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    997 GT3 RS road test...

    Porsche 911 GT3 RS - Top Gear

    "Forget Aston and Ferrari. Porsche rules. And it rules with this car. This new 911 GT3 RS is better than any other Porsche, and better than any Ferrari or Aston. That's not my opinion. It's a fact. And it's not a fact that needs to be proven or verified, either. Not a fact that can be debated or questioned even for a zillisecond, by anyone, not even Aston or Ferrari bosses or engineers who may wish to disagree.

    This is a slightly lighter and harder version of the 911 GT3. The history of the 911 RS (it stands for Rennsport, or Motor Sport) is a rich one, going back to the original Carrera RS 2.7 of 1972.

    The idea is to strip the standard car down and homologate it for GT racing, and this RS will form the basis for many serious track cars - so no back seats, a roll cage, more power and less weight.

    Porsche-o-files will say 'oooh, there'll never be another car like the '72 RS', 'such character', but they can all go to hell too, along with the people who think Ferrari and/or Aston rules. No. Old cars are inferior, end of story.

    This new RS will do everything that an older 911 RS will do - and then leave it behind. And it has just as much character as any of them. What's more, if rumours of V8-engined future 911s with paddle-shift semi-auto boxes become reality, this might be the last manual 911 RS. A classic? Probably.

    The price doesn't matter to the people fortunate enough to be able to afford one of these cars, but we'll mention it anyway because it's amusing. The GT3 RS costs Pounds14,740 more than the standard GT3 - at Pounds94,280, it's only Pounds3,000 less than the 911 Turbo. Happily, it eats the Turbo and spits it into the gutter, but we'll get to that in a minute.

    For your extra Pounds14,740, you get a 20kg weight saving over the standard GT3, achieved with a serious-looking lightweight and adjustable carbon-fibre rear wing, carbon-fibre bootlid and a lightweight Perspex rear screen.

    A further weight saving comes when you delete the GT3's standard air-conditioning, making it 20kg lighter again. But you should really opt for aircon to keep cool and sod the weight, so in effect, 20kg is your lot.

    It has the full Sport pack as standard - optional on the GT3 - which includes the race-style, one-piece carbon-fibre-backed sports seats, roll cage (more comprehensive than the standard GT3's) and a fire extinguisher.

    The bodywork at the rear is 44mm wider - it shares the same flared arches and wider track of the Carrera 4S and Turbo, so handling will be slightly improved.

    And that's it. You couldn't say it was great value for money at Pounds700 per kilo, but it simply doesn't matter. The letters 'RS' are stickered onto the tail and flanks, and that's enough, because you're about to drive the hardest, hottest Porsche 911 there is. It weighs only 1,375kg with the huge 90-litre fuel tank full.

    That's pretty light when you consider the engine, which is almost identical to the standard GT3's - the only difference being a single-mass flywheel, which means it revs a smidge more freely. It's a normally aspirated 3.6-litre boxer six, developing 415bhp at 7,600rpm and redlining at 8,400. Torque is the same at 299lb ft. Not a lot, but when an engine revs as smoothly and effortlessly as this - it begs to be revved, with every fibre of its alloy being - then you just keep the revs high and enjoy the power.

    It's one of the world's truly great engines: linear power delivery, enormous oomph and a hard, howling note to die for.

    This car looks fantastic in orange. Green is another option, along with silver with orange wheels and decals, which apparently looks better than any other colour combo, even black. For now, orange is fine, and there are flashes of it inside as well.

    You sit very low and that's how it should be - you feel more part of the machine and your body mass is lower to keep the car's centre of gravity nearer the road. I'm over six-feet tall and my eyeline was barely above the yellow stripe on the suede steering wheel.

    That yellow stripe is a racing feature that harks back to the days when opposite lock was a flail rather than a flick, better to keep track of where the front wheels are pointing. You'll see it on most racing and rally cars. The standard GT3 doesn't have that stripe.

    With your eyes just above the side windows and loads of space above your head, you adjust the interior rear-view mirror and admire the complex orange struts of the roll cage behind, the Perspex screen beyond them and the straight black carbon-fibre wing beyond that. All of these features are unique to the RS and they're all as pleasing as the stripe on the wheel. It's a fabulous car and we haven't even turned a wheel.

    Flick the key round to the right and the engine fires up with a satisfying blip. There is a clatter from the gearbox at tickover, race-car style, and the big six burbles contentedly. Blip the throttle and it's a mechanical roar, hard and urgent.

