The GT2 RS is a race-car with street plates — and an en­gi­neer­ing feat

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page - JOSHUA DOWLING

Have you ever won­dered what type of car For­mula One driv­ers have as a week­end toy? Here’s a prime ex­am­ple. Aussie ace Mark Web­ber and other speed demons have one of these stashed in their garages be­cause it’s one of the few road cars with enough power to give them a fright.

Of­fi­cially, it’s called the GT2 RS and un­der the fa­mil­iar shape of a Porsche 911 it packs the per­for­mance to match or eclipse hy­per-cars.

Unof­fi­cially, those in the know call it the “widow-maker” be­cause few driv­ers have the skill to ex­ploit its po­ten­tial.

Porsche has taken its most pow­er­ful twin­turbo six-cylin­der en­gine, given it even more urge, and then trimmed 125kg, notably delet­ing the front dif­fer­en­tial that pro­vides so much grip in the, ahem, more af­ford­able $495,000 all­wheel drive 911 Turbo S.

The GT2 RS costs a gob­s­mack­ing $700,000 by the time it’s in the traf­fic, even then adding op­tions such as a $1690 rear cam­era.

It doesn’t even come with in­te­rior door han­dles. In the pur­suit of lop­ping weight, the levers are re­placed by a piece of fab­ric sim­i­lar to seat­belt ma­te­rial.

Tug on those to open the doors be­fore you start a form of Porsche yoga, clam­ber­ing out of the tight sports seats. Master it, and your feet will touch the ground be­fore your hands.

It may lack ba­sic com­fort fea­tures but the GT2 RS is in such hot de­mand even the rich and fa­mous need to queue to buy one. Only about 60 are com­ing to Aus­tralia. All are sold.

More power and less weight is the for­mula that un­der­pins all fast cars but with this one Porsche is push­ing the bound­aries of hav­ing too much of a good thing.

The num­bers are mind-bog­gling: more power than a V8 Su­per­car in some­thing al­most as light as a Toy­ota Corolla.

The 3.8-litre flat six pro­duces 515kW/750Nm — up from 397kW and 710Nm in the stan­dard 911 Turbo.

Suf­fice to say I took a while to build up the courage to sample even some of its ac­cel­er­a­tion. The tyres are of a type de­signed for track use, which means they take a while to warm up be­fore they grip, then once up to tem­per­a­ture they can take lap after lap of pun­ish­ment on a cir­cuit.

On the road the level of grip is any­one’s guess — and this is not the type of car for guess­work.

With ev­ery be­hind-the-scenes safety aid switched on, the GT2 RS be­came more fa­mil­iar with time, even though I wasn’t even scratch­ing the sur­face of its abil­ity. Ini­tially it’s so intimidating that I drove it more slowly than I would a Suzuki Swift.

It’s also very loud. As part of the weight­sav­ing process, Porsche jet­ti­soned sound­dead­en­ing ma­te­rial. You can hear ev­ery­thing.

Which brings us to the ex­haust but­ton. Se­lect sport mode and the bur­ble and pop­ping of the ex­haust deal­ing with ex­cess fuel sounds like dis­tant fire­works.

Floor the throt­tle — when the road is clear enough and smooth enough — and the air in­takes suck in oxy­gen with so much force it sounds as if you’ve put your hand over the end of a vacuum cleaner noz­zle.

Even­tu­ally we tested the 0-100km/h claim. Porsche says it can do the dash in 2.8 sec­onds. I had my doubts, given it’s re­ly­ing only on the rear wheels to get all that power to the ground.

We did a string of 2.9-sec­ond runs us­ing pre­ci­sion equip­ment and I went from scep­ti­cal to awe-struck — the all-wheel drive 911 Turbo feels faster yet stops the clock in 3.0 sec­onds.

By the end of the drive it be­came ap­par­ent the GT2 RS truly is built for speed, and def­i­nitely not for com­fort. Even in “nor­mal” mode the sus­pen­sion is so stiff you even feel the bumps you can’t see.

Clearly this is not a car for the faint of heart — or reg­u­lar road use. It’s a race-car with num­ber­plates. And an en­gi­neer­ing feat.

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