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2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS: It Looks Bad-Ass Because It Is

DAVID BEARD

The 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS is Stuttgart’s answer to those who find that the $300,000-ish GT2 RS is out of reach. To the eye, the track-ready GT3 RS looks much like that one-digit-smaller, megapower Nürburgring blitzer, as the two cars’ wide-bodied exteriors share quite a lot, including louvered carbon-fiber front fenders and a carbon-fiber hood punched through with NACA ducts to cool the standard iron brake rotors or optional carbon-ceramic units. The front fascia carries over from the standard GT3, although a more aggressive splitter is fitted to its lower edge for increased downforce. Intakes are sculpted into the fenders to draw air into the engine coolers, and there is an RS-specific rear bumper with larger side intakes. The manually adjustable carbon-fiber rear wing and rear underbody diffuser create additional downforce to keep the standard Michelin Sport Cup 2 rubber pushed securely into the tarmac at the GT3 RS’s claimed top speed of 193 mph.

What did we learn about the car from riding in the passenger seat for two laps with world champion rally driver Walter Röhrl at the wheel as he navigated a frozen road course, mostly sideways, in northern Finland? Not a whole lot, beyond confirming yet again that Röhrl is a far better driver than we are and that we remain mesmerized by the sound of six air-intake trumpets tuned to the key of H-flat.

For RS duty, Porsche’s screaming naturally aspirated 4.0-liter flat-six is tweaked to churn out 520 horsepower, a bump of 20 horsepower over non-RS GT3s. The additional power is squeezed from the engine—which has the same strengthened block and lightweight valvetrain as the standard GT3—via a new intake and titanium exhaust system that breathe more efficiently, while an updated engine calibration keeps the timing curve in check. Sorry, manual fans: Torque will be routed to the rear wheels solely through Porsche’s seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission. Other tricks for the track include dynamic engine mounts, a torque-vectoring electronic rear differential, and rear-wheel steering—all standard equipment. Suspension amendments parallel those on the GT2 RS: more rigid ball joints on the suspension links in place of rubber bushings and helper springs in the front and rear, in this case tuned specifically for the GT3 RS.

The GT3 RS stays light on its toes with body panels made from carbon fiber, aluminum, and magnesium. The interior is a sea of carbon-fiber trimmings and microsuede upholstery, and, as in the normal GT3, the cramped rear seat is removed. Further weight-saving measures for the RS include feather-light glass in the rear and sides, lighter door panels with nylon door-opening straps, and less sound insulation, because who doesn’t want to hear that sweet engine spin to 9000 rpm? Aggressively bolstered bucket seats keep organs in check when the surely staggeringly high lateral-acceleration limits are reached. In European markets, the RS will come equipped with a titanium roll cage; unfortunately, federal regulations in the United States will not allow such awesomeness for us. Opting for the $18,000 Weissach package pares what little fat remains (around 13 pounds, according to Porsche) by swapping out the magnesium roof for a carbon-fiber one and installing trick front and rear anti-roll-bar links constructed of the same material. Available separately for $13,000 are ultra-light magnesium wheels to minimize unsprung mass in this track specialist.

Starting at $188,550, the 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS is a relative bargain when put next to the other animal wearing the RS badge, the 700-hp twin-turbocharged GT2. It’ll be money well spent if our previous experience with the outgoing GT3 RS is any indicator. Orders are being accepted now with deliveries expected in the fall of 2018.