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GT2 RS Clubsport Provides Sunday Drivers With Cheat Codes

As Porsche’s first track-only 911 with turbos since the 993 GT2, the 991 GT2 RS Clubsport has a lot to prove. Both the 996 and the 997 versions of the GT2 came with the Clubsport option, but both were still street legal and neither received the same level of development over the « base » model. Perhaps that’s for good reason. Those generations were bloodthirsty thugs, while their successor is a much tamer animal. Still a monster, without a doubt, but the 991’s performance is more accessible to the competent driver, and the added downforce and simplicity of PDK shifting simplify the driving experience somewhat. Because this car wouldn’t bite its owners heads off at the slightest mistake, it’s not surprising then that Porsche saw a sizable market for a stripped, slick-shod version of their Nurburgring king.

A full rollcage, forged suspension links, a 115-liter FIA-certified fuel cell, an a Recaro race seat with longitudinal adjustment and padding system offers the driver peace of mind. The extensive aero package—including a carbon underbody—give it stability and inspires confidence at speed. An optimized water sprayer mean the motor’s full 700 horsepower will always be available to the driver; no heat soaking that plagues the roadgoing version and cuts total output after a few hotlaps.

Considering the speed that all that power offers, these are not qualities as much as they are necessities. Especially since the GT2 RS Clubsport is available to any paying member of the public. Fortunately, the car looks almost friendly, and this middle-aged man looks relatively comfortable putting in a respectable lap around Spa Francorchamps in one.

There are no hysterics, no snaps, and no hopping through high-speed corners. Look at how he gingerly navigates Radillon and Eau Rouge and still carries staggering speed. You know the car will offer the seasoned professional more, but there’s an astounding level of performance available to the skilled trackday driver. Though this car’s balance is benign from the start, adjustable traction control, stability management, and anti-lock brakes only make the car more accessible. That’s not a term you often use to describe a 700-horsepower 911.

Even well below the limit, the straightline speed is enough to leave most supercars in the GT2 RS Clubsport’s mirrors. It must be a huge confidence boost to pass cars which are clearly driven at the limit when just pushing six-tenths. With straight-line speed that bests that of some prototypes and makes a 997 GT3 look like an econobox, there aren’t many cars which accelerate like this one. Plus, with a confidence-inspiring chassis, every session with the GT2 RS Clubsport must feel like someone changed the game’s difficulty to easy and turned on a few cheat codes for good measure.

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Never Underestimate Porsche’s Wet Weather Performance

9 minutes and 11 seconds isn’t a long time to tell a single story, much less five. Despite that, Porsche has taken on the challenge of telling five unique stories each month with their 9:11 visual magazine. This month, the theme is water- mostly rain, but also the indomitable force of the sea itself.

The Passage du Gois seemingly has very little to do with the 911. This ~2.5 mile causeway floods twice each day with the coming of high tide. Though it has twice hosted the Tour de France, and annually holds a foot race against the rising tide, it is not a motorsports venue. What it is, however, is nearly-continually wet.

This is key, as the latest 911s incorporate a new wet weather mode. Uniquely, this new mode senses the severity of conditions with acoustic sensors in the wheelwells. In addition to the long-standing modes included with PASM, the new wet mode makes a variety of tweaks for optimal wet-weather performance and safety. The new system opens the cooling vents, raises the rear spoiler, and softens throttle response, but retains the full power and performance of the car.

This theme of wet-weather capability pervades the video. The R Gruppe is visited in the rain, with black sheets of rain sloughing off the surfaces of a variety of air-cooled Porsches. Hans Joachim Stuck’s 1987 appearance at Le Mans is highlighted, drawing attention to both the varied and went conditions, and to to his legendary 9-star crash helmet.

We know that Porsches thrive in the wet, but it takes someone perhaps less-than-sensible to drive so swiftly in the rain. Fortunately, the current crop of Porsche GT drivers have proven they have Ickx-style mettle.

The video closes with Porsche’s triumph at Spa, where the Porsche GT team clinched the manufacturer’s championship a full round prior to the end of the season. Even though the team didn’t claim a GT-class victory at Le Mans, they closed the season a full 94 points ahead of Ferrari in the manufacturer’s standings.

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Is Rain the Great Equalizer? GT3 RS Hunts GT2 RS At Spa-Francorchamps

They say rain is the great equalizer. Well, the two fastest of the latest GT lineup put that old chestnut to the test on a sodden Spa-Francorchamps, where turbo power shouldn’t offer much of an advantage. Does it?

Interestingly, the turbocharged grunt of the GT2 RS seems more useful at slower speeds.

