Motoring

2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS: The fastest street-car ever?

 

Continued from last Monday Edition

Last year the Huracán Performante, with all-wheel drive and active aerodynamics—ailerons, essentially—claimed the ‘Ring record with a mark of 06:52. Um…awesome? A year later our test-car blew past it by five seconds.

The march of progress being what it is, there will undoubtedly be cars even faster than the GT2 RS. But will I want to drive them? We may not have reached the end of history, but I’m starting to run out of gonadal fortitude.

In the rear with the gear, its 3.8-liter twin-turbo flat six produces a hearty 700 hp, rendering a weight-to-power ratio of 4.57 pounds/hp (3,201 pounds in Weissach Package). This quite salutary ratio squats amid four ultrahigh performance Michelin tires, glued to glorious 20/21-inch (f/r) forged magnesium wheels–super-stiff but delicately spoke and vaned, like erotic Spirographs.

While most of its competitors use carbon-fiber passenger cells, the GT2 RS is built upon the same majority-steel unibody as other 911s, on the same assembly line in Zuffenhausen. To make up the difference, the parts bin has been exposed to radical lightweighting gamma rays: gorilla glass, magnesium roof, titanium silencer, carbon-fiber door hinges, body panels, and even stabilizer bars. Out go the plush front buckets; in go two carbon-shell racing seats, bolstered like a coffin.

The flat six is similarly mutated, with upsized variable-geometry turbos (67 mm), bigger exhaust manifolds and larger ducting for the intercoolers. The car debuts a technically cute water-vaporisation system that spritzes H2O on the intercoolers, reducing process air temperature by as much as 21 degrees Celsius.

The variability of driver talent is a huge design consideration in this class of car. Each such offering from Ferrari, Lambo, or Mercedes-AMG has its own style at the limit. How freely does the rear end come around, off throttle and on? How touchy is the handling?

In the case of the GT2 RS, the answer is very, and this, may I say, is its best quality. When it’s right up against the tires’ side-loading limits, where it stays mostly around the Algarve circuit, the GT2 RS is a creature finely balanced between massive power and delicate control. The spring rates are about twice as stiff as those of GT3 RS with half the body roll. Which means you can’t jerk the Porsche around like you can the Mercedes-AMG GT R. The four-wheel steering system with ball-joint chassis connections is fingertip precise, stingy with its praise and lavish in its disdain. Between gouts of outrageous, manic acceleration around the track, pow-pow, one’s hands must remain calm.

Reasonable people may ask what happens to piston-powered superheroes in the near future of autonomous mobility. Don’t worry. Such cars will lead an equestrian life, from barn to paddock to track, washed and curried, never seeing the road. That’s OK. You can barely get the GT2 RS out of second gear on the street anyway.

Is it the fastest car I’ll ever drive? Maybe. I’ve learned never to say ever.

2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS Weissach Package

Base Price: $294,250

Price as tested: $325,250

Powertrain: Dual turbocharged and intercooled 3.8-liter DOHC flat-six engine with 60-mm variable geometry turbos; seven-speed dual-clutch transaxle; rear wheel drive.

Power/torque: 700 hp at 7,000 rpm/553 lb-ft. at 2,500-4,500

Length/width/height/wheelbase: 179.1/61.3(rear track)/51.1/96.6 inches

Curb weight: 3,201 pounds

0-60: 2.8 seconds

¼ mile: 10.4 seconds

Top speed: 211 mph

Cargo Space: 4 cubic feet

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