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Porsche 991.2 GT3 RS v rivals

It won’t be under seven minutes,” said GT director Andreas Preuninger when I asked him about a Nürburgring laptime at the 991.2 GT3 RS reveal in Finland earlier this year. He was wrong: it is, and comfortably so, the Lizard green RS lapping the ‘Green Hell’ in 6 minutes 56.4 seconds in the hands of Porsche works racing driver Kévin Estre. That’s 24 seconds faster than the previous GT3 RS, which is little short of incredible.

It underlines the changes to the second-generation car, revisions which, on paper at least, look relatively insignificant. The engine is now that of the current GT3, albeit featuring a differing intake and exhaust. Its power creeps up – not leaps up – to 520hp, it revving to the same, glorious 9,000rpm. The increase is just 20hp over the GT3 and the Gen1 GT3 RS, Preuninger suggesting in Finland that the extra power would only account for a second or so worth of improvement.

Aerodynamic revisions, the immediacy and intricate control of the engine, the electronic differential, rear-wheel steering and PDK transmission and, crucially, the suspension would play their part, too. The new car borrows heavily from its GT2 RS sibling, that means 991 Cup in Nürburgring specification-derived, solid-mounted suspension, with spring rates double that of the outgoing RS, but softer dampers and anti-roll bars. It’s here that Preuninger suggests the biggest gains have been made, and on the road there’s no denying they’re revelatory.

If the 991.1 GT3 RS felt the most distinct departure from its mere GT3 relation previously, then the 991.2 shifts the RS genre into a different area again. The changes on the road are scarcely believable. Had you told me a 991.1 GT3 RS could be so comprehensively out-pointed I simply would not have believed you. The most familiar element is its engine, Porsche’s naturally aspirated 4.0-litre unit a masterpiece, previous experience of it in the standard GT3 underlining that. In the RS it’s sharper, even more immediate and sounds absolutely incredible. The GT department has worked extensively on the systems controlling it, indeed, the entire GT3 RS project defined by adding precision and accuracy to every single element of the car’s controls.

You notice that as soon as you brush the accelerator, the enthusiasm to spin up to its redline even more apparent than with the GT3. The differing intakes, the titanium exhaust and the loss of some carpet and sound deadening give it a clearer, more evocative voice, too, the mechanical sound not raw, but cultured with edge. Peak power’s at 8,250rpm, but just try and avoid chasing that redline at 9,000rpm. There is no let-up as you do, the reward not just the evocative notes the flat six creates, but the continued rush of acceleration across its entire rev-range.

We’ve not got the Nürburgring at our disposal today to explore that, instead we’ll make do with the de-restricted country roads around the Isle of Man. The RS can stretch its legs here, though it might not be able to do so were it not for the sophistication of the suspension. It’s here, specifically, that the GT3 RS takes an evolutionary leap over its predecessor. The GT2 RS-derived set-up allows incredible control and composure, despite tarmac that’s about as far removed from a racing track as it could possibly be. Imperfections on the surface are the norm, smooth tarmac here evidently anomalous, which makes it even more incredible to think that the bike racers who call these roads home during the TT races carry so much speed down these same roads.

For the full group test against the 996 and 997.2 GT3 RS, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 166 from the shops now or order it direct to your door here. You can also download to any Apple or Android device. 

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1967 911R prototype: story of R4

Such is the historical importance of the 911R for Porsche, it’s ludicrous to think the car was relatively unheard of for years for even the discerning enthusiast compared to, say, a 2.7RS. Indeed it wasn’t until the arrival of the 991 R last year, itself a seminal moment in the legacy of our beloved 911, which really shone a light on those 20 early cars and their acute significance to the brand with Stuttgart’s prancing horse on its nose. And to think some of those 20 original ’67 Rs were still available as late as 1970!

The brainchild of one Ferdinand Piëch and the lightest Neunelfer to ever leave the Zuffenhausen factory, the R set the benchmark for the endless engineering possibilities Porsche would accomplish for its cherished 911 platform. Perhaps more importably though, its creation really started the 911’s unrivalled racing legacy, something which, more than 30,000 race victories later, Porsche is still incredibly proud of.

The R, then, wasn’t just built so Porsche could go racing – plenty of early 911s in both T and S guise had already tasted success in competition at various events around the planet – moreover it was an inquisitive exercise to find out just how much the company could evolve its new 911 sports car for competition purposes. In the end, these cars marked the beginning of the process of a Porsche 911 sports car being homologated, a move which would culminate in many historical feats at some of the world’s most famous races and events. That’s quite an imprint on history: simply put, Porsche’s later and notable success at La Sarthe, Daytona, and Sebring to name a few all starts right here with the creation of the 911R.

Though there were only ever 20 production 911Rs built, four prototypes were initially created, those cars pulled from the production line originally in 911S specification. Those four R prototypes are today known as R1, R2, R2, and R4, so named in accordance with their production dates. The car you see in our pictures is that of R4, the last R prototype Porsche built, which today can be found in Scotts Valley, California, its Lemon yellow coachwork glistening under the showroom lights at Canepa. However, its journey to this point is nothing short of remarkable, taking in four countries and two continents despite still being the lowest-recorded mileage R rolling the planet.

