Return of the King : Porsche 911 GT2 RS [review]

Car Specifications
Engine: 
3600cc twin turbo
Cylinder Layout: 
Flat Six
Top Speed: 
330 km/h
Transmission: 
6-Speed Manual
0-100km/h: 
3.5 seconds
Power: 
620 bhp at 6500 rpm
Torque: 
700 Nm at 2250-5500 rpm
Features: 
  • Lightweight chassis
  • High powered engine

Porsche 911 GT2 RS
Motor Prime drives the 911 GT2 RS

A new star is born. This is the first time the RS moniker has been used on the GT2 series. This was a “secret project” deep in the bowels of Weissach under the direction of the Motorsport director and RS evangelist Andreas Preuninger.

During the development of the 997 GT2 there were enough funds left over to make a never-before RS out of the GT2. The team of 10 to 15 engineers worked on the side to perform the usual RS modifications on the GT2 mule left with the Motorsport department.

(Porsche 911 GT2 RS original press release HERE)

One could almost see the glee in Preuninger's eyes as the team worked their way around the standard GT2. Listen hard enough and you will make out mutterings like, “the GT3 cup parts will fit” or “we could take out more than 50 kg easily”.

Then the obvious objection, “but we never do a turbo!” and the counterpoint in hushed tones, “but we can easily make 600 plus horsepower”, before the long stony silence.

Porsche 911 GT2 RS
As there was not enough time to fully tune the engine by the time of the GT2 shakedown at Nordschleife, the engineers left the engine at the stock 530 bhp and concentrated on lightening the 1440 kg GT2 by about 70 kg.

Porsche took the usual route by stripping every bit of sound deadening material out by hand which resulted in a 2 kg reduction.

The team obviously had many parts left over from the GT3 Cup car project and began swapping the front bonnet and wings (-5 kg)with carbon fibre components as well as the rear bumper and apron.

In went the carbon fibre Recaro seats from the Carrera GT project which weigh just 10 kg with the rails. Even race seats in cup car are just a few hundred grammes lighter.

In comparison, the standard folding GT2 seats are 15.7 kg. These bigger seats will be offered to customers whose frames are on the portly side.

Porsche 911 GT2 RS
Walter Rohrl did his prescribed hot laps in the stock GT2 and recorded a best lap of 7 min 31 seconds. "Pretty good", he reckoned and so did the rest of the Porsche development engineers.

Unbeknown to them Andreas Preuninger had secretly sneaked the 'project RS' GT2 along and when Walter had done his laps Andreas took Walter to the back of the testing garage and unveiled his little secret, nicknamed “Lightie”.

Walter took it out and almost immediately ran a 7 min 27 second lap (though there was yet more time to shave). Walter thought it rather impressive and with this positive reckoning Preuninger revealed to Porsche Board of Directors that he had made this “unapproved” GT2 RS mule. He asked and got their approval to go ahead and build a limited run of just 500 of these gems before they couldn't.

Porsche 911 GT2 RS
Perhaps one of the more compelling factors are the strict Euro 5 standards looming next year, which will kill off many of these high powered engines. Here was a last minute chance to attain a record power to weight ratio of 2.21 kg/hp.

Sure Preuninger and his team do not typically like do a 'turbo' RS, but to wait for the further development of the 4L flat six would have meant this figure would never be achieved before the Euro 5 rules fell upon them.

Once approval was given, Preuninger wanted the most powerful 911 right here, right now and so they kept their heads down, noses to the grindstone until the figure of 620 bhp popped up.

Actually with turbocharging, 620 bhp is pretty easy to achieve, but it had to carry the full Porsche warranty and Preuninger wanted this engine to feel as progressive as the one in the GT3 RS.

This machine needed to be as reliable as the normal Turbo but with one small difference, this GT2 RS would and could be visiting the track up to 25 times a year, as some of the owners of the GT3 RS have done.

Thanks to the excellent work already done on the Turbo and Turbo S with the negative pressure wave cooling, Preuninger and his team could eke out 90 bhp more by using boost pressures in the region of 1.6 bar, roughly double that of the Turbo and just 0.2 bar higher than the GT2.

The pair of VTG (variable turbine geometry) turbochargers not only manage that, but lag remains similar to the normal Turbo as well. However once past 3500 rpm the GT2 RS leaves even the Turbo S for dead, even the GT2 in its wake.

