Porsche (997.2) GT3 RS vs Porsche (992) GT3 RS

By topgear, 31 December 2022

Porsche (997.2) GT3 RS vs Porsche (992) GT3 RS

Two Porsche 911s with big wings and stickers. You call that progress?

Don’t judge a car by its decal package, young Padawan. Admittedly, the Top Trumps cards don’t make for progressive reading. See, the 2010 997.2 Generation GT3 RS possesses a 3.8-litre flat-six with 450hp that revs to 8,500rpm.

(Click HERE to read our 964, 993 and 997.2 911 GT3 RS retrospective)

The 2022 equivalent, the 992 GT3 RS, has a 4.0-litre naturally-aspirated flat-six revving to 9,000rpm and produces 525hp. The newer car is also nearly 100kg heavier. So, not much progress you’d think. But you’d be wrong.

In the 12-year gap between these two RSs Porsche has managed to carve 44 seconds out of a Nürburgring Nordschleife lap time. Which is a lifetime in Ring speak and sensational progress. 

Point taken. But how’s it got so much faster?

Well, they both stick steadfastly to the Porsche GT Division's rulebook of using motorsport as the guiding light for hardcore road cars; with RS’ being harder and faster versions of the already hard and fast GT3s. The 997 arrived on the scene with standard centre-lock wheels, track-ready aero package, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, carbon brakes and the decals.

The 992 has all of those things, it’s just been refined, honed and a made a hell of a lot more complicated. Especially when it comes to the aero department. You might have noticed the wing (hard to miss given it’s the largest rear wing to ever go on a 911) but there’s also countless lips, flicks and underfloor tunnels to gift the 992 860kg of downforce at 285km/h. The 997.2 develops half that while going 300km/h.

That all sounds a bit serious.

A car with DRS and hewed suspension normally is. Which makes the 997 refreshing. It’s remarkably approachable when put next to the 992. Yes, it’s serious, but simpler. A lot simpler.

Open the door and you sit in wonderfully slim and supportive seats to admire the plain, functional Alcantara wrapped interior and open, upright glasshouse. The simple steering wheel is clutter free, allowing you to relax as you waggle the stubby little 6spd gearlever and admire the roll-cage filling the rear-view mirror.

Meanwhile, in the 992, you’re confronted with a high, wide, complicated dash you have to peer over like a dog looking for scraps at a dinner table. Then there are buttons.

Lots of buttons. Including four new dials on the steering wheel offering a handful of modes; nine stages of compression, rebound, e-diff plus various flavours of ESC. There’s no gearstick to waggle either, just PDK shift paddles with motorsport-derived magnet technology that snap with a satisfying click.

People say the 997.2 GT3 RS was peak RS. Is it? 

Forums argue that the Four Point Oh may be the pinnacle, but the 3.8-litre is 98 per cent there and far more attainable. In the pricey world of Porsche attainability. But it still remains a jewel in the crown of motoring, led by the worshipped ‘Mezger’ engine (named after its creator, renowned Porsche engineer Hans Mezger) that has a chunter and gruffness at start up before progressing into a snarl at mid-revs that tunes up the harder you push it before singing a shrieky song of motorsport. It’s paired perfectly with a hefty, meaty clutch, graunchy but self-assured gearbox and telepathic steering.

Thanks to an ultra-light single-mass flywheel, the needle on the rev gauge zips around like it’s had an electric shock as you heel and toe while burying your foot in the brakes.

You can then use the roll and supple, well-damped suspension to lean on the wide, thick, sticky Michelin rubber to maximise the weight and traction over the back axle to throw yourself out a corner and at the horizon to the sound of a comical 8,500rpm.

Hang on, so is the 992 the right kind of progress? 

Depends what you’re looking for. If you live for the stopwatch and are a track day monkey, hell yes. There’s never been an easier way to drive to a track, have a race car experience and drive to the pub to gloat about how many people you’ve overtaken. You just need your wits about you to hit its potential.

But the latest 3RS isn’t as useable, having lost its frunk in favour of a race car’s radiator and having had its spring rates wound up it won’t favour a b-road. The 997 is a joy on the road and where it once was a wide car (having borrowed the Turbo bodyshell) now it’s suitably slender and narrow compared to the squat prop-like 992. Either way, both cars are going to go down in Porsche history as legends.

STORY Rowan Horncastle

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