    Move away and you are immediately aware that this car is no pushover - the clutch is heavy and its bite is sharp, the throttle is quite sensitive, and the gearshift is a proper hand-and-wrist workout.

    You grip the stubby lever more firmly than you feel is comfortable at first, and drive each shift home. The action is short and precise but it's oh-so-heavy. No, it's not easy to be smooth at first, but once you work out how the car demands you to drive it - positively, accurately, and with determination - then it all becomes second nature.

    We headed out of Stuttgart southeast towards the open forest roads of Schopfloch. The ride was surprisingly compliant over the bumps of downtown Stuttgart. It was not jarring, just suitably hard.

    Merging on to a derestricted autobahn, it was impossible to resist clacking the throttle pedal to the firewall and letting the big dog run. This thing is seriously fast. 0-62mph comes up in 4.2 seconds, and 100mph in about 9.3 seconds.

    That's close enough to a Turbo for it not to matter. And with no forced induction, and no possibility of being accused of having automatic transmission, rear seat passengers or those annoying strakes behind the rear wheels. Sorry, but the Turbo, in its latest incarnation, has become a little tacky. The GT3 RS is anything but. And it's rear-wheel drive, like a proper Porsche 911 should be.

    When the tacho needle passes beyond 4,100rpm, a valve opens in the exhaust and the roar becomes a deep, howling bellow. The revving continues with furious determination to the cut-out at 8,500.

    Grab the next gear and it happens again, and again. I was approaching 250kmh in a blink, and the top speed of 310kmh (192mph) is only a few seconds and a clear, derestricted road away.

    Braking performance - with the optional ceramic brakes as fitted here, a Pounds5,800 option - is unbelievable. After a hard workout downhill, with about 15 full-force stops, there was no hint of fade. You can push with utter confidence, smug in the knowledge that you can wash off whatever speed you build in very short order.

    The RS's substantial rear wing and slightly extended front splitter give a small level of positive downforce at high speed. We couldn't measure the effect of this, but you can be sure it's effective.

    The key word is agility. This little car - and it is little, no wider than an ordinary hatch - is nimble, responsive and itching to be driven fast. You can do whatever you like and it won't bite - certainly not on the road corners we were tackling. Do something stupid on the track and it might be a different story.

    There is plenty of power to break the rear end away in the dry in second gear (and probably third), and a violent lift tightens the line. No antics.

    Two buttons on the centre console help. One is labelled 'Sport', the other features a drawing of a damper. Sport sharpens throttle response, gives the traction control more slip angle, and opens a flap to divert exhaust gases around a pre-silencer, giving you that otherworldly howl as a permanent feature, rather than only above four thousand revs.

    The damper switch sets Porsche's active suspension system management to rock-hard, from very hard. There's still a magical level of compliance even on this track setting. You get the impression that many thousands of hours of engineering experience have been poured into the suspension setup alone.

    And that's the real strength of this car - the depth of engineering prowess you feel in every movement.

    Ferrari might get close, and Aston will probably get even closer in time (given its new direction), but Porsche has been there for many long years, testing, honing, testing and improving.

    A driver of my limited ability will marvel at the car's grip and astonishingly direct turn-in, the steering that lightens up at speed and feeds you every bit of information you need, but I will never get near the limit. Truly talented drivers will have even more fun.

    The engine's out the back, but it doesn't matter. The car is as close to perfect as a car can be, and it's aiming for a very high target.

    Porsche rules."



    ++ http://www.topgear.com/drives/D3/A3/roadtests/24/01.html ++

    Re: 997 GT3 RS road test...

    when are they going to test the gt3??? I mean in the tv program !

    Re: 997 GT3 RS road test...

    Thanks for posting!

    Re: 997 GT3 RS road test...

    What a car! Thanks for the post

    Re: 997 GT3 RS road test...

    I still don't see how it can be worth Pounds15k more than a standard GT3. Anyone test driver both?

    BTW - no word yet when Topgear will be back on TV I'm afraid.

    Re: 997 GT3 RS road test...

    Nice...the ultimate car...(for me...)

    Re: 997 GT3 RS road test...

    Quote:
    Alex (UK) said:
    I still don't see how it can be worth Pounds15k more than a standard GT3. Anyone test driver both?

    BTW - no word yet when Topgear will be back on TV I'm afraid.


    It may or may not be worth the extra money, but you'll probably get it all back when you sell it (compared to a GT3)...

    Re: 997 GT3 RS road test...

    Thanks

    Re: 997 GT3 RS road test...