Getting passed on the inside of La Source (0:10), we can see what the GT2 RS’ additional 180 horsepower can reap if the road is straight. However, the man in the GT3 RS is quite handy, and seems to roll more mid-corner speed and avoid running off-line in the tricky conditions.

After the force-fed car ahead misses the braking point for Bruxelles (1:09), the GT3 RS is back in contention again. Through Pouhon, one of the most challenging corners on the track, the GT3 RS claws back some distance. Either the normally aspirated motor is that much more tractable, or the man ahead isn’t as comfortable at high speeds. In any event, we know the GT2 RS isn’t as friendly when the limit is surpassed, and having run off-line a few corners prior, he’s likely driving cautiously.

Interestingly, the GT2 RS has a slight advantage in some of the slower corners—the 516 lb-ft from 1,900 rpm helps. It just goes to show that, even on a fast track, additional power is only good if it’s exploitable.

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Three Racing Veterans Reminisce on Their Time with the Porsche Family

Since parting company with the 919 Hybrid, Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas, and Timo Bernhard have returned to their roots in GT racing, with each of them driving for Porsche’s customer teams at this year’s 24 Hours of Spa.

Recapping on nearly two decades of racing, much of which they shared as teammates, the three drivers have clearly lost none of the motivation which got them to the top step of sportscar racing.

Though battling in GT3 Rs didn’t quite match the sheer speed of the 919 Hybrid which he helped develop, the thrill of the GT cars are just as appealing as the prototypes, as Bernhard elaborates:

« There’s a lot more movement, obviously. But, to run Eau Rouge in a GT car, it’s—it’s less in speed, but it’s not less in excitement compared to an LMP1 car, because the car is moving quite a lot; you’re sliding, drifting a bit. It’s a bit more old-style, I would say. »

Though Dumas and Bernhard have continued racing full-time, Lieb made a major professional change recently. The former driver and engineer recently became Porsche’s newly-appointed Head of Customer Racing. Fifteen years racing for Porsche gave Lieb the intimate understanding of the sport and the business that will help him expand the marque’s already-sizable customer racing base.

(Left to right) Lieb, Dumas, and Jani pose on the podium after their victory at Le Mans in 2016.

It’s a pleasure to witness these three seasoned veterans’ ever-present smiles and hear them wax lyrical about their times with the marque—to see that their enthusiasm for motorsport, in all its forms, still flows out of every pore. Truly, to be become part of the Porsche family is an honor and a privilege, as these drivers demonstrate.

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Taking Cues from the World’s Greatest Tracks: Porsche’s Leipzig

Taking the best from some of the most challenging racetracks in the world, Leipzig is an FIA-certified fantasy land for road racers of all stripes. Designed by Hermann Tilke, a former racer best known for his creation of numerous circuits on the F1 calendar, Leipzig mimics some of the world’s most famous corners for a uniquely challenging experience.

The first of which is the high-speed Sunset Bend, as borrowed from Sebring. This bend requires commitment and accuracy. The next is modeled after the famous Loews Hairpin from Monte Carlo. Famously slow and tight, this bend is deceptively difficult and requires perfect braking—both in application and release.

The stunning layout is complemented by the lush surroundings.

Next comes the Victoria Turn, as based on a now-replaced corner at Rio de Janeiro. Tilke notes, « As you pass through the dip of the bend, you move from oversteering to understeering, which is what makes this bend so exciting. » Before the bend, Tilke recommends braking smoothly, reducing the vehicle speed and then moving into the turn with precision but without understeering.

The high-speed Mobil 1 S, as borrowed from the Nurburgring, follows. Careful usage of the curbs and a courage pay dividends here. The challenging Lesmo bend, as found originally at Monza, is long and difficult to plan; luring drivers to carry too much speed and run out of road come exit.

To master the Bus Stop, as borrowed from the original Spa-Francorchamps, drivers must brake assertively, change direction over the curbing, and try not to overcook it while the car is subjected to loading from every direction.

The rollercoaster descent of the Corkscrew comes next. With a 12% gradient, this corner mimics the Laguna Seca original and gives drivers the sensation that their stomach is coming up through their esophagus. Quite a sensation when approaching a blind corner with such a steep drop.

The Parabolica challenges drivers and car; it seems never-ending and rewards bravery and high entry speeds. The subsequent esses, as taken from Suzuka, require constant attitude changes and an incredibly precise application of the throttle to keep on-line. Impetuous, greedy driving will yield poor speeds.

These are only some of the great bends that make up Leipzig. With unique characters and specific challenges, these corners keep the driver constantly on their toes; supreme confidence is needed to master this involving track.

Hop onboard for a lap of the circuit in a 4.0-liter 997 RS.

 
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