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Video: PCA Spotlight - Porsche Panorama's Pete Stout gives first impressions on new 911 GT3 RS

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

By Pete Stout

Last week’s first drive in the new GT3 RS left me wanting for little—except, of course, more time with the car. As GT3 RSs went back out on track to circulate for the cameras, thoughts returned to what I had experienced on track only minutes before, and that was nothing less than a 10 out of 10. Say what you will about PDK, the reality is that whatever driver involvement it gives up on the road is replaced by an awfully appealing advantage on a race track. The advanced dual-clutch automatic gearbox puts the first 4.0-liter 9A1 flat six—which revs to 8800 rpm, just 200 revs short of the 3.8 in the normal GT3—to good use. There’s noticeably better torque than in the standard GT3, and the increased contact patch courtesy of 918-sized but RS-specific Michelins leave the new RS ahead of the current GT3 everywhere. Bilster Berg wasn’t fast enough to put the RS's aero advantage—with downforce that approaches that of the GT3 Cup—to good use, but we don’t doubt Porsche’s claims.

One expects a GT3 RS to perform on track, and you can watch it do so in the hands of factory RSR driver Jörg Bergmeister here (scroll a few posts down on the Facebook page to find it; we'll upload the video to this post soon), but the real surprise on this trip was spending a bit of time with the RS on the roads of Bad Driburg. While the new RS wouldn’t tolerate even a moment’s lapse in concentration on track, it marked itself out as a perfectly acceptable touring car on country roads and through small towns. As the PDK shifted up and the engine faded away, as the PASM dampers soaked up nearly all of the lumps and bumps, the new RS presented itself as the most livable to date. Add the optional nose-lift system, and the only things holding one back from using this car on a daily basis might be your tolerance for attention and the car’s considerable width. 

A 10 out of 10? It might even be an 11, but I’ll wait to spend more time with it before making that determination. Even so, very few new Porsches—from any part of the lineup—have impressed me so completely out of the box. Watch the video below for my first impressions.

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