Why the Porsche 911 GT3 RS is the wildest car on sale

It asks more from a driver than anything else on sale, witholding its best until you set self-preservation aside and put your faith in aerodynamics that allow the car to carve through corners at more than double the highway speed limit.

Enormous spoilers endow Porsche’s ultimate road racer with more downforce than any car on the road – and more than many race cars.

The Porsche delivers more grip the faster you go, digging into the tarmac with a ferocity once reserved for single-seater race cars.

For most drivers, that requires a change in the way you drive.

Veteran racers from Porsche’s driving school examine data during our test drive at The Bend circuit in South Australia. There is nowhere to hide.

The data shows I dab the brake before fast corners, partially to settle my nerves but also to transfer weight to the front tyres and help the car turn.

This works in normal cars, but the GT3 RS is not a normal car.

The Porsche is what engineers call “pitch sensitive”, which means you must be mindful of front-to-back changes in attitude at speed, as the oversized rear wing maintains the perfect angle of attack into the airstream.

At the end of the main straight, rather than squeezing the brakes and progressively ramping up pressure, the right technique is to hit the anchors with everything you’ve got to maximise initial bite at peak speeds when the aero load is strongest.

Then you need to ease off the left pedal as airflow over the car slows, or you’ll trigger the anti-lock braking system as grip reduces.

There is much to consider, and that’s before you factor in new dials on the steering wheel that allow drivers to make adjustments never seen before.

You can change the limited-slip differential’s behaviour to increase stability or agility on the entrance and exit to corners.

You can also customise the suspension settings in the front and rear.

There are lap timers and analysis tools, as well as adjustable traction and stability control settings.

But there is nowhere to put your helmet, race suit or groceries, because the cargo space is taken up by a roll cage in the rear and a Le Mans-spec radiator in the nose.

There are gorgeous details everywhere you look, and more carbon than a public playground barbecue.

Shark-like fins on the roof steer hot air from the front mounted cooling system away from the engine’s massive air intake underneath the spoiler.

The extreme approach is a result of Porsche reaching the limit of an engine that only just complies with emissions and noise requirements.

Unlike most supercars, this machine is rapid despite its motor, not because of it.

The naturally aspirated 4.0-litre six wails like a retro Grand Prix racer as it spins to 9000rpm in search of 386kW of power.

It sounds glorious but lacks the sledgehammer punch of turbocharged rivals or high-performance electric cars.

Straight-line performance is helped by an F1-style drag reduction system that folds the spoiler’s upper blade at high speed.

You can manually activate it with the press of a button on the steering wheel, or trust the car’s computer to activate it at the right time.

Officially priced from $500,200 plus on road costs, the car costs about $580,000 drive away –roughly $130,000 more than the 911 GT3 that has the same motor but little aero trickery.

Our “signal yellow” test example had a further $152,000 in options, including magnesium wheels and an exotic carbon fibre roll cage not found on any other vehicle.

TRY BEFORE YOU BUY

You don’t need to spend six figures to try the new GT3 RS on track.

The machine will soon be part of the Porsche Track Experience, which costs about $5000 for a full day of driving under the supervision of professional racers.

VERDICT

The 911 GT3 RS is an road racer that asks more of its driver than anything else on sale. Impractical and uncompromising, it is almost unrivalled for driving thrills.

Four stars

PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS

PRICE About $580,000 drive-away

ENGINE 4.0-litre 6-cyl, 386kW and 465Nm

SAFETY 6 airbags, stability control, racing harnesses, roll cage

WARRANTY 3yr/u’ltd km

THIRST 13.2L/100km

CARGO None

SPARE Repair kit

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