    Quote:
    Grant said:
    Quote:
    Alex (UK) said:
    I still don't see how it can be worth Pounds15k more than a standard GT3. Anyone test driver both?

    BTW - no word yet when Topgear will be back on TV I'm afraid.


    It may or may not be worth the extra money, but you'll probably get it all back when you sell it (compared to a GT3)...



    Really?

    I just looked up 2nd hand 996 GT3RS in the UK on the Porsche Approved site, and there is only 1 in the UK priced at Pounds70k and has 5000 miles on the clock.

    Similar mileage 996 GT3's are around the Pounds60k mark.

    So both seem to be depreciating to me...

    Re: 997 GT3 RS road test...

    Quote:
    Alex (UK) said:
    Quote:
    Grant said:
    Quote:
    Alex (UK) said:
    I still don't see how it can be worth Pounds15k more than a standard GT3. Anyone test driver both?

    BTW - no word yet when Topgear will be back on TV I'm afraid.


    It may or may not be worth the extra money, but you'll probably get it all back when you sell it (compared to a GT3)...



    Really?

    I just looked up 2nd hand 996 GT3RS in the UK on the Porsche Approved site, and there is only 1 in the UK priced at Pounds70k and has 5000 miles on the clock.

    Similar mileage 996 GT3's are around the Pounds60k mark.

    So both seem to be depreciating to me...



    What was the price difference on the 996 versions? Maybe I'm wrong, but I figured that a well-kept RS would hold its value better. Maybe that particular RS has be flogged hard at the track with body repairs. I think we'd need a larger sample to know the real values...

    Re: 997 GT3 RS road test...

    Quote:
    Grant said:
    What was the price difference on the 996 versions? Maybe I'm wrong, but I figured that a well-kept RS would hold its value better. Maybe that particular RS has be flogged hard at the track with body repairs. I think we'd need a larger sample to know the real values...



    Well I don't know the price of a new 996 GT3RS but a new basic 996 GT3 was Pounds72k I seem to recall. I am guessing that a RS would have been at least Pounds10k more than that, given the Pounds15k difference in the 997 models.

    I'm just wondering if you spec'ed a 997 GT3 with RS standard options then what is the difference in price then? Because Pounds15k for 20kg weight saving (assuming you keep the air-con) and a larger rear wing does seem a bit unjustifiable to me at least.

    I would suggest that the above report from Topgear would have 99% of the same plaudits on a standard GT3. It's just that they obviously haven't test driven that model yet.

    Re: 997 GT3 RS road test...

    Quote:
    Alex (UK) said:I'm just wondering if you spec'ed a 997 GT3 with RS standard options then what is the difference in price then? Because Pounds15k for 20kg weight saving (assuming you keep the air-con) and a larger rear wing does seem a bit unjustifiable to me at least.


    Alex - I understand your point, but you do get the following "free" changes for the RS (in UK anyways):

    1. No extra charge for clubsport package (GT3 comes with free CS pckge only if you order the very expensive carbon seats)

    2. Single Mass flywheel

    3. 44mm wider rear (supposed to offer more stability)

    4. Different PASM system

    5. Different suspension hardware (split wishbones)

    6. Metallic Paint (Silver with Orange trim is free

    7. Painted Roll Cage

    8. Lightweight rear window

    9. Lightweight front trunk cover

    10. Deeper front chin spoiler

    11. Carbon rear wing

    Also, even though they don't advertise it, the RS motor is usually different (Blueprinted or something). The part number was different on the 886 version and reportedly made more power, despite sharing the same spec. I believe they do this to avoid additional emmissions testing...

    I'm not saying that these changes justify the expense (probably cost Porsche very little), but it is something (seats probably the biggest cost savings)...

    Re: 997 GT3 RS road test...

    On top of what you mention Grant there is a wider track and smaller offset (34mm I believe) of the rear wheels to offset the wider track.

    I have also seen in some write-ups that the rear roll cage element is more extensive on the RS, but I haven't seen that in any material from Porsche.

    Finally , a source in Porsche told me that they make sure the RS gets the stronger engines within the variations in engine outputs that occur naturally. The thinking behind this is that an RS should never be outrun by a normal GT3. This makes sense to me.

    Re: 997 GT3 RS road test...

    Yeah it didn't looked like a Clarkson commentary on a Porsche..... You know at the beginning I was scared that he may have written the comments....and he was converted to the right side....

    Re: 997 GT3 RS road test...

    Looks like an awesome car... I wanna see more tests and vids like alex said...

     
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