Sports car on race track
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First Look: 2023 Porsche 911 GT3 RS Is a Road-Legal Speedster

Sure, it’s road legal, but the Porsche 911 GT3 RS barely looks it. And why should it hide its true identity? This is a race car for track days. Every design flourish and mechanical detail is about ripping faster and faster lap times.

When we hopped on stage after Porsche unveiled the new Porsche 911 GT3 RS to chat at this year’s Quail Motorsports Gathering during Monterey Car week the first thing the German brand’s rep said was the new rear aero feature ramps up downforce to nearly 1,900 pounds (more on this later.) That’s a bananas level of aerodynamic pressure and not particularly necessary on public roads, but nothing about the GT3 RS is about “need” except for the need for speed.

We have yet to get behind the wheel (hopefully we’ll get the chance in early 2023), but we did get the chance to give it a once-over up close and there’s no doubt this thing is built to tear up a circuit.

Steering wheel and interior of sports car
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Power and Performance

The power upgrade from the previous iteration is a modest one. Mainly through new camshafts with modified profiles, Porsche managed to eke out an extra 16hp from the naturally aspirated 4.0-liter flat-six-cylinder engine, taking the GT3 RS from up to 518hp and 342 lb-ft of torque. Porsche is only outfitting the GT3 RS with a seven-speed Doppelkupplung (PDK) automatic transmission, so customers hoping for a manual experience are out of luck.

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The brand is advertising a 0 to 60mph time of three seconds flat for this rear-wheel drive monster, but zero people will be surprised if it gets there a tick or two quicker. However, the top speed is actually down from the previous generation, 198mph to 184mph, thanks to the added drag from the enhanced aero features.

 

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A Wing Thing

The aforementioned rear wing is actually higher than the roof, which is a first for a Porsche production car. One fixed lower blade and another hydraulically adjustable upper blade generate 1,895 lbs of downforce at 177 mph and 902 lbs at 124mph. That’s staggering, especially given the level of grip that even less track-focused 911 models provide.

So drivers will be slicing through air as they carve corners. But in another first from a production car from the brand, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS’s wing setup features a drag reduction system, known to Formula 1 fans as DRS. In high-speed straightaways, the hydraulic blade flattens with a push of a button, reducing drag and enabling higher speeds. Conversely, the front and rear aero features automatically maximize aerodynamic drag under intense braking and slow the car faster.

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To make room for those more active aero features on the front of the car, Stuttgart has eliminated two of three radiators and moved a larger one to what in other models is a front cargo area (also known as a frunk).

Side profile of sports car
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Track Ready

Much like in the rest of the lineup, the GT3 RS offers drivers a few modes: Normal, Sport, and Track. When on the track, racers can dial in suspension settings. Front and rear axle settings can be tweaked separately, as can the rear differential, using a switch on the steering wheel for setup changes on the fly.

As one would expect, Porsche has used quite a bit of carbon fiber reinforced plastic in the GT3 RS’s construction. In fact the doors, front quarter panels, roof, and hood, for example, are made from the material as are the full bucket seats. If you choose The Weissach package (named for Porsche’s think tank development center), the Porsche 911 GT3 RS gets a hood, roof, parts of the rear wing and the upper portion of the side mirrors housing made from carbon fiber.

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Massive front axle six-piston aluminum monobloc fixed-caliper brakes and rear axle four-piston fixed-caliper brakes come standard (carbon ceramic brakes are an option we’d probably add), as do forged, alloy, center-locking wheels.

Porsche Design chronograph watch
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As an added bonus, those who purchase a 911 GT3 RS are allowed a model-specific Porsche Design chronograph wrist watch that takes its design cues from the car. It features a flyback function, pushers laser-engraved with “Start/Stop” and ”Next Lap,” and a pulsometer scale for tracking how fast the car gets your heart racing.

As soon as we get the chance to drive this beast, we’ll report back. Porsche expects the 2023 911 GT3 RS to hit U.S. dealers by spring 2023. But customers can probably expect lengthy wait lists, so anyone who wants one should get their orders in ASAP.

[$223,800; porsche.com]

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