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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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Mark Webber Shows a Tennis Legend the Quick Way Around Silverstone in a GT3 RS

With 11-time Grand Slam champion Rod Laver sitting shotgun, Mark Webber showcases his textbook-smooth driving, his dry wit, and his affability. These qualities help convey some of the sensations that a professional racing driver experiences on a regular basis, and some of the exhilaration that makes someone want to strap themselves into a 500-horsepower supercar. It’s enough to put a mile-wide smile on Laver’s face.

Always a cool customer, the octogenarian tennis legend listens calmly as Webber relays the basics of road course racing and demonstrates the absurd stick and speed of the GT3 RS. Webber’s smooth style converts Laver’s initial expressions of shock and awe into joy. There’s a special mixture of comfort and concern that anyone riding in a thoroughbred sports car with a world-class driver gets to experience.

Though this conversation is occasionally drowned out from the roar of the 4.0-liter engine, the two have obvious rapport. Their sincere, broad smiles demonstrate they’re both on something of the same wavelength while negotiating the technical Porsche Experience Center at Silverstone, despite the obvious difference in experience. Chalk some of that up to a wonderful teacher—and a pupil whose mind is still open to new experiences despite spending eight decades on this earth.

The two Aussie sporting legends beam before leaving the pits.

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Nico Rosberg Slides a 918 Around Silverstone

« It’s not a road car, it’s a race car. »

You might think that a Formula One World Drivers Champion would find a hypercar a little on the tame side. Perhaps that’s a little hyperbolic, but there’s no denying that a successful career spent in the world’s fastest racing cars must render a full-weight passenger car, on road-legal tires no less, a few rungs down the excitement ladder than most mere mortals would feel.

Which is why his sincere reaction—I’m not aware of any sponsorship deals Rosberg has with the marque—to the 918 is so captivating. The response, the steering feel, and the power delivery all impress the 2016 champion, but the launch really knocks his socks off. If the hybrid acceleration and four-wheel drive enable a fully occupied, 3,600-lb sports car to leave the line like Rosberg’s former F1 steed could, that’s about as high praise as any hypercar can receive.

The look in the German’s face as he launches says it all.

The communicative, rigid chassis clearly impresses the champ, as demonstrated by the opening quote. Within one lap, Rosberg is hucking the 918 into the corner and bending it through the mid-section, braking late, and even dropping wheels in the grass. It’s all quite dramatic; however, the corner exit is always straightforward, easy, and almost clinical. It’s a wonderful demonstration of the playfulness of the car as well as the efficient drivetrain which deploys all that incredible power without much fuss. Who better than Rosberg, a very economical and cerebral driver, than to show off its merits? The two go together perfectly.

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Porsche’s Results And Photos From The Six Hours Of Silverstone

Porsche had an extremely up and down day in England on Sunday during the six hours of Silverstone. This race saw a second win in a row for the GTE-Am category Dempsey Proton Racing squad of Matt Campbell, Christian Ried, and Julien Andlauer, as well as an additional 911 RSR in third place on the podium. In the GTE-Pro category, however, the day looked fine and dandy when Richard Lietz and Gianmaria Bruni brought their car to the finish in second place behind the winning Ferrari, but they were disqualified in the post-race tech shed when their ride height was found to be a bit below the allowance. Making up for that car’s exclusion from the race was the consolation prize of Michael Christensen and Kévin Estre being promoted up from their fourth position finish to the final podium spot.

The weather was warm and partly cloudy when the race got underway, and despite the country’s propensity for wet weather, the race managed to stay dry for the full six hours. Estre managed to make a great start from the grid as a crash at the front sidelined many competitors and he took full advantage. The car later fell back a handful of positions with a tire puncture while Christensen was at the wheel. With some good pit strategy the team was able to recover to the front and occasionally grab the lead again. By the end of the race, however, a big battle with the #67 Ford GT ensued. There was a lot of beating and banging between the two cars, and certainly no love lost. The Ford shoved its nose up the back of the Porsche ahead, and while it was attempting to make a pass stick, Estre kept the pressure on and some side-to-side contact was also made. Ultimately, the Ford came out the better of the deal and with just a few laps remaining moved into third (which would later turn into second).