It is in the 0-100 km/h standing starts that the GT2 RS is beaten by the Turbo and Turbo S, with a time of 3.5 sec vs 3.4 and 3.3 seconds respectively. The all-wheel drive and ultra swift PDK compensating for any power disadvantage they might have compared to the manual-only GT2 RS.

However for such uber-cars one really needs to look at the 0-200 km/h times as the GT2 RS leads the pack with 9.8 seconds vs 10.8 seconds for the Turbo S (11.2 sec for GT2) and on to a 330 km/h top speed when the Turbo S stops at 315 km/h (329 km/h for GT2).

Suffice to say, nothwithstanding anything this side of a Veyron, there is no car that kicks as hard as this GT2 RS. The shove in the back is so violent that even with neck muscles tensed in an one's head will hit the headrest of the excellent carbon fibre seat.

Overtaking is achieved in a flash and one runs out of gears so quickly especially the lower ones. Its almost difficult to keep focused with that g-force pressing your eyes back into their sockets.

It's already going to take a monumental naturally-aspirated engine to bear comparison with this 3.6L turbo engine from Stuttgart in a straight line.

Now, add a complex circuit like Nordschleife and the GT2 RS is uncatchable, perhaps the fastest production car you can actually buy and use on the road on a daily basis.

A lot of its everyday ability is due to the fact that the GT2 RS rides over bad tarmac no worse than a normal Boxter S. Note that the GT2 RS has race spec suspension springs and dampers and not a single stitch of the original rubber bushings on the suspension mounts.

Well, almost none as there is a sliver of a very clever silicone absorbent isolating material that barely deflects but prevents much of the road noise from getting past the top mounts.

Preuninger and his team has been tuning RS-type suspensions for decades now and each iteration of the RS brings more focus to the bare handling and removes the attendant harshness and the latest RS is amazingly supple over some of the most uneven country roads we could find in Germany though they might still be smoother than those found in the UK.

However this talk about comfort is not to depreciate the fact that this RS is about being the best at Nordschleife. Even Walter Rohrl admits its not the corners he memorises but the road bumps and undulations so the supple suspension is a huge boon at Nordschleife.

In the dry the Michelin Cup tyres are instrumental in achieving the phenomenal 7 min 18 second lap. Although the front widths are similar to those in the GT3 RS the increased track width and extra wide rim width increase cornering speeds by 10 per cent in slower corners and about 15 per cent in faster corners where the more of the 143 kg of downforce really pays dividends.

Porsche 911 GT2 RS
Thanks to the 700 Nm of torque wider rears were needed or the GT2 RS would be oversteering with every prod of the throttle. These N3 Spec 325/30 ZR 19 Michelin Cup tyres on the rears are bespoke to the GT2 RS and it was surprising to find Michelin agreeing to a small run of 500 pairs for the limited production of the GT2.

However, once the owners have begun attending trackday sessions demand will multiply several fold. However these cup tyres have about half the tread depth of a normal street tyre and Preuninger warns to be circumspect in rainy conditions for fear of aquaplaning.

Porsche 911 GT2 RS
Along the straights the phenomenal burst of 700 Nm and 620 bhp help the GT2 RS eat up the track record albeit fractions of a second at a time, but eventually accounting for the impressive 14 second advantage over the 7 min 32 second lap of the standard 530 bhp GT2 or the 7 min 33 second lap of the 997 GT3 RS.

One interesting snippet was the lap was done without the PSM on (of course) but would it surprise you that with the PSM on the time was 7 min 19 seconds, just a second behind after a grueling 20.6 km lap, well within experimental tolerance as to make no difference.

This is to say that the PSM on the GT2 RS has been set quite liberally into the drift zone where the GT2 RS is actually a bit sideways which is critical for these cars to get quick lap times.

There was a time when one of these electronic nannies was not allowed in anything bearing the “RS” badge, but it seems with over 500 bhp to the rear wheels it seems prudent if the population of 500 GT2 RS' is not to be reduced too much.

Besides, once the PSM is turned off, it really stays off, unlike other manufacturers whose “off” means off, that is, until you get to a point where it kicks in again...!

The whole idea is to make the “RS” cars the sharpest, fastest and purest tool to drive not just over Nordschleife but over all your favourite roads. Allowing you to feel completely immersed and connected with the raging beast underfoot thanks to the quick-reaction rose-jointed suspension and manual gearbox.

This is also the main reason why the team did not use the excellent PDK gearbox; it's about getting a feel of the machine and not just for the most technically efficient manner to shift gears.

Besides, by not using the PDK the engineers reckon they have saved nearly 30 kg of extra weight. With this motorsport gearbox the owner can also customise his gear ratios for a particular track if he so wishes.

Porsche even avoided the electronic differential that is being used by its competitors to such great effect. Porsche's is a mechanical type but with an asymmetric lock up with 28 per cent under full throttle and 40 per cent under trailing throttle. This gives the driver full control of the machine without another “brain” second guessing the driver's every move.

While in theory at least the competitor's electronic differentials and dual clutch systems and race spec ASR settings should make a brilliantly fast lap of Nordschleife, the GT2 RS with just a manual gearbox and mechanical locking differential knocks all of them for a six with its amazing 7 min 18 second lap.

Almost all debates will end with the GT2 RS's lap time, but that is not what the owners will be doing all the time. They will be enjoying the total connectedness one feels when piloting this car.

It's almost as though one's synapses interface directly with the machine as if extensions of one's limbs. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if your name happens to be on the list), it's quite a life-affirming experience that only 500 lucky Porschephiles will ever experience.

However, if you hurry there is good chance of getting your name on the list (Update: Too late! The 500 units have been sold out. Read more HERE),  bearing in mind that this might be the last of the uber 911s for some time to come as the new Euro regulations tighten like a noose around the necks' of the world's sportscar manufacturers.

Porsche 911 GT2 RS

Fast Facts : Porsche 911 GT2 RS
ENGINE
CAPACITY : 3600cc, bi-turbo
CYLINDER LAYOUT : Flat-6 boxer
VALVES : 24-valves, 4-valve heads
BORE X STROKE : 100 x 76.4mm
COMPRESSION RATIO : 9.0:1
MAXIMUM POWER : 620 Bhp at 6500 rpm
MAXIMUM TORQUE : 700 Nm from 2250 to 5500 rpm

TRANSMISSION
TYPE : 6-speed manual
DRIVEN WHEELS : Rear, Mechanical Differential

PERFORMANCE
TOP SPEED : 330 km/h
0-100KM/H : 3.5 seconds
0-200KM/H : 9.8 seconds

SUSPENSION
FRONT : McPherson Struts and PASM (2-damper control maps)
REAR : Multi-arm axle with PASM (2-damper control maps)

BRAKES
FRONT : 380mm PCCB inner ventilated discs
REAR : 350mm PCCB inner ventilated discs

TYRES
TYPE : Michelin N3 Spec Cup Sport
SIZE : f: 235/35 ZR 19, r: 325/30 ZR 19

SAFETY
ABS : Yes
AIRBAGS : 6
TRACTION CONTROL : PSM 2-stage

MEASUREMENTS
LENGTH : 4469mm
WIDTH : 1852mm
HEIGHT : 1285mm
WHEELBASE : 2350mm
KERB WEIGHT : 1370 kg
POWER TO WEIGHT RATIO: 2.21 kg/hp
TURNING CIRCLE : 10.6m

Weight Reduction Program
Air-conditioning -17 kg
Stereo system -7.0 kg
Front carbon fibre bonnet -2.5 kg
Front carbon fibre fenders -5.0 kg (adds 26mm width, optional)
Use Lexan for rear and side glass -4.0 kg
Carbon fibre seats -5.7 kg
Lithium ion battery -11 kg (optional)
Springs & dampers -3.0 kg
Aluminum brake hubs -4.8 kg
Alloy lower rear diagonal bar -1.4 kg
Titanium rear muffler and tail pipes -9.0 kg (exists in GT2)
High temp plastic intake manifold -3.0 kg (exists in GT2)
Front badge sticket - unknown with huge management disagreement
Single mass flywheel -8.0 kg

Dry weight 1280 kg vs the GT3 Cup race car at 1200 kg

Summary
This is an amazing car that Porsche has seemingly pulled out from nowhere! The GT2 RS is not supposed to exist; not even the guys at the Motorsport division wanted a turbo RS, yet here it is in the flesh and even they have changed their tune after it lapped Nordschleife in an amazing 7 min and 18 seconds, completely reversing the embarrassment they got when the GTR hit 7 min 26 seconds in 2008. The GT2 RS is the new king... Long live the King of the Ring! story - mp, photos - Achim H
Photos: 
Porsche 911 GT2 RS
Porsche 911 GT2 RS
Porsche 911 GT2 RS
Porsche 911 GT2 RS
Porsche 911 GT2 RS
Porsche 911 GT2 RS
Porsche 911 GT2 RS
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