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DRIVEN: 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS

Time:2018-06-12 21:14Turbochargers information Click:

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Roughly every seven years Porsche releases an ultra-rare, extreme-performance model for their biggest, wealthiest fans.

This time it’s the 911 GT2 RS, which, to date, is the highest-performing street-legal 911 ever.

A comprehensive re-engineering of the 911 to GT2 RS specification was required to meet lofty performance targets which, at writing, saw this machine claim the title of “fastest production car around the Nurburgring.”

The spec sheet reads like a combination of a boy-racer’s Christmas wish-list and a Billy Mays infomercial. But wait, there’s more.

The engine is GT2 RS specific. So is the aerodynamics package, which adds nearly 500 kilograms of downforce at top speed.

DRIVEN: 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS

There’s a park-bench-sized rear wing and hood-mounted ducting to feed air onto the front brakes, themselves made of exotic ceramic composite.

Enlarged turbochargers and a specially-designed air intake keep the 3.8-litre flat-six feasting on a stream of cool, pressurized air.

Ditto a system that sprays a cooling mist of water onto the (enlarged) intercoolers, enabling the use of higher boost pressure more often.

Weight reduction efforts are on par with a Jenny Craig class: There are Gorilla-glass windows, a titanium exhaust, magnesium wheels and a nearly total elimination of sound deadening to keep things light. Result? This lethally-capable 911 variant delivers 700 horsepower and weighs as much as a Toyota Camry.

It’s basically a race-car with signal lights and a licence plate. There’s even a built-in fire extinguisher.

Want one? Get in touch with a Porsche dealer immediately: Less than 100 copies will come to Canada and they’ll sell out fast.

DRIVEN: 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS

The 2018 Porsche 911 GT3, left, and Porsche 911 Carrera T on the track at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.  

We’re on the GP circuit at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (formerly Mosport). An instructor in a lead car set the pace, with your writer strapped into this two-seat, carbon-fibre rocket thruster.

“Follow my tire tracks exactly,” he said. “And stay five car lengths back please, we don’t want any rock chips!”

The GT2 RS’s acceleration, in a word, is horrifying: Press the throttle and you’re met immediately by a whistling shriek as the turbochargers spool behind you, attacking the rear wheels with all 700 horsepower.

The acceleration is explosive and absolutely relentless. I assume fighter jets accelerate this fast. The lead car was a 911 Turbo S — one of the fastest cars I’ve ever driven — and in the GT2 RS, I could have passed him on a few of the straight stretches.

As horrifyingly fast as the GT2 RS builds speed, the monstrous ceramic composite brakes make it disappear even faster. Again and again, diving deep and hard into the capabilities of this exotic braking system, I feel like I’d go through the seatbelt if it were any thinner.

Cornering and handling are maniacal. Partly because of the rear-mounted engine, the GT2 RS’s rump weighs more, the harder you get onto the throttle.

In some instances with spleen-splitting cornering forces setting off warning lights in my brain, my instructor, via radio, advised I needed to use more throttle.

Simply, pressing harder on the throttle makes the rear-drive GT2 RS even stickier.

Drivers direct it all via a light, playful and near-perfect steering that’s communicative and encouraging. Most remarkable? Impossibly small steering inputs are all that’s required to flit the car from bend to bend.

You’re directing all of this performance with just a few millimetres of fingertip movement.

DRIVEN: 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS

Ditto shifting gears via the steering-wheel-mounted paddles. BLAM! Third. BLAM! Fourth. BLAM! Fifth. This race-inspired transmission shifts, literally, at eye-blink speeds.

Ultimately, as all 911s do, the GT2 RS feels encouraging: less of a best to be conquered, and more of a supportive and encouraging driving partner.

This is core in what makes a 911 a 911, even if you need a supercomputer for a brain to process the rate at which this thing inhales the scenery ahead.

This is a 911 through and through and I’m still wrapping my puny brain around the engineering responsible for making 700 horsepower feel so accessible, even friendly at times, to a track-day rookie like me.

Probably, it’s as friendly as this level of absolute performance overkill can be made to feel.

Of course, the power output will land you in jail if you use it on the street, and the price of my tester, including the optional cosmetic and (further) weight-reducing Weissach package, landed at about $400,000.

So, thankfully, there are other new additions to the Porsche lineup if you’re after a similarly pleasing experience on a (relatively) smaller budget.

In my opinion, the three most worth investigation include the Cayman GTS, 911 Carrera T, and 911 GT3.

The Cayman GTS adds a value-priced performance equipment bundle to the mid-engine Cayman, which I insist is among the best all-around performance cars on the road today.

In GTS guise, you get a heap of optional performance kit on the relative cheap, and a boost in power. For bang for the performance buck, this is one of Porsche’s ultimate machines.

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