There’s an orange Porsche 911 parked on my driveway, and it’s making me feel nervous. It’s not the most valuable car I’ve been lucky enough to drive, nor is it not the most powerful. It’s not the fastest either. But all the same, I approach the orange brute - with Porsche’s silly car-shaped, colour-matched key in hand - and can’t help but feel a sense of trepidation in the pit of my stomach.
How can you not be intimidated by this car? It sits on massive, 325-section rear tyres. The rear wing is almost as tall as the roof line and has a surface area to rival that of a medium-sized dining table. There are vents, lumps and grooves pretty much wherever you look. And most importantly, the script on dat ass reads ‘GT3 RS’. Until Porsche hurries up and makes a GT2 for the 991 generation - something yet to be confirmed - this is the most extreme 911 money can buy. Hell, in the absence of the 918 Spyder, it’s the most extreme Porsche full stop.
As I open the door and clumsily flop into the deep recess of the driver’s carbonfibre bucket seat, I’m contemplating what this car is for. It’s one of the world’s most expensive, most exotic track cars out there, but if you were one of the fortunate and jolly rich so-and-sos who owned one, you’d want to drive it all the time, right? Not just on the odd weekend when you’ve managed to squeeze some circuit time into your hectic schedule of being a baller.
With that in mind, I’ve keyed in the location in which I’ll be meeting our photographer (yep, unlike some RSs this one actually has nav and radio optioned), deep within the rolling hills and twisty roads of the Cotswolds. Either this GT3 RS will feel overblown, unwieldy and outrageously excessive, or I’m in for one of the greatest drives of my life.
Certainly, we’re not off to a good start. The simple task of backing off the driveway is complicated by multiple factors. There’s the view out the rear window - which sees you peering through a tiny slit under the rear wing and between two chunky bits of roll cage - the fact I’m having to exit at a weird angle to avoid digging the front splitter into the pavement, and the dual-clutch ‘PDK’ gearbox which in the RS is surprisingly jerky at low speeds.
Once on the road though, the GT3 is a surprisingly easy car to drive normally. Sure, the cabin is filled with tyre and engine noise thanks to a loss of much of the sound deadening, but it’s nothing you couldn’t cope with on a medium length journey. And yes, it does ride very firmly, but so long as you don’t have the dampers in full angry bastard mode, you’ll remain on good terms with your spine.
With the oil temperature nicely warm and a gap up ahead, it’s finally time to succumb to temptation and discover just what happens when you poke this Porsche with a stick. A few tugs on the exquisite aluminium downshift paddle on the steering wheel, and the 4.0-litre, 493bhp flat-six awakes from its uneasy slumber, with a big spike of revs rattling out of the titanium pipework.
Right foot flat to the floor, and before I’ve even had a chance to comprehend the surging forward momentum that feels as though it’s about to turn me into mush and paste me all over the driver’s seat, I’ve already cycled through three gear changes and am backing off before the speeds get really anti-social. And the noise - good lord, the noise! I’ve always thought a flat-six Porsche engine should howl in the mid-range, but from 3000rpm right up to the 8700rpm red line, this N/A six-banger doesn’t howl: it shrieks.
Imagine the noise made by the biggest, angriest creature in Game of Thrones stepping on a giant Lego brick, and you’re about there. It’s not sweet, it’s not melodic - it’s pure, industrial savagery, and there are none of the usual fake pops and bangs we’ve come to expect from sports cars. This thing’s too serious for such poser malarky.
Two hours in, and I’m at last peeling off the motorway, closing in on our shoot location. Threading through a picturesque village, its main road flagged by buildings hundreds of years old, I suddenly feel like I actually am in Game of Thrones. Well, I would do if it wasn’t for the countless Range Rovers, BMWs and Mercedes littered down the road. But even in this clearly very affluent part of the world, the outrageously be-winged GT3 RS is stealing all of the attention. But then, few cars carry with them such a potent serving of bombast.
As the medieval buildings make way for open countryside, a quick glance of the clock reveals some good news: I’m early. Be rude not to go for a little play first, surely? A quick stab from my left index finger stiffens the adaptive dampers back up again, but that’s all I need to do - refreshingly, there isn’t a dizzying array of driver modes to choose from here. No throttle response-killing eco mode to turn down to, no race mode to turn it up to. Although as a reminder of this car’s true stomping ability, there is a speed limiter button.
Another few pulls on the left-hand paddle and a stretch of the right leg, and the GT3 RS offers up another relentless surge of manic acceleration. I could just let the PDK ‘box do its thing, but where’s the fun in that? Instead, I’ve the gear selector locked to the left, leaving the shifts up to me.
I’m changing as late as possible, just before the 4.0-litre six smashes into the rev limiter. An almighty THUD crashes through my body as another cog is slammed home. After only just registering the ludicrously brief pause in power, the rev counter goes chasing that red line once more, before that THUD reverberates through the car again. I haven’t experienced such violent last-gasp shifts since driving a single-clutch Maserati MC Stradale a year ago. But that thing’s just a sportified GT car; the RS is a lot more full-on than that.
The term ‘racing car for the road’ is something manufacturers often bandy about, and it’s usually just a load of marketing bullshit. But here, it’s bang on the money, and that’s before we’ve even dealt with the cornering. Most near-500bhp rear-wheel drive cars require you to treat the throttle pedal with care, but here, that output just cannot hope to trouble the fat, 918 Spyder-sourced rear tyres, such is the mechanical grip on offer.
Boot it on the exit of a corner with zero sympathy? Nothing. Full bore launch? Nothing. Enabling launch control, which holds the revs at 6000rpm before shooting you off the line? Nothing. Well, the tiniest of scrabbles, but that’s it.
That isn’t to say that the GT3 RS takes everything in its stride with an effortlessness that makes the whole affair boring. Far from it. The sheer aggressiveness of the steering means you’re constantly making tiny adjustments as your brain tries to keep up with the bonkers pace.
It’s enormously quick off centre, and is set up to take a hell of a lot of kickback from every single lump, bump and imperfection from the road surface. No other electric power steering setup I’ve sampled offers quite so much feedback, and its ferocity isn’t for the faint hearted; it offers a gloriously absorbing driving experience.
Our work in this once peaceful part of the countryside - now shattered by a race car-like six-cylinder shriek - is almost done, and there’s still a nagging feeling that hasn’t escaped me all day: this thing really does belong on the race track. You need long straights to really stretch the legs of the 4.0-litre boxer out back. You need high-speed corners to feel the crazy aero package - good for a massive 330kg of downforce - pushing you into the ground, and you need some wide open corners to try your luck at unsticking that barnacle-like rear.
But here’s the rub: if you have one of these and if its only outings are for a few laps of Silverstone whenever you’ve a free weekend, you’re missing out. Based on what I’ve found here today, if I owned a 911 GT3 RS, I’d drive it as much as I damn well could, road or track.