First Drives

Meeting a GT3 RS

For the past few years, my boyfriend owned a 2007 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet – a 997 C2S Cab, in Porsche-speak. The car was a fantastic introduction to 911s for us, but as it spent more and more time on the track, it was clear to us this wasn’t the most appropriate car for him. He’d been tossing around the idea of getting a 997 mark 2 coupe, a 997 mark 2 GT3, or a 997 mark 1 GT3 RS.

We were discussing road trips and ways to move through the U.S. without spending the drive on the interstates. I mentioned the Natchez Trace Parkway, a road I’d seen as a kid, vacationing with my parents. This prompted David to search for a GT3 RS in Nashville, just to see if there was something there. He found something… An ’07 black and orange GT3 RS listed as a GT3. He called the dealership that Monday morning, and things were in motion. Two weeks, later, we flew to Nashville.

The car was sitting there, right in front, black and gleaming. Was it beautiful or was it hideous? I wasn’t sure, but I was sure I was smiling. David had completed all the paperwork before we left Houston, so we just got the keys and drove away.

So what can I say about the GT3 RS? It’s an interesting machine. There are some significant differences between the GT3 RS and the C2S Cab. The suspension is firm with stiff springs and dampers that control them well. Unlike with the C2S Cab, every bump in the road is transmitted to the driver. This allows the driver to know exactly what’s beneath him, inspiring confidence in the car’s grip. The shifter in the GT3 RS is notchy and firm, leaving the C2S Cab’s shifter “mushy” by comparison. The lightweight flywheel means the engine soars to its 8400 rpm redline, and combining this with the informative clutch makes rev matching a joy.┬áBut there’s no doubt the car is a 911, just as the C2S Cab was. Both share those rear engined handling characteristics – understeer punctuated by oversteer on a throttle lift. The GT3 RS provides a surprising amount of rear grip allowing the car to use its 415 horsepower well.

As we drove the car home from Nashville we truly tested its abilities as a road car. We spent hours in the car on a variety of roads, from interstates to a one-lane barely-paved road just off the Natchez Trace. The car made its way through small towns and heavy traffic with ease, with only the occasional exceptionally harsh driveway causing a scrape. The nose of the car has a plastic part that’s essentially disposable, so minor scrapes are insignificant. The strain on us, driving for hours on end, was no worse than in a sedan. The one shortcoming on the street that we encountered on our drive home was idling. That car does not want to idle. The idle is rough and the lightweight flywheel clatters.

We had a fantastic drive home. People everywhere smiled and waved as we drove by, and the grins from kids still make me smile.

By equiraptor on 17 September 2009 | First Drives