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Rennsport titans: 991 GT2 RS vs 991.2 GT3 RS

Lambourn, Berkshire, UK. It’s a cloudy yet hot, muggy summer’s day, the mercury creeping into the high 20s by early afternoon. The countryside, booming with life after a soggy winter, is awash with vibrant greens and glorious yellows, vegetation clambering high for the sun above.

However, the most striking shade of green today doesn’t come courtesy of British shrubbery – in fact, it won’t be found in the fields of Berkshire at all. Instead you’ll have to look on the roads cutting through them, the vibrant Lizard green hue adorning those wide, aggressive hips of Porsche’s new
GT3 RS. The ‘Lizard’, as it has affectionately become known as by enthusiasts, storms along an undulating B-road, its low-slung nose glued to the asphalt at the front, its striking wing towering into the sky from behind. Following closely behind is another visually arresting 991: a Miami blue GT2 RS, no less, offering a hot pursuit as it too bobs along, its chassis stubbornly hugging the contours of this bumpy British back route.

Currently the hottest two products from Porsche’s famous GT line, seeing – and hearing – these two 911 Rennsports as they tear through the countryside is one of the most visually arresting sights anyone will have seen for a long time. Boasting gargantuan presence on the asphalt, their rarity (not to mention value) means it won’t be often you’ll see even one of these blue-chip 911s on the public road, let alone both at the same time, side by side.

These are two 991s married by their devotion to delivering the ultimate in modern Porsche performance in focused, lightweight packages, divorced spectacularly in exactly how that performance is administered. It’s 991 GT2 RS v 991.2 GT3 RS – and we’re the first to put these two titans to the test.

Delve a little deeper and you’ll notice the two cars have many similarities in their spec: the most obvious is simply outrageous aero on a super-wide Turbo body. Then there’s a PDK gearbox, an electronic differential and rear-axle steering, not to mention a comprehensive weight-saving program which includes thinner glass, a deployment of different materials and a removal of sound deadening.

But there are key differences too, beginning, of course, with their respective flat sixes. The 4.0-litre unit in the back of the GT3 RS has been carried over from the 991.2 GT3, albeit with revised breathing (in the form of modified intakes and a titanium exhaust) for an extra 20hp, its 520hp total an astonishing feat for a naturally aspirated, six-pot motor. That maximum output is realised at a heady 8,250rpm, though its redline is the headline snatcher, it being a mighty 9,000rpm. This is the first Rennsport to spin all the way up to a full nine grand after the 991.1 was pegged back to ‘just’ 8,600rpm.

The GT3 RS’s engine credentials are mighty, but its Miami blue brother takes things further still – to the tune of 700 maximum horsepower and a ludicrous 750Nm peak twist. The GT2 RS achieves this via alternative means to the atmospheric GT3, bolting bigger turbochargers to the 3.8-litre 9A1 engine found in the 991.2 Turbo S. A remap sees this blown Rennsport achieve what is unprecedented power and torque figures for any road-going 911, ever.

But how do these polarities in power delivery translate on the road? Or do their similarities justifiably pull them together? Most importantly of all, which of these 991 Rennsports offers the most thrilling drive? We had better find out.

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Porsche 991.2 GT3 RS: first look

It isn’t the most obvious place to unveil Porsche’s latest track-focussed, rear-wheel drive machine, but the Porsche Experience Centre, Finland is where Porsche has decided to give us an early look at the next 911 GT3 RS.

Indeed, we’re so early to see it, it has not yet been fully homologated, so all the figures aren’t available. What we can confirm is that all the rumours of a larger capacity, or even a turbocharged GT3 RS are exactly that – rumours. Indeed, the engine, intake, exhaust and electronic controls are lifted almost entirely from the GT3, so that’s a naturally-aspirated, 4.0-litre flat-six revving to 9,000rpm.

Those differences make for a slight increase in power, up from 500hp to 520hp, torque rising by around 10Nm, GT department boss Andreas Preuninger admitting that with the GT3 RS it’s not just about power, but tactility, feel and immediacy. That’s always the promise with an RS, and Preuninger’s team has gone to town to provide it. To achieve that they’ve concentrated on efficiencies, be it the way the GT3 RS shapes and utilises the air it forces through, the control of the suspension, electronic differential, response of the engine and the immediacy of the steering. Every element of the GT3’s make up has been analysed and enhanced in its transformation into the GT3 RS.

Borrowing heavily from its GT2 RS relation, its suspension is all but identical, so bushes are binned in preference of rose joints on every mount – barring the a single one for the rear-wheel steering. The spring and damper rates are essentially that of a 911 Cup car in Nürburgring trim, so there’s significantly enhanced spring rates over the GT3 – as much as double – yet a compliant ride due to the damper settings.

The most obvious carry-over from the GT2 RS is the GT3 RS’s NACA ducts on the bonnet. These, as per its turbocharged relation, not only force cooling air to the brakes, but tidy the airflow up and over the GT3 RS to its rear wing. That in turn is positioned a touch higher, allowing, in conjunction with revisions to the underbody management of the air, the GT3 RS to offer levels of downforce at least as much as if not slightly more than its predecessor, but without generating so much drag.

The top speed remains the same 193mph quoted for the Gen1 car, but that’s likely to be conservative, as is the 3.2 second 0-62mph time. As with the earlier GT3 RS, this Gen2 car will be PDK only, the gearbox, like every other element worked on with some specific RS additions. There are bigger bearings inside, as well as a revised shift strategy, which in conjunction with revisions to software controlling the differential, traction, stability and rear-wheel steering systems allow more speed to be created from the GT3 RS around a track.

How much it’ll manage around that track remains conjecture, as it’s yet to run against the clocks, but Preuninger is confident of a time of around 7 minutes 5 seconds or so. He’s quick to admit that from that sizeable gain only around one second is attributable to the increased performance from the engine, the rest down to the chassis, tyres and aerodynamic changes.

Of course, this wouldn’t be an RS without some mass reduction. It’ll cause some consternation among the detail statos out there, as it’s likely Porsche will quote a kerbweight that matches the outgoing car. That’s 1,420kg in case you need reminding. That, like Porsche’s typically conservative performance figures, isn’t entirely representative, as there’s been a change in the way it can legally homologate the weight, it no longer possible to do so with all the weight saving options on it – think options like PCCB carbon ceramic brakes, plus no air conditioning or radio.

The weight figure, then, is more representative of reality, though Porsche has shifted significant mass, not least 5kg from the interior alone. The biggest potential saving comes courtesy of the possibility of GT3 RS customers optioning the Weissach Pack, which apes that of the GT2 RS, including elements like carbon fibre roof and bonnet body panels as well as magnesium wheels and a titanium roll cage. Choose it and the mass drops by 29kg, though thanks to production delays with the magnesium wheels – which account for around 12.5kg of those weight savings – Porsche will offer the Weissach as a two-stage package, with early customer orders not able to have it with the magnesium wheels.

If you’re in the lucky enough position to have an order in for one you’ll be dropping £141,346 before you add any options – the Weissach Package adding around £21,000 to the GT2 RS, so it’s not likely to be any cheaper here. Like the previous RS, limitations in build capacity, rather than any cap on build numbers will likely mean that individual options like Paint to Sample aren’t offered to UK buyers, in a bid to secure a greater portion of the production availability, though we’re rather taken by the Lizard Green launch colour Preuninger picked for the latest car to wear the RS badge. It’s also good to see the over GT3 RS script making a return, just in case you needed reminding this is something rather special indeed.

 

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