Comