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Video: 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS laps Nürburgring in 6:56.4 — 24 seconds faster than predecessor

Friday, April 20, 2018

Article by Damon Lowney
Photos courtesy Porsche

It’s hard to believe that the new Porsche 911 GT3 RS, with just 520 horsepower, has beaten the 887-hp 918 Spyder hypercar around the Nürburgring-Nordschleife with a time of 6:56.4. The 918’s former production car lap record was set less than five years ago.

Watch factory driver Kévin Estre's amazing drive around the Nürburgring below:

Porsche factory driver Kévin Estre claimed the fast time of day in the GT3 RS, though it’s worth noting Lars Kern, who drove the new GT2 RS to a 6:47.3 in September, came within a second of Estre’s time, according to Andreas Preuninger, director of the GT model line.


Above: Factory drivers Lars Kern (left) and Kévin Estre.

“All four lap times of both drivers were below seven minutes and only tenths of a second apart. This proves not only the outstanding power of the GT3 RS, but also its extraordinary driveability at the limit.,” he says. “A perfectly composed overall system allows for highly dynamic performance even with a relatively modest engine power.”

Which brings us to a stunning revelation: How did the new GT3 RS, with just 20 more horsepower than the its 2016 model, usurp its predecessor by 24 seconds around the 12.8-mile track? Estre has some insight (emphasis mine): “Through the fast corners and on the brakes in particular, the GT3 RS is unbelievably close to our racing car GT3 R. This is also thanks to the new generation of tires for road going sports cars.”

No doubt Porsche has learned much outside tire development since 2016. Vice President of Motorsport and GT Cars Frank Steffen Walliser says as much: “Many innovative ideas from top-level motorsport were transferred; for example, from the 911 GT3 R. This is what our philosophy for GT models is about: Highest technology must be fascinating but tangible.” But knowing that the new RS set its sub-seven-minute lap time on Michelin’s forthcoming Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires is a clue as to how the massive drop in lap time was achieved. It seems, once again, tire technology has played outsized role in the development of one of Porsche’s fastest sports cars.

In a nod to the goal the GT Cars department aims for in every one of its cars, Preuninger says, “What especially delights me is how much fun Lars and Kévin had when driving that car.”


Full Porsche Press Release

New 911 GT3 RS sets a lap time of 6:56.4 minutes through the ‘Green Hell’

Stuttgart. On April 16 the Porsche 911 GT3 RS set another benchmark for road-approved sports cars at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit in Germany: Porsche works race driver Kévin Estre set a lap time in 6:56.4 minutes with the 520-hp GT3 RS. The Frenchman’s lap time was 24 seconds faster than the best time achieved with the previous GT3 RS model. Porsche development driver Lars Kern was sharing driving duties with Estre. Following the 918 Spyder and the 911 GT2 RS, the new GT3 RS is the third production Porsche sports car with a notarised lap time of less than seven minutes on the world’s most demanding race track, known as the ‘Green Hell’. As is customary for record drives, the time was measured around the 20.6-kilometre lap. 

Frank Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars, commented; “No other Porsche model gets as close to racing as the new GT3 RS. Many innovative ideas from top-level motorsport were transferred; for example, from the 911 GT3 R. This is what our philosophy for GT models is about: Highest technology must be fascinating but tangible. In this regard there is no harder test for our ideas than the Nordschleife.”

Andreas Preuninger, Director GT Model Line, added; “All four lap times of both drivers were below seven minutes and only tenths of a second apart. This proves not only the outstanding power of the GT3 RS, but also its extraordinary driveability at the limit. A perfectly composed overall system allows for highly dynamic performance even with a relatively modest engine power. For a driver, each of the car’s thousands of parts have to feel like one – that’s an unbeatable strength of the GT3 RS. And what especially delights me is how much fun Lars and Kévin had when driving that car.”

29-year old Estre began the record lap at 11:40 am in ideal conditions, with 14 degree Celsius ambient and 18 degree Celsius track temperature. “This lap was a sensational experience for me”, he revealed afterwards. “Through the fast corners and on the brakes in particular, the GT3 RS is unbelievably close to our racing car GT3 R. This is also thanks to the new generation of tyres for road going sports cars. I like the engine of the GT3 RS a lot. Up to 9,000 revs per minute from a six-cylinder engine just feels fantastic. The sound is a dream and the torque is massive.” 

Since 2016 Kévin Estre belongs to the squad of Porsche works drivers. He competes with the Porsche 911 RSR in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) that includes the Le Mans 24-Hours. In the ADAC GT Masters he races the 911 GT3 R. 

At the Nürburgring the 911 GT3 RS was equipped with the latest generation of Michelin Pilot Sport tyres. Optimised especially for track day use, the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R is fully compliant with relevant EU and US law. The tyre (265/35 ZR 20 front and 325/30 ZR 21 rear) can soon be ordered at every Porsche Centre and selected dealers or tyre fitters. Its approved fitments include 911 GT3 RS and 911 GT2 RS.

The 911 GT3 RS with motorsport-bred chassis and 383-kW (520-hp), four-litre, high- speed naturally aspirated engine had its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show in early March this year. The high-performance sports car accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.2 seconds, reaching a top speed of 312 km/h. 

Prices for the 911 GT3 RS start at 195.137 euro in Germany, including VAT and country-specific equipment. 

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