Somehow over the years, the Nürburgring has become the de facto benchmark for carmakers. What once started out as a make-work project by the Nazis (no, really) and ended up being the venue for the German Grand Prix for decades was, for a while there, seemingly consigned to being a footnote in racing history. Niki Lauda’s near-fatal crash in ’76 sounded the death knell for the track as a GP venue in favor of safer more anodyne locations like Hockenheim or the new Nürburgring GP circuit.
Local Attraction, Digital Destination
The old track, properly referred to as the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, was still there, draped around the countryside, ringing the ancient ruins of a Medieval castle, used on occasion for sports car races, and, for no sane, logical, reasonable explanation, open to the average driver as a public road. You could, and still can, for a not-unreasonable fee, take any car with a license plate for a lap around the old Nordschleife. Everything from 2CVs to big bore Ferraris were welcome and this, over the years, grew organically into a yardstick to measure yourself and your car.
Automotive manufacturers cottoned to this growing level of cachet right around the same time that Sony and Microsoft were establishing themselves in the game console market. Before you could legally drive on a public road in this country, you could lap the Nürburgring-Nordschleife just as fast as your digital car could go in a PlayStation or Xbox.
And now, setting a hot lap time around the old circuit means something, and boy, did Porsche just blast off a hot one a few days back with their 2018 911 GT2 RS. For those of you that want to cut to the chase, here’s the number: 6:47.3. That is, to use the engineering term, really &#%$^*$ fast! I mean mein Gott in Himmel fast. Seriously. Power up your PlayStation or your Xbox and give it a go. See how fast you can go. G’head. Take your time. I can wait . . . see? Not that easy, is it?
And do keep in mind that although the 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS is a factory stripper hot rod, it is also a fully street legal sports car. This is no track day special. You could hang a license plate off your 911 GT2 RS and drive it to work if you wanted to. I know I would, but I’m funny like that.
Porsche’s best lap time of 6:47.3 minutes surpassed Zuffenhausen’s internal target by 17.7 seconds, a huge gap to say the least. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Motorsport and GT Cars for Porsche, stated flatly, “this result makes it official: The GT2 RS is not only the most powerful, but also the fastest 911 model ever built.”
As if that lap record wasn’t intimidating enough, it’s also worth noting that it wasn’t a single, go for broke, banzai lap. Porsche points out that once drivers Lars Kern and Nick Tandy broke the previous record for street legal sports cars of 6:52.01, they immediately proceeded to lap the track in under 6:50 on five separate occasions. Although Kern and Tandy were each trading the quickest times back and forth, it was Kern, a Porsche test driver by trade that set the quickest mark of the day.
Power & Performance
The specs for the 911 GT2 RS are just as staggering as that lap time. It’s the fastest and most powerful road-going 911 thanks to a 3.6-liter twin turbo flat-six engine, producing 700 horsepower and 553 lb-ft. of torque. The two-seater tips the scales at 3,241 pounds and is shod with standard N-spec Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. All this adds up to a 0 to 60 launch of 2.7 seconds and a top speed of 211 mph.
The Porsche 911 GT2 RS is the cover car in Microsoft’s upcoming Forza 7. Forza 7 will be one of the main launch titles for the soon-to-be-released Xbox One X which means, given the inclusion of the Nürburgring-Nordschleife in Forza, that you could have a tilt at those lap times laid down by Messrs. Kern and Tandy. I know I’ll be trying.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias toward lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.