The GTE-Am category was similarly enthralling. The Dempsey Proton crew started the race from second position behind the Project 1 squad of Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, and Egidio Perfetti. The Project 1 team led the race for over four hours of perfectly timed racing, but an error during a pit stop called for a stop and go penalty that dropped them back to fifth. The team spent the final two hours of the race working their way back up to third for a well-deserved podium. When the Project 1 car fell back, the Dempsey car moved up into the lead and stayed there until the checkered flag fell. It was pretty resoundingly a Porsche-dominated race in the Am class.

Comments on the race

Pascal Zurlinden (Director GT Factory Motorsport):

“Unfortunately we were informed after the race that an irregularity was detected in the ride height. That threw our number 91 car out of the classification and advanced the number 92 car to third place. We’re still leading the manufacturers’ and drivers’ classifications. Now we need to focus on the next tasks.”

Kévin Estre (Porsche 911 RSR #92): 

“Our race started well and I moved into first place after the start and built up a comfortable lead. Unfortunately, Michael was hampered by tyre problems during his stint. We had to call him in earlier than planned and change our strategy. This enabled the Ferrari to overtake us in the pits. At the end, our tyres weren’t fresh enough to attack again. Still, I’m satisfied with our result.”

Julien Andlauer (Porsche 911 RSR #77):

“In my first stint I didn’t do such a great job – I stressed the tyres a little too much while pursuing the leader. After talking with the engineers my second stint went much better. We definitely had luck on our side when the penalty was handed to our rivals. Still, we were in the right place when it mattered. In the end we performed strongly as a team and can be proud.”

Jörg Bergmeister (Porsche 911 RSR #56):

“That was a race with a lot of highs and lows. We held the lead over long stretches, but then came into the pits under safety car conditions. Unfortunately we received a 75-second stop-and-go penalty, which threw us down to fifth place. Luckily I managed to work my way up to third place in the last lap – a conciliatory result for us.”

GTE-Pro class Race result 

1. Pier Guidi/Calado (I/GB), Ferrari 488 GTE EVO, 172 laps
2. Priaulx/Tincknell (GB/GB), Ford GT, 172 laps
3.. Christensen/Estre (DK/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 172 laps
4. Lynn/Martin (GB/B), Aston Martin Vantage GTE, 171 laps
5. Tomczyk/Catsburg (D/NL), BMW M8 GTE, 171 laps
6. Mücke/Pla (D/F), Ford GT, 170 laps
7. Rigon/Bird (I/GB), Ferrari 488 GTE EVO, 157 laps
8. Sorensen/Thiim (DK/DK), Aston Martin Vantage GTE, 155 laps

GTE-Am class Race result

1. Ried/Andlauer/Campbell (D/F/AUS), Porsche 911 RSR, 168 laps
2. Yoluc/Adam/Eastwood (TR/GB/GB), Aston Martin Vantage GTE, 168 laps
3. Bergmeister/Lindsey/Perfetti (D/USA/N), Porsche 911 RSR, 168 laps
4. Dalla Lana/Lamy/Lauda (CDN/P/A), Aston Martin Vantage GTE, 168 laps
5. Mok/Sawa/Griffin (MAL/J/IRL), Ferrari 488 GTE, 167 laps
6. Wainwright/Barker/Davison (GB/GB/AUS), Porsche 911 RSR, 167 laps
7. Ishikawa/Beretta/Cheever (J/MC/I), Ferrari 488 GTE, 167 laps
8. Roda/Roda/Cairoli (I/I/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 167 laps
9. Flohr/Castellacci/Fisichella (CH/I/I), Ferrari 488 GTE, 158 laps

 
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Actualité : Silverstone Auctions : Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 MFI 1974

Le 21 octobre prochain dans le cadre de la « Porsche Sale » qu’elle organisera sur le circuit de Silverstone, la maison Silverstone Auctions va…

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