The best of both worlds
If you are looking for the perfect sportscar, should your focus be on road or racetrack? The current Porsche 911 GT3 answers this question with a resounding “It can be both things”. It may sound like a compromise at first, but for Porsche it is actually the exact opposite – an exhilarating symbiosis that can also be experienced at the current Porsche Track and Racing Experience events. But, in fact, this concept can be traced back to the almost 50-year-old 911 Carrera RS 2.7.
Bred for speed
Several combinations of numbers and letters have been used for the great Porsche sportscars over the years – from 356 to 911, from GS to R, onto RS, CS, GT and, in the current incarnation, GT3. Regardless of the combination, these Porsche models have always been at the very pinnacle of sportscar prowess. Achieving maximum performance on the road as well as on the racetrack. The 911 Carrera RS 2.7 is a pioneer when it comes to creating a light but powerful 911 model with exceptional dynamics both on road and racetrack. First presented at the Paris Motor Show in 1972, only 500 units were originally intended to be built, in order to obtain homologation for racing. They sold out in just four weeks. In the end, some 1,580 units were produced in just over a year, customers wowed by the driving pleasure afforded by the lightweight, powerful 911 Carrera RS 2.7.
The ‘ducktail’ rear spoiler of the 911 Carrera RS 2.7
Back in 1972, the most striking external feature of the 911 Carrera RS 2.7 was the fixed rear wing – a novel addition to a production vehicle at the time. Some 50 years later, this aerodynamic device remains the visual embodiment of the quickest 911 models. Today, the rear wing on the Porsche 911 GT3 of the 992 generation may be infinitely more complex, but its familial link to its forebears can’t be denied.
But the RS 2.7 and 911 GT3 have more things in common than just that rear wing, such as power. The RS 2.7 offered 80PS more than the basic version of the 911 at the time, while the current GT3 has an extra 125PS (911 GT3: fuel consumption combined (WLTP) 13.0-12.9 l/100 km, CO₂ emissions combined (WLTP) 294-293 g/km, fuel consumption combined (NEDC) 13.3-12.4 l/100 km, CO₂ emissions combined (NEDC) 304-283 g/km) compared to the 911 Carrera (911 Carrera: fuel consumption combined (WLTP) 10.8-10.3 l/100 km, CO₂ emissions combined (WLTP) 245-233 g/km, fuel consumption combined (NEDC) 9.4 l/100 km, CO₂ emissions combined (NEDC) 215 g/km). And there’s more, like the reduced weight from using lighter materials. The front bonnet of the 911 GT3, for example, is made of carbon fibre. In 1972, weight was saved by the use of particularly thin sheet metal panels.
They love the same thing: curves, bends, long straights
Today, we’re privileged to be joined by two generations of lightweight, fast Porsche sportscar, born nearly five decades apart. How fortunate that only a few miles from Zuffenhausen, a former mountain racetrack awaits us that combines the qualities of a public road with those of a racetrack. The road up to the Hohenneuffen ruins is 4.2km long. Its long curves, hairpin bends and high-speed straights are ideal for a fast, lightweight 911, whatever their era. We find that the 911 RS 2.7 and 911 GT3 may be different in many ways, but they are both cut from the same cloth.
When it was launched, the 911 Carrera RS 2.7 was the fastest-ever Porsche production vehicle. Almost 50 years after its launch, it still feels jaw-droppingly rapid thanks to its low power-to-weight ratio. It comes out of curves with a force that’s a real joy to experience, creating a very pure connection between you and the road. You can feel it through the steering wheel, and with every little change in the road surface through its rear axle. And all accompanied by the unmistakable sound of the six-cylinder engine in the rear. This is driving at its most unfiltered and thrilling.
Naturally, the GT3 really is something else up here on the Hohenneuffen. Across the five decades between it and the RS 2.7, so much has been learnt about making great sportscars by Porsche engineers. And here it manifests itself in a 4.0-litre, six-cylinder, 510PS weapon. We’re on public roads today, so we’re having to take it easy – but it means no encouragement is needed to sign up for one of the next Porsche Experience events to drive the 911 GT3 a little closer to its limits.