The Porsche 911 GT3 RS is made for special days and special roads

Step behind the wheel of a 'Lizard Green' Porsche 911 GT3 RS and the road beckons – especially the twisty bits.

By Paul Gover, August 12 2019
The Porsche 911 GT3 RS is made for special days and special roads

There are many caramel soy latte cars on the road, but only a handful that carry the double-shot espresso kick of a Porsche 911 GT3 RS.

This is serious motoring, pared back to the essentials by a company that, since the 1950s, has made its name building some of the world’s best sports cars.

If you want a proper adrenalin kick, it’s almost impossible to top the GT3 RS. It’s a rowdy, rambunctious riot on the right road.

Splash the test car with Lizard Green paint and you trigger giggles wherever it goes. Some of those come from the driving seat, and I admit to my own eruption of enthusiasm when I first hit the Start button on the green machine.

Mean and green

It’s not lost on me that there are lots of ‘green’ cars in the world, whispering around cities and going charger-to-charger with their electric battery packs. Kermit here is not one of them.

It’s about explosive and high-revving six-cylinder power with track-tuned suspension, super-grippy tyres, stop-now brakes and even a rollcage for the racetrack, for the full RS effect.

Porsche now banks its biggest cheques from selling the company’s SUVs, the Cayenne and Macan, both of which fund the continuing evolution of the enduring dream machine, the 911.

The question is, does the modern iteration retain the edginess and excitement of the ‘50s original?

After all, generations of 911s came with an implied health warning about tail-happy handling, thanks to the rear-mounted engine hanging like an internal-combustion pendulum behind the back wheels. If you lifted off the gas while challenging a curve you were asking for trouble, and liable to spin into the scenery.

Stable genius

Porsche has tamed things a lot over recent years, and most modern owners have no fear of a ‘60s-style off-road excursion. The 911 has become older and more sensible – more like a Lexus in the effortless way it gets motoring done.

In 2019, Porsche rolled out a car called the 991.2 as its 911 flagship. It’s the second generation of an all-new 911 movement and, even though it still does what it says on the badge, things have changed.

It’s more refined, even more sophisticated, and equipped with more ‘stuff’ – even if you still need a racetrack to get anywhere near its limits.

Allan Moffat once said that owning a Ferrari did not make you a Ferrari driver, and the same thing applies to the Porsche 911.

Which brings us to Kermit, my green machine for a week of extraordinary driving enjoyment. Our first few minutes are about adjustments – first the controls, then my attitude – before hitting the road.

Nowhere to hide

You cannot just uncork an RS in the heart of a city, because it is an explosive road rocket. And it is very, very noisy. There is nowhere to hide, either, in a car as arrest-me-green as this one.

Just to recap, the GT3 RS is the quickest of Porsche’s naturally-aspirated 911s. Yes, there are turbocharged cars that go quicker, but not by much and by even less on a racetrack or proper driving road.

It’s been light-weighted and tweaked in every area, especially with the optional Weissach package – named after Porsche’s test track in Germany – with carbon fibre extras including a giant rear wing on my car.

But it’s the engine that dominates the experience – from its ability to howl to 8000 revs, to the droning monotony of highway travel at a mundane 110km/h in a car capable of 300 and then some. You need to wind it up, not just laze on turbocharged torque; but with 383 kilowatts at the top end, it is seriously speedy.

King of the hill

I’m happily ensconced in a super-tight race seat, happy to be swapping gears myself with an old-school manual shift, and happiest of all to know that on this day, I’m the king of my favourite twisty hilltop test road.

You need to plan ahead when corners arrive in fast-forward, and the manual shift takes concentration and commitment in a landscape of self-shifting automatics. But that’s part of the attraction. There’s no need for a short black when you’re getting a hit of full-strength GT3.

And yet the GT3 RS has more than I want, and more than I can use, for most of the time. How many times can you catapult yourself to 100km/h in a tick over three seconds, or tip the car into a corner and have it stick like the white line, or laugh like a loon as you tackle a tight turn, without wondering what it’s all about?

Special days and special roads

The answer, for me and most GT3 owners, is that the car is for special days and special roads. It’s even better to have it on a track, where the chewing gum tyres and those giant brakes and all that power make a $400,000-ish pricetag and the racer's edge seem normal and right.

Personally, after driving both, I would prefer the flat-white 911, in the form of the latest Carrera. It’s nicer, more normal, but still a 911 and capable of turning a trip into a drive.

But I cannot wait for the day when the new-generation 911 is once again morphed into a GT3 RS and the world again goes bonkers.

Paul Gover

As Motoring Editor for Executive Traveller, Paul Gover spends less time at his Gold Coast home than he does on the road (literally) test-driving the best of the four-wheel world.

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