Exclusive 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS: Alpha Dog

Strong points
  • Very powerful engine
  • Race-derived chassis
  • Very effective aero package
  • Massive braking power
  • Exclusivity is assured
Weak points
  • Very high price
  • Cost of options
  • Limited usability for daily driving
  • Very limited supply
Full report

CLARINGTON, Ontario – The current Porsche 911 Carrera lineup is made up of 23 different variants and the 911 GT2 RS is the top dog. It is the fastest, most powerful 911 Porsche has ever made, and it is the current lap record holder for production cars on the famous North Loop of the Nurburgring where it even beat the time set by Porsche’s own 918 Spyder supercar. So when the opportunity came up to drive the GT2 RS on the track at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, I promptly cleared my agenda…

The best way to describe the GT2 RS is that it’s a cross between the 911 Turbo S and the 911 GT racing cars being flogged in endurance races worldwide. The engine has been lifted from the Turbo S, but the 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat six’s power output has been bumped from 580 to a staggering 700 horsepower at 7000 rpm, thanks in part to the fitting of larger turbochargers and a revised air intake. Maximum torque is rated at 553 pound-feet, and all of it is available from a low threshold of 2500 rpm.

The GT2 RS is rear-wheel drive and the only gearbox available is the dual-clutch, seven-speed PDK. Look in the frunk and you’ll find a five-litre tank filled with distilled water that is sprayed to cool the intake charge when the air temperature hits 50 degrees Celsius. Fun fact: you’ll need to refill that tank after two laps of the Nordschleife at full speed. This is a monster of an engine.

The GT2 RS also gets suspension bits borrowed from the 911 racing cars, with uniball bearing ball joints on all suspension arms as opposed to conventional elastokinematic bearings. The spring rates have been increased by fifty percent, while the anti-roll bars are more compliant, enabling more independent control of each wheel. The obsession with aerodynamics is clearly evident on the GT2 RS as it is on full-bore racing cars, with downforce rated at 312 kilograms in road-going trim and 416 kg in race-track trim. The GT2 RS tips the scales at 1470 kg, and can be made lighter with the addition of the Weissach package, which will shave 17 kg on the North American spec GT2 RS, thanks to a carbon-fibre roof and other lightweight bits. Serious stuff.

Photo: Yohan Leduc

I only get a handful of laps behind the wheel of the GT2 RS at CTMP, and I am following Zach Robichon, current points leader in the Canadian GT3 Cup Championship, who is driving a 911 Turbo S like the pro racer that he is. Under full power, there’s no denying that this is a turbocharged engine as the turbos spool quickly and a massive wave of torque engulfs the car as soon as the tachometer hits 2500 rpm. The car just vaults over to Corner 2, which arrives in the blink of an eye.

The way the power is delivered on the twin-turbocharged GT2 RS is massively different to that of the normally aspirated 911 GT3 RS I drove just a few weeks ago on the Grand Prix circuit at the Nurburgring. The GT3 RS is high-strung with a piercing wail and maximum power at high rpm. There is less aural drama with the GT2 RS, but the speed builds incredibly quickly. Heading into Quebec corner, braking is stellar with the carbon composite brakes at work, the NACA ducts cut into the front hood feeding air to the brakes for cooling. Getting closer to the apex, you have to be careful with the throttle application. There is so much torque under your right foot that applying too much power too soon will tend to unbalance the car and alter the slip angles of the massive Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires.

Through Moss corner, you head down the Mario Andretti straight with the engine at full load, up through the gears. Even before the dogleg that is Turn 7, you can feel the downforce at play and the car even touches the track over some slight bumps at well over 250 kilometres per hour. Even at that speed, the GT2 RS feels very stable, the car only moving slightly following track undulations. This is one impressive and very powerful machine.

Photo: Porsche AG

Less than one hundred of these cars will make their way to Canada with a base price of $334,000, and loads of options that will make prices go well north of that. As an example, the GT2 RS I drove at CTMP featured the Weissach package as well as a few other options for a total cost just a shade under $400K.

So, which one do you get? GT2 RS or GT3 RS? Tough question. Even though I was mightily impressed with the Alpha Dog that is the twin-turbocharged GT2 RS, I would choose the normally aspirated GT3 RS which felt both lighter and slightly more responsive. The GT3 RS is a precise tactical weapon and the GT2 RS is a blitzkrieg-style, all-out assault on performance. But to each his own, and both cars deliver a thrilling experience. One thing is certain, 911 RS cars are only available during the short window that signals the end of the line for the current-generation 911 Carrera and heralds the imminent arrival of the next model. Get yours while you can.

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