The Porsche 911 GT3 arrived in 1999 with the intent of delivering lightweight, race-winning performance in a still street legal sports car. Since that time, the GT3 has seen a slew of competition-style enhancents.And make no mistake, the latest GT3, and this still lighter GT3 RS, are more tenacious, and more entertaining than ever. This is actually our second exposure to the latest Porsche 911 GT3.

At the top of the year we drove one hard around our winter testing venue, the two-mile road course at Savannah’s Roebling Road Raceway. But when Porsche offered up the even more track-ready GT3 RS for a fall ride out, we jumped at the chance. Although the GT3 and GT3 RS arrived new for 2010, they’re unchanged for 2011, as designated on our test car. The latest GT3s have been enhanced on all major fronts: power, dynamics, and visual cues. But between the two road-going variants, the lighter RS is clearly a step closer to Porsche’s GT3 Cup car.

That reduced weight comes from multiple tweaks, like our car’s optional lithium-ion battery, which sheds 22 pounds off the GT3’s conventional lead-acid unit.

Overall, the RS is about 55 pounds lighter than the GT3. For power, the RS starts with an expanded 3.8-liter naturally aspirated flat-six, now with Variocam valve timing on both the intake and exhaust ports.  The uprated horsepower comes in at 450 - up 15 over the GT3 – with 317 pound-feet of torque. Redline is 8,500 rpm. A tightly-geared six-speed manual with limited slip rear is the order of the day, but the RS gets even shorter ratios for speedier shifting. Our RS raced from 0-to-60 in a bullet-fast four seconds flat, just edging out our Roebling GT3.

The quarter mile clocked in at 12.5 seconds at 118 miles per hour. Top speed is 193. To properly launch, just keep the RPMs under control, dump the clutch, and feed in power. From there, the RS just hooks up and takes off.

The engine revs quickly, so be ready to shift. Down at Roebling, that GT3 showed us more agility and track prowess than ever, fitted with Porsche Active Suspension Management  with ‘normal’ and ‘sport’ modes' and optional Dynamic Engine Mounts, which magnetically tighten up in high-speed driving to form a more solid connection between engine and chassis.

With the RS, however, those engine mounts are standard.Also new to the RS is Porsche Stability Management, which has the ability to deactivate Stability Control and Traction control in individual steps, giving the driver unrestricted latitude.

No road course this go around, yet between our 75-80 Dragway test day, and just good old-fashioned two-lane blacktop, we got very familiar with the RS and its astounding capabilities. With nearly perfect composure, the RS turns in immediately, almost regardless of speed. And it stays remarkably flat with loads of grip all the while.

That said, the rear does have a tendency to break loose with virtually no warning - a well-known and well regarded 911 trait that most Porschephiles never want to go without. GT3 brakes are now larger and lighter than before. The cross-drilled internally vented discs with six pistons up front and four in the rear brought our RS to a hard halt in a ridiculously short 112 feet.

But here’s the sort of bad news…The GT3 RS is pretty harsh for everyday street use.  But then, that’s not what it was built for. You only have to look at the exterior of the RS to understand that. It’s all about amping up the downforce with a front spoiler that’s more pronounced than that of the GT3, and a new exposed carbon fiber rear wing.

Front and rear fascias have also been revised. Also upgraded over the GT3 are the RS’ lighter 19-inch center-lock wheels wearing 245/35s up front and 325/30s in the rear. Inside, the GT3 RS cockpit has the same upscale high-output look as the GT3. The optional Adaptive Sport Seats are deeply bolstered, but race bucket stiff. And as before, there is no back seat.

Government Fuel Economy ratings are 14 city/21 highway on premium gas. Base price for the GT3 RS is $132,800. That’s up by about $8,000 over the previous RS, and about $18,000 over the GT3.

Yes, the 2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS is a rich man, or woman’s, toy. It’s the most race proven, non-turbo 911 performance that you can still hang a license plate on. And it’s also worth every penny. We’re just happy it wanted to come out and play.


  • Engine: 3.8-Liter Naturally Aspirated Flat-six
  • Horsepower: 450
  • Torque: 317 Lb Feet
  • 0-60 MPH: 4.0 Seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 12.5 Seconds @ 118 MPH
  • 60-0 MPH: 112 Feet
  • EPA: 14 MPG City/ 21 MPG Highway