Potentially the most exciting car to come out of Frankfurt motor show week was not even at the show. While brands were pulling the covers off shiny new things under event spotlights, a team of Porsche engineers were busy testing an even racier version of the 718 Cayman at the Nurburgring. Now, as if to reaffirm that a GT4 RS is indeed in the works, they’re back out running the anticipated 450hp-producing machine, which shamelessly leaves a swan-neck rear wing and RS bonnet almost completely uncovered.
We’re expecting the usual mix of intoxicating specifications to be thrown at this 718 range-topper, including a bump in power and revs from its naturally aspirated flat-six thanks to internals borrowed from the GT3 4.0-litre, a pared-back cabin with bucket seats and optional harnesses and half roll cage, as well as race-derived brake cooling. In fact, both the anchors and powertrain are set for more cold air, as shown by carbon fibre NACA ducts on the nose and slats in the back (and probably lightweight plastic) windows.
With such a brilliant starting point in the GT4, we’re not expecting any drastic changes underneath the RS. Instead, a fine-tuning of existing hardware with geometry inspired by the Clubsport racer and a shifting of damping parameters towards the firmer side seems likely. We don’t need to explain what potential those chassis changes, coupled to a body producing more downforce and carrying less weight, would do to a mid-engined machine like this. Cue an afternoon of daydreaming that dream drive…
As the most performance-focussed version of the 718, however, the GT4 RS will almost certainly follow suit of 911 RSs and be PDK only, using the same ‘box that the ‘regular’ GT4 will receive as an option in 2020. But RS models are usually so razor sharp that the brilliantly quick shifts of Porsche’s dual-clutch transmission feel totally appropriate and add to the experience. An RS Porsche is, after all, essentially a set of stickers and slicks away from going full racing car.
The lack of camo on the development car suggests we’re not too far from meeting it officially. Naturally, we’ll all want one, but something tells us only those with £100,000 spare and close connections to a Porsche dealer are likely to find themselves behind the wheel of a GT4 RS in 2020. For the rest of us, there's an extended range of flat-six Caymans to get excited about, or these ready and waiting used GT4s.