It won’t have escaped your attention that Porsche recently set a new Nurburgring Nordschleife record with the new Porsche 911 GT3 RS. The fastest lap time for a naturally aspirated sports car now belongs to the 991.2 GT3 RS with a solid 6 minutes 56.4 second effort. It is the third Porsche to deliver a sub-7 minute lap time, following in the footsteps of the Porsche 918 Spyder and the GT2 RS.

How did Porsche manage to make this new GT3 RS so much faster than the last generation? We went to the Nurburgring to get behind the wheel and find out. Its predecessors, including the first 911 GT3 RS from 2003, were on hand to provide some context.

Porsche 911 GT3 RS Weissach

To fully understand the GT3 RS you have to take a look at what the RS badge stands for. Its inception cam about with the 1972 911 Carrera RS 2.7. Porsche were required to build at least 500 road cars to homologate the model for GT racing. It was an instant hit, and Porsche eventually produced over 1,000 cars. The success spawned multiple road going RS badged models up until the late 1990s.

Following the tradition of the original RS 2.7, the modern GT3 RS models are born from Porsche’s racing tradition. This is also true for the latest GT3 RS. It gets Porsche’s most powerful naturally aspirated engine, exceptional downforce and countless components carried over from motorsports.

That said, on paper, the specifications of the new GT3 RS look modest. The 4.0 litre six-cylinder engine produces 520 hp and 470 Nm of torque, just 20 hp more that the outgoing model. Remarkably, its Nordschleife lap time is 24 seconds faster than its predecessor!

Looking a little closer at the spec sheet, it revs all the way up to 9,000 rpm, 0-100 km/h is done in 3.2 seconds, 0-200 km/h in 10.6 seconds and the GT3 RS tops out at 312 km/h. Figures that put higher powered rivals to shame! The 7-Speed PDK gearbox gives lightning fast gear changes. Some will be disappointed to hear that a manual gearbox is still not an option with the GT3 RS. Torque vectoring is available and adds an electronically controlled, and fully variable rear differential lock.

On track I had the opportunity to drive the new GT3 RS back to back with the older generations. A very interesting opportunity that shed light on the difference between the previous GT3 RS and the new one.

6 Generations Porsche 911 GT3 RS

The paper specifications don’t do justice to the difference between the previous generation and the latest generation. The engine feels far more responsive, it has a turbo-like push in the mid-range. It is proof that the development of naturally aspirated engines has not yet reached its full potential. There are few things sounds come close to the howling of the 4.0 litre naturally aspirated inline six as it makes it way from 5,000 rpm to that magic red line at 9,000. It gives instant goosebumps, gear change after gear change.

Handling has also improved. Compared to its predecessor the new GT3 RS feels literally glued to the track. Each input returns a sharper response. This has been achieved through an overhaul of virtually every element, from air flow to ball joints on all arms, both hardware and software. It has been just three years since the previous generation GT3 RS was introduced. Given this, I am excited about what the next three years will bring.

For those customers looking for the ultimate track performance, there are a few options available; the Weissach package adds front and rear anti-roll bars together with additional styling elements. In addition, the standard composite brakes can be replaced with PCCB – the best ceramic composite brakes Porsche has to offer. A Clubsport package also adds a roll cage and 6-point seat belt is available at no extra charge.