Porsche's RS legacy (Part 2) : The Water Brigade

In 2004, Porsche makes the first water-cooled 996 GT3 RS after nearly ten years. The RS would no longer be twinned with a Touring: what was previously known as a 'Touring' would now be the 'basic' 381bhp GT3 with all the 'luxury' accoutrements. Introducing the 911 GT3 RS, Porsche once again offered a homologation model for racing in 2004 destined to thrill sports drivers the world over: The 996-version of the 911 GT3 RS was conceived as a street-legal thoroughbred racing car in accordance with FIA-N/GT and ACO Regulations – and once again, the focus in the development process was on an optimum power-to-weight ratio of jut 4.86 kg/kW.

Following in the footsteps of its famous predecessors, the new model again came in White as its base colour, with the model designation either in Blue or Red.

In its road-going version, this top athlete boasted technical features later to be admired also in the RSR racing version. Just some examples are the wheel bearings in all their features, the split wishbones front and rear, optimised suspension geometry, and a particularly light rear screen made of polycarbonate, as well as the front lid and rear wing produced in carbon.

Displacing 3.6 litres, the fast-revving power unit delivered no less than 381 hp at 7,300 rpm, with maximum engine speed of 8,200 rpm.

A stripped out GT3 with uprated suspension, Cup tyres, half roll-cage and naff decals would become the RS. Actually, Porsche took a baby steps with the GT3 as the very first version of the 996 GT3 did not spawn a RS version.

Only the 996 GT3 ver. 2 included the 'RS', with total production around 682 units.

Starting in autumn 2006, the 911 GT3 RS built as the highlight of the 997 model series was a particularly pure version of the GT3 suited above all for the race track: The GT3 RS comes with all the performance and the undiluted driving experience of a genuine racing car while at the same time meeting all the demands made of a street-legal sports model.

Revving freely up to very high speeds, the power unit delivered 415 hp at 7,600 rpm from an engine capacity of 3.6 litres – and although these were the same figures as in the “regular” GT3, the RS offered even more outstanding performance, the close-ratio six-speed gearbox with its single-mass flywheel and a reduction in weight by 20 kg or 44 lb enabling the engine to rev up even more spontaneously, accelerating the 911 GT3 RS from a standstill to 100 km/h in just 4.2 seconds and reaching 200 km/h in 13.3 seconds – all the way to the car’s top speed of 310 km/h or 192 mph.

Despite its different body, the RS was 20 kg or 44 lb lighter than the GT3, weighing in at a mere 1,375 kg or 3,031 lb. This reduction in weight was ensured, inter alia, by the use of an adjustable carbon rear wing, a special rear lid made of plastic, and an extra-light syn thetic glass rear window. The power-to-weight ratio provided as a result was an impressive 4.5 kg/kW.

This version reached a production of 1909 cars before the facelift. 

In 2010 Porsche updates the 997 GT3 RS to mk II status. Power from the new 3.8L engine goes up to 450 bhp and uses direct fuel injection to be more efficient Porsche says. The heart of the new 911 GT3 RS, the power unit, is based on the engine already featured in the 911 GT3.

Like the latter, the RS power unit now displaces 3.8 instead of 3.6L, delivering even more power and revving up even faster and more dynamically. The engine featured in the new 911 GT3 RS delivers 15 bhp more than its counterpart in the 911 GT3, that is maximum output of 450 horsepower from the fast-revving naturally-aspirated power unit.

This means specific output of more than 118 bhp per litre from the six-cylinder, an extremely high figure for natural-aspiration technology even in the strictest worldwide comparison.

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