Finland is properly brass monkeys. Minus 28 in fact, but nobody's complaining. As car reveals go it's the most unusual one I've been to yet, Porsche's GT Boss Andreas Preuninger, stood in front of what's very clearly the new GT3 RS, covered up in this winter wonderland. We're at Porsche's Experience Centre around 110 miles north of the Arctic Circle and they're about to pull the covers off it.
Not that anyone was under any illusion what might be under the sheet, the big wing makes it fairly obvious. Some of the details about the Lizard Green machine you'll have already gleaned thanks to the perennially leaky internet, but in case you missed them here's a re-cap. It retains its 4.0-litre capacity, and, contrary to many internet rumours, isn't turbocharged.
It's essentially identical to the engine in the GT3, though the differing intake, exhaust and electronic control liberates a few more hp, raising output from 500 up to 520hp. Torque's up about 7lb ft, too, the RS's engine featuring the same 9,000rpm maximum as its GT3 sibling. The numbers? It'll do 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds and reach a maximum of 193.8mph. As ever, don't be surprised if those figures are a touch conservative.
Despite being revealed at an event celebrating 30 years of Porsche's four-wheel drive system, the RS remains rear-wheel drive only. PDK only, too, as is its way. Three-pedal and stick fans having to console themselves with
a manual GT3
. As is typical with an RS it's all about the details. Preuninger admits it's not simply about power, but instead a case of finessing the package, making small gains that collectively add up to a greater whole: "This is more about tactility, precision. Precision was in general what we had in mind."
Unsurprisingly, then, the chassis borrows heavily from the GT2 RS, the suspension featuring the same solid links, with the exception of one mount relating to the rear-wheel steering system. Essentially it's set -up like a Cup car, the spring rates doubled over the GT3, Preuninger admitting that the suspension is where the GT3 RS gains the most. Enough, he reckons for a Nurburgring time of around 7 minutes 5 seconds, significantly quicker than the old car, and he says only about one second of that gain would be down to the increased power.
The improvements will be traction, grip, control and aero. Everything from the rear-wheel steering system and e-diff controls having been re-calibrated, to the brake pads now sitting fractionally closer to the discs. Those discs will be steel as standard, or PCCB carbon ceramic items if you tick the correct option box. With either material the front brakes are cooled by the NACA ducts in the bonnet borrowed from the GT2 RS, these having the dual benefit of also cleaning up the air travelling over the back of the car to the rear wing. That wing sits a touch higher, the RS able to generate the same downforce as its predecessor, but doing so while generating less drag.
Weight savings obviously feature, too, Preuninger claiming to have saved 5kg in the carpets and sound-proofing alone. What it'll eventually tip the scales at remains a number to be decided by the homologation laws, though Preuninger admits it'll likely be the same as the old car. That's thanks to new measurement regulations not allowing Porsche to do so with all the weight saving options specified. They remain familiar, the ability to have your RS sans radio and air-conditioning, if you're some sort of mass masochist.
There'll be the choice of lighter seats, while another element pinched from the GT2 RS parts bin is the availability of a Weissach Package. Pick that and you'll drop another 29kg over a Clubsport equipped car thanks to the fitment of carbon-fibre bonnet and roof, magnesium wheels and a titanium cage. The Weissach Package will, says Preuninger, be offered as a two-stage option, early cars unable to have the magnesium wheels - which save around 12kg - due to production delays. Visually, the Weissach Pack equipped cars will be obvious thanks to the carbon on the bonnet and roof, the GT3 RS not getting the body-coloured stripe of the GT2 RS.
We'll likely see a Weissach-equipped car in Geneva, the Lizard Green car in Finland joined by a development hack in black 'disguise'. It's that car I'm just about to get in, with Porsche's Walter Rohrl at the wheel. A few laps, on ice, with 520hp, rear-wheel drive and a rally legend in control. Rohrl does that ridiculous thing of making it all look so easy, his inputs so measured, so efficient as to make them look lazy, their slowness in stark contrast to the speed they're generating through the high snow banks on the tight, challenging course. The noise filling the cabin is sensational, the GT3 RS's screaming 4.0-litre flat-six making a sound that's pure racer, the suspension smoothing off the rough, rutted surface, demonstrating the same ridiculous balance of control and supple ride that the GT2 RS boasts. Rohrl's as measured in his response to my questions as to how it compares to the old GT3 RS, simply saying: "it's much better." And until we actually get to drive it, I'm not about to argue...
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