Porsche GT3 RS flooding with emotions
More than 30 years ago, I found myself standing next to race car driver Mark Donohue at the now-defunct Riverside International Raceway in California. Little did either of us know that I was interviewing Donohue for the first and last time. One of the finest racers of all time would be killed shortly after in a Formula One practice accident. Those were the first years of the International Race of Champions, where drivers raced in Easter egg-colored Porsche 911 Carrera RSR cars. For more than three decades, I have craved the chance to drive an RSR. So, you can imagine how excited I was that Porsche offered me the chance to be among only a handful of journalists to drive a new 911 GT3 RS. Perhaps, this isn't a full race version RSR, but still the road version that few in the world will ever drive. Naturally, half a second went by before I could say yes. The next week, there in my driveway was a contemporary example of a 1974 IROC Porsche. The hairs on my arms stood at attention as I wandered back to my brush with Donohue's greatness. The 911 GT3 RS is just a step under the GT3 RSR, a car Porsche produces as a track ready race car for those folks who have a bank account large enough to be able to afford such toys. With the GT3 RS, there are few street vehicles that can produce the visceral emotions it generates.To choose the GT3 RS, base-priced at $123,200 over other Porsches, can create a dilemma. While most of the Porsche stable is driven without concern, you have to be aware with the GT3 RS. Its low slung body demands you pay close attention to every driveway you enter or exit. The low-hanging front chin spoiler can be filed down to nothingness in short order. Comically, the extremely stiff body structure causes at least one front tire to lift off the ground in every driveway. The heavily bolstered bucket seats on my car had Alcantara inserts that made hard quick cornering a pleasure, holding driver and passenger solidly in the seat. Even the steering wheel had the racing mode going for it with the obligatory yellow paint stripe marking true center of the wheel. Even weeks after giving the GT3 RS (reluctantly) back to the Porsche folks, I can close my eyes and feel the power exhibited during my 0 to 60 mph in an average of 3.9 seconds. I still recall the force of the seatbelt against my chest as the huge ceramic brakes brought the car to a stop in a matter of seconds. All Porsche cars are some of the top values in sports cars these days. Perceived as expensive exotic automobiles, but once you consider the features offered, Porsches are quite affordable. It sure beats therapy. The sheer joy of a drive with the windows down listening to the wonderful exhaust concert played by this 3.6-liter six works wonders for me. You will find yourself searching for narrow canyon roads just to better hear the Porsche concerto. The six-speed manual transmission loves to glide through the gears. As I wound my way up a twisting mountain road, the car was in sync with my every thought. Of course, I held it in a lower gear just to hear more of that exhaust. Suddenly, I was transported back 30 years.
Ron Moorhead, a nationally syndicated automotive columnist, can be reached at [email protected]