GT2 RS Thrashed on the Limit! appeared first on FLATSIXES.

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VIDEOS:Jeff Zwart+GT2RS+Pike’s Peak=Modded Street Car Goes Racing

We absolutely love everything about the videos attached on the following page and all that they stand for. In the first one, the legend, the myth, the factory Porsche racing guru hot shoe Jeff Zwart drove a 997 GT2 RS a total of 1,132 miles from Porsche Motorsport’s headquarters in Santa Ana, California to the Pikes Peak Hillclimb in Colorado, where he raced it in the 2011 event. The only modifications they did to the car were the installation of a factory European spec Club Sport roll cage, associated safety equipment and minor interior gutting, a Recaro race seat, slapped on some 18″ BBS 3 piece alloys with Michelin racing tires, and used lightweight plastic GT3 Cup doors. He ended up finishing in second place in his class behind a full tube framed Hyundai race car and set the record for the quickest street legal car to ever have run the course. We think that it’s all sorts of cool, and we are sure that you will agree. Please continue on the next page for the videos and pictures from the race, as well as a bonus we threw in from 2013. And here he sets the record for the […]

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