The most significant Porsche RS cars
Five decades since it first appeared, the Porsche RS badge continues to enthral
Porsche 911 (type 992) GT3 RS
Just two letters, but so much meaning. Let’s take a look at the most significant RS cars Porsche has ever produced
What does Porsche RS stand for?RS is short for ‘rennsport’, which means racing in German. The Porsche RS story started back in 1957 when the name was applied to the 718 RSK race car, six years before the first 911 was even launched. Since then, the name has become synonymous with innovation and high-performance – and it’s a designation that continues to thrive today. Here are the most significant cars to ever wear the RS badge.
Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 driving on a tree-lined road
The 1973 Carrera RS 2.7 was the first 911 to be graced with the legendary RS badge
1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7Conceived as a homologation car to allow Porsche to go racing with it, the Carrera RS 2.7 was released to the public in 1973 as a road car. To call it a significant car for Porsche would be an understatement – even today, the legend of the Carrera RS 2.7 continues. It was the first Porsche fitted with the famous ‘ducktail’ spoiler, and it pioneered lightweight innovations that meant the Carrera RS 2.7 delivered a raw, thrilling driving experience. Even by modern standards, its performance figures impress – 210PS, 0-100km/h in 5.8 seconds and a top speed of 245km/h from a car that weighed 960kg. Imagine that 50 years ago? Originally planned as a limited run of 500 cars, the Carrera RS 2.7 was so successful that Porsche ended up selling 1,580. Today, it remains one of the most collectible Porsche models.
A Porsche 911 (type 964) parked outside a garage
The 964 RS: a lightweight flier built for the road, designed for racing
1991 Porsche 911 (type 964) RSIn 1991 another RS legend was born – the 964 RS. This model, built on the 964-generation of 911, was the road version of a car built for GT racing and once again impressed with its weight-saving regime. Porsche paid particular attention to stripping out as much weight as possible, from introducing thinner windows to removing sound-deadening materials and even stripping out luxuries like air-conditioning, electric windows and cruise control. Power from the air-cooled engine was raised to 264PS as well as mechanical upgrades such as a limited-slip differential and a lightweight flywheel. The suspension of the 964 RS was also lowered by 40mm and stiffened for more dynamic handling.
Porsche 996 GT3 RS driving on a track
The 996-era GT3 RS: a car of firsts as well as a celebration of the past
2003 Porsche 911 (type 996) GT3 RSWhen the 996-era 911 was introduced, air-cooled engines were replaced with water-cooled powerplants for the 911 range. But that wasn’t the only significant news for this particular sportscar. In 1999, the 996 also welcomed the debut of the GT3 name. Like previous RS models, the GT3 cars majored on weight saving and a certain rawness, but the new badge didn’t spell the end of the RS moniker. In 2003, the 996 GT3 RS was launched, an even more track-focused car that brought with it carbon brakes, a polycarbonate window, carbon hood and rear wing. The styling of the GT3 RS also harked back to the Carrera RS 2.7, with GT3 RS decals and red or blue wheels.
Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0
The 997-era 911 bowed out with a chart-topper – the GT3 RS 4.0
2011 Porsche 911 (type 997) GT3 RS 4.0The 997 911 was launched in 2004 as the sixth generation of the model and replaced the 996. Eventually, there were GT3 and GT3 RS versions, but it was the 2011 GT3 RS 4.0 that would act as the swansong for the range. For the first time an RS car’s engine displacement exceeded 3.8 litres. Quickly garnering the name GT3 RS 4.0, the engine was a 4.0-litre flat six with the crankshaft from the RSR race car, pushing the power up to 500PS and a top speed of 310.6km/h.
Porsche 991 911 GT2 RS parked at a race track
At its launch, the record-breaking 991 GT2 RS was the most powerful 911 ever made
2018 Porsche 911 (type 991) GT2 RSThe fastest road car to lap the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife. Most powerful 911 ever made at the time of its launch. Forza Motorsport cover car. Even by 911 standards, the 991-generation GT2 RS was really rather special. Unveiled at the 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed, this rear wheel-drive, twin-turbocharged beast produced 700PS. The accompanying performance was suitably dizzying: 0-100km/h took just 2.8 seconds and the car’s intensity didn’t ease up until it hit its 340km/h top speed. As ever with RS cars, the GT2 RS was all about its low kerb weight. There was plenty of carbon fibre as well as polycarbonate windows and a titanium exhaust. In 2018, a year after setting the Nürburgring lap record for a production car in a GT2 RS, Porsche test driver Lars Kern piloted a specially prepared Manthey Racing version to further shave time off that record, bringing the car across the finish line in 6:43.300 minutes.
Rear view of a Porsche 992 GT3 RS on track
Ready for take-off: the 992 GT3 RS pushes the downforce envelope (and rear wing size)
2022 Porsche 911 (type 992) GT3 RSLighter, more downforce, more power, the 992 GT3 RS proves once again that Porsche has perfected the formula when it comes to producing the ultimate performance car. In creating the 992 GT3 RS, Porsche spent more than 250 hours in the wind tunnel – the result is 40kg more downforce than before. Porsche also added a host of new tech, including Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus to heighten the driving experience but not at the expense of weight: the GT3 RS tips the scales at a lean 1,450kg. Its 525PS, 4.0-litre naturally aspirated engine will see the car sprint from 0-100km/h in just 3.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 296km/h.
Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS next to the ocean
The 718 Cayman GT4 RS is the fastest road-legal Cayman ever made
2021 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RSMeet the most powerful mid-engine car Porsche has ever produced – and the fastest ever Cayman. Following hot on the heels of the acclaimed 718 Cayman GT4, the GT4 RS launched in 2022 to much fanfare and is the first Cayman to get the Rennsport treatment. The recipe is a tried and tested one. Lightweight construction, more downforce, higher engine power and even more direct handling. With 500PS of power available, it’s 80PS more powerful than the standard GT4 – and half a second faster to the 100km/h mark too in just 3.4 seconds. In fact, it’s so fast, it was only 9.4 seconds off the time that the 991 GT2 RS achieved around the Nürburgring. And that was a car that broke the lap record for a production vehicle.
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