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Letter From The UK: A Day With The Porsche GT3 RS

Happiness is a state of mind. It can take many forms. It may be a first love, the thrill of a winter storm, a sunny beach at dawn or just waking up in the morning and finding you are still alive. A while back, this writer found yet another way to feel truly happy thanks to the Lizard Green car you see in the images; a vehicle that can take driving to new, dizzying heights and thrust the them into another dimension of time and space: the Porsche GT3 RS.

That’s why this writer is happy.

Happy because he recently spent a day behind the narrow leather steering wheel (with a Lizard Green colour-matched “top-dead-centre” marker, natch) of the Porsche GT3 RS. He would have been even happier had his beloved wife chosen to come along for the ride. Sadly, she declined, saying, “I’m not getting into that green thing with you driving.”

Sometimes, love can hurt a man.

Thus the loving caresses were saved for the GT3 and the ride paid me back in many ways. This car is superb and made extra special by the Porsche as featured being a one-off example; a Porsche employee was allowed to specify it to his precise instructions. Ultimately it is bound for Porsche’s heritage fleet. Happiness, then, is a 4.0-liter, naturally aspirated flat six, grumbling and barking and screaming behind you delivering plentiful, precise power delivery and an evocative soundtrack via an increased rev range.

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Geoff Maxted’s Porsche GT3 RS outside the Porsche offices in Berkshire, England. Photo: DriveWrite Automotive.

No Ordinary Car

The Porsche 911 does not change over the years, it evolves. Just when you think it can’t get any better, it does. Somehow the Porsche team always seem to find that little extra something.

One of the few 911’s without turbocharging these days, the GT3 RS still lays down an explosive 513 bhp, whisking you from zero to 62 mph in just 3.2 seconds. That’s from a standing start of course; it’s the in-gear acceleration that really counts and it is majestic. From 50 mph to 75 takes just 1.8 seconds, flicking quickly through the sport-tuned, seven-speed PDK short-ratio gearbox. It happens faster than you can say it. It is necessary to remember that this car is, essentially, a racing car that just happens to be road-legal.

Remember the days of the wayward rear end of a 911? Oversteer at best and heading for a disaster in the trees at worst? Not anymore; at least not with this car. The Porsche GT3 RS utilises rear-wheel steering, specially re-calibrated for the job. It works extraordinarily well. Adaptive engine mounts, an electronically controlled locking differential with torque vectoring, and more aerodynamic trickery that you can imagine all work together in conjunction with the massive tyres to provide unimaginable grip.

In the dry, anyway.

Devil In The Details

The steering is enormously precise. You simply cannot miss your apex. Front end traction going into corners makes the car feel totally flat and stable; there’s nothing twitchy going on. On the way out the shove from the rear is immense, yet the car is so well setup it does not induce fear and apprehension.

Always, the GT3 is whispering in your ear like a little devil: “Go on. You can do this.”

Fortunately, although at extra cost (This is Porsche remember. Everything you want is an optional extra.), you can choose huge Porsche Ceramic Composite brakes. Since the car as tested costs around $180,000 the supplement won’t really cause a ripple in your bank balance and, seriously, you really do want these brakes. The modulation is superb; no grabbing or snatching or fading even under heavy pressure. This car can stop as quickly as it gets to a top speed of 193 mph.

Oh, and crucially there’s a button that turns the volume of the titanium twin sport exhaust up to VERY LOUD.

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Photo: DriveWrite Automotive.

Inside The Cockpit

One of the most surprising aspects of this ultimate sports car is the ride. The Porsche GT3 RS is quite amiable when pottering about. Sure, it’s firm and the occupants can feel the bigger blemishes of the road surface, but on a smooth road all is serene. Everything is kept in order by an adjustable chassis and Porsche’s Active Suspension Management, the variable dampers being sport-tuned.

The fixed-back carbon-fibre seats, and the steering wheel, have ample adjustment although there are no rear seats in this version, the better to accommodate the scaffold-like roll bar, because, well, you just never know. There is an adequate storage pit for weekend luggage under the front hood as usual. If you can live with the noise long-term then this is a motor you could use every day.

The Bearable Lightness of Driving

Rather than supplementing with forced induction, Porsche have chosen to follow the mantra of the late, great Colin Chapman of Lotus fame who said, “First, add lightness.” It still holds true today. The bonnet, front wings, and engine compartment lid are all manufactured in carbon fiber. There are no interior door handles, just straps: that’s a few grams shaved off right there.

The weight saving continues throughout the vehicle but not at the expense of comfort and the model shown had all the technological modern conveniences you would expect in any one of those run-of-the-mill, ordinary prestige cars.

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Photo: DriveWrite Automotive.

The Happiness

It is no exaggeration to say this was the best drive I have ever had. It is truly impressive how Porsche’s designers and engineers have fettled every aspect of the car, every component working in harmony with all others. It’s a symphony on wheels played by Iron Maiden. It’s a fairground ride fashioned by gods. It is, in truth, automotive Nirvana.

This is not the sort of car this writer usually drives; expensive cars, yes, fast cars certainly, but never something that could be taken to a track as is and immediately break records. The drive was sublime.

I never once felt out of my depth and the throttle responds gently to the lightest of pressure which means none of those sudden, panicky “hurtling forward” experiences.

The Awesomeness

After spending some time getting used to the car and how it responded to inputs, the opportunity finally occurred to properly put the boot in. Warp speed: See traffic disappear in the rearview mirror; see hedgerows blur and the road rush toward you. Catch brief glimpses of pale faces as you flash past other cars, suddenly speeding way above the national limit, accidentally and briefly, obviously.

It was an experience that will live on in my motoring memory.

Being a reserved and distinguished Englishman who wears a Panama hat I am not given to exclaimed, excited verbal outbursts or automotive hyperbole, so deploying the word “awesome” is not usually in my lexicon, but as the Porsche GT3 RS is the finest driver’s car ever made, I will make an exception.


Geoff Maxted is a motoring writer, photographer, and author of our Letter From The UK series. Follow his work on Twitter: @DriveWrite

Letter from the UK