dun-dun-DUNNNNNN!!! You have every right to be afraid, track-types. The 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS is here and it is going to kick your you know what around the track unless you unload some serious rolling stock off your trailer. Yes, it’s road legal, and yes, it’ll beat you there too, but this beast’s natural environment is the track.
Front & Center
This line from Porsche pretty much tells you everything you need to know, and with great brevity: “World premiere of the most powerful naturally aspirated series-production 911 ever.” If you can extrapolate from that, you know just what a terror the new 911 GT3 RS is going to be. Look at what Porsche has done since day one. They have made more with less at an aggravating rate. For example, mid-1980s 911s were able to run with Ferraris and Lamborghinis with engines half the size running half the cylinders.
Power & Performance
The mill in the 2019 GT3 RS sounds like something NASA would make. It’s a four-liter, naturally aspirated flat-six engine that produces 20 horsepower more than the 2016 version of the 911 GT3 RS. That adds up to 520 horsepower and 346 lb-ft. of torque. It has plasma coated cylinder liners, a central oil supply through the crankshaft, larger bearing diameters, larger con-rod bearings, and a more rigid valvetrain with shims for clearance compensation. The red line is set at a superbike-esque 9,000 rpms, while the transmission is a specifically-tuned, seven-speed PDK unit with performance-oriented gearing.
The exhaust is made of titanium and air is ingested through ram-style openings in the rear quarter panels. Just for good measure.
Weight Reduction Strategies
Said plant lives in a home where aerodynamics and lightweight construction have driven the overall design. The body is wide, weight-optimized, and features a fixed rear wing. The front and rear fascias are made of lightweight polyurethane. The front trunk lid and fenders are made of carbon fiber and the roof is friggin’ magnesium. There are NACA ducts in the front trunk lid for improved brake cooling without adding drag. The front fascia has a larger spoiler lip that increases downforce and works with the larger side skirts. Out back, that (comically) large wing is mounted on a carbon fiber deck lid and works with a rear underbody diffusor to make the RS stick like a limpet. Bottom line: Double the downforce of the regular 911 GT3 at 124 mph.
The racy stuff continues on the inside as well. Full bucket seats with carbon fiber reinforced backrests and a high degree of lateral support; lightweight glass for the rear and side windows; lightweight door panels with door opening loops in place of metal handles; abridged sound insulation, and the rear seat? Gone. You don’t need the weight. And the cherry on top is a 360 mm Alcantara steering wheel with a yellow 12 o’clock center marker. Sweet!
Ride & Handling
Now, about that chassis. Yes, I know, shoot, we all know, that 911s have certain, shall we say, quirks in their handling. Let me be blunt: 911s can be a complete bear to hang on to in corners. All the chassis tricks, computer controls, and such are working against the cruel physics of having all the weight of the drivetrain way, way at the back. These things spin like a Frisbee.
To counter that, the 2019 GT3 RS comes with Porsche’s Active Suspension Management (PASM), active engine mounts, rear axle steering, and the fully-variable electronic locking rear differential with Porsche’s Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV+). The ball joints on all links deliver greater precision than conventional bearings and rubber bushings. Added into the mix are new “helper springs” at the front and rear axles. Ride height, toe, camber, caster, and sway bar settings of the suspension can be adjusted to suit individual driver preferences.
Further, the wheels are forged lightweight deals measuring 9.5 x 20 inches in diameter and are wrapped in newly developed 265/35 ultra-high performance tires up front. Out back there are 12.5 x 21-inch wheels with 325/30 tires. Braking, always a Porsche performance ace, is accomplished by large, cross-drilled grey cast iron rotors measuring 380 mm front and rear, standard. If you like, Porsche’s Ceramic Composite Brake system with even bigger 410 mm rotors at the front and 390 mm rotors at the back are available. In case you’re interested, the ceramic rotors weigh around 50 percent less than the cast-iron jobs.
There’s an optional Weissach package available, which seems to be a thing for all Porsche models now. The Weissach package reduces weight even further with upgraded front and rear sway bars and coupling rods, plus an even lighter vehicle roof and steering wheel. The shift paddles are all made of carbon fiber, dropping weight by 13 pounds. There are optional forged magnesium wheels, weighing around 25 pounds less than the standard wheels – but only if you get the Weissach package. Go with this option and the car scales in at 3,153 pounds. Nice!
Pricing & Availability
A lot. Much, much dollars. The 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS is available for order now, and is expected at dealerships this fall. The base price is (gulp) $187,500. The Weissach package will run you another $18,000, and the mag wheels can be yours for an additional $13,000. So, over $200,000 by the time you’re done, and, let’s be honest here: It’s. Worth. Every. Penny.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.