For the full feature on this incredible 911R prototype, pic up issue 159 of Total 911 in hardcopy here or get your digital copy from Apple or Android newsstands. 

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VIDEO: Magnus Walker drives the Ghost Outlaw

Magnus Walker may be more commonly known as the Urban Outlaw thanks to a Total 911 article way back in 2011, but in his latest video the Porsche personality has swapped the concrete jungle of his LA base for the greener, rainier expanse of the UK’s Shropshire countryside.

Magnus made the 10,000-mile round trip to drive what he describes as one of his favourite OPPs (Other People’s Porsches) of the moment, a modified 3.2 Carrera now colloquially dubbed the Ghost Outlaw. The full video can be found here, and keep an eye out for Total 911 issue 161 where you can learn all about the mysterious flatback Carrera featured in the film.

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2.7RS Touring vs Lightweight

For many Porsche enthusiasts, the 1973 2.7 RS is the early 911 at its peak. It was the first road-going Porsche to wear the Rennsport badge, and indeed the first 911 called ‘Carrera’. Its legacy is enviable, its influence incalculable. Andreas Preuninger – godfather of every RS since the 996 GT3 – even had one on his bedroom wall.

The 2.7 RS story begins with the demise of the 917. After an illustrious career, including two Le Mans wins, Porsche’s sports car racer was outlawed in 1972. In search of a sequel and keen to stimulate sales, engineering director Ernst Fuhrmann set his sights on the 911. 500 such examples were required to homologate a race-ready version for FIA Group 4: a legend was born.

Porsche used the 2.4-litre 911S, the quickest 911 at the time, as the basis for the RS. Its air-cooled flat six was bored out to 2,681cc, with low-friction Nikasil cylinder linings helping boost power from 193bhp to 213hp at 6,300rpm. Torque jumped up too, from 211Nm to 255Nm at 5,100rpm.

More significantly, the car was subjected to a crash diet, with thinner body panels, lighter bumpers and a complete absence of creature comforts. This cut weight to just 975kg in original RS Sport spec models (factory code M471) – usually called Lightweight or RSL. Many customers craved a little luxury, though, and after the initial 200 Lightweights were built (plus an additional 17 RSH homologation cars), Porsche acquiesced with a further 1,308 RS Tourings (factory code M472, or RST): better equipped and 100kg heavier. It’s the spec differences between these two versions we’ll focus on here.

Seeing one 2.7 RS quickens the pulse, but the sight of two in convoy, blatting boisterously up a B road, is enough to give any Porsche fan palpitations. ABW 356L is a fully-restored 1973 Lightweight owned by Nick Hart. ABW 131L, separated by just a few chassis numbers and with a near-identical number plate, is a 1973 Touring, kindly supplied by Autofarm.

What makes this classic coming together even more special is that both cars are Light Ivory with blue decals: arguably the most iconic colour combination for Porsche’s most iconic car. Interestingly, the two features that define the ‘RS look’ today – the ducktail spoiler and Carrera side script – were both delete options, although it’s rare to find a 2.7 RS without them.

The two 911s pull over, the clamour of 12 horizontally opposed cylinders suddenly silenced. At first glance they look all but identical. However, an impromptu game of ‘spot the difference’, led by Autofarm director Mikey Wastie, quickly reveals they’re anything but.

To read the full in-depth feature of our 2.7 Carrera RS Touring v Lightweight test, pick up a copy of Total 911 issue 158 here or download from Newsstand. 

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Time warp Targa

There’s a Porsche marketing poster, released at the time of the 996 Carrera 4S Cabriolet launch in 2002, which says ‘Every hour a Porsche spends parked: you cannot get that time back.’ It’s a wonderful piece of marketing that should perhaps make a comeback, given the propensity today among buyers to acquire a 911 and then park it in the hope of making a buck some day in the distant future.

However, historically speaking, the concept of a Porsche being left motionless for a prolonged period of time isn’t unheard of, though more often than not this was due to financial burden, not investment. The 911 wasn’t as valuable a sports car as today’s markets would have you believe, and so if a used example developed a major problem, this could easily signal the end of its working life, the expense to fix it often impractical or even uneconomical for its owner.

Anguished to sell the car on, owners simply garaged their pride and joy in the hope of one day fixing or restoring the 911 back to its former glory. Sometimes this played out as fairytale, other times it didn’t, the car lost and forgotten about for years – decades, even – until one day being rediscovered by a family member or otherwise. These cars are called barn finds.

Let’s face it, we all love a genuine barn find story. Famous for the chronicles physically etched in their coachwork, they are a time warp, a total motoring preserve of a bygone era. Bedecked in patina, these are the cars that undeniably peak the interest of an enthusiast over a car that’s been completely restored. The car has a story to tell, and we want to hear about it.

David Gooding of leading auction house Gooding & Co exemplifies this, telling us in issue 156, “People prefer more genuine human stories with a car that has much more meaning to it – that’s why a barn find is the most pure classic you can have.” As classic 911 values have increased in recent years, so has the rate at which these barn find cars are being unearthed, each story seemingly more enchanting than the last. The tale of the barn find in front of you, however, is frankly the stuff of legend…

To read the full article, be sure to pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 157 now. You can order your copy here or download from Apple Newsstand or Google Play

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