There are times in life when the stars align, the angels sing and all is right with the world. This past weekend was one of those times and dammit if it wasn’t a blast. You see I had the very fortunate experience of being invited up to Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, CA to thrash on a 2011 Porsche GT3 RS. Make no mistake, this is a track car that was produced for one reason, and one reason only… to go fast. Its 3.8-liter flat six pumps out 450 hp, it will run 0-60 mph in about 4.0 seconds and onto a top speed of 193 mph. You also won’t find any foo-foo flappy paddles as the GT3 RS only comes with a proper 6-speed manual gearbox. That means you’d better know how to drive this sucker before you jump in the saddle, because if you don’t this Porsche will bite you square in the ass. I’ve driven a lot of track minded automobiles in my time from Corvette Z06’s and Subaru STI’s, to hyper exotics like the Gumpert Apollo and Lamborghini Murciélago LP670. All of these machines will obviously make you smile, but none so much as the Porsche’s GT3 RS.
*Yes, that is in fact yours truly behind the wheel.
This car is what driving is all about, in fact it’s the only car I’ve ever driven where you truly feel that bond between man and machine. The steering for instance is perfectly weighted and crisp, with inputs that are transmitted instantly from the front wheels to your 9 and 3 positioned hands. The carbon ceramic brakes are amazing and haul the Porsche down from speed lap after lap with absolutely no hint of fade. The engine… oh that engine, is simply a marvel of engineering that provides not only high end grunt but usable torque everywhere through the rev range.
Hammering down Thunderhill’s front straight and into turn one was nothing short of sublime as confidence is what the GT3 RS is all about. The more you drive it, the better it gets and with each successive lap our times dropped lower and lower. The carbon backed Porsche sport seats hold you in tightly, while the perfectly placed shifter lets you roll through the gears with ease. What’s truly amazing about this car are the levels of grip it has. I found myself running hotter and hotter into corners while at the same time, powering out with full-on throttle with no real drama to speak of.
Where cars like the Nissan GT-R make you feel like a great driver, the Porsche GT3 RS actually makes you a great driver – there is a difference. Understand that this car was built by Porsche for one reason and one reason only – to enhance the ability of their owners skill level on race tracks. It’s interior is basic, its drive train is traditional and in the end it’s probably the purest, most single focused track oriented car on the market today.
This is not a car that you’d purchase as a daily driver. It’s noisy due a lack of sound deadening, it’s extremely low which means speed bumps are not your friends, and those carbon fiber backed seats while comfy, are certainly not made for long distance travel. However, if you are looking for the best handling, most exhilarating and track oriented car on the planet, then look no further because the 2011 Porsche GT3 RS is the ONLY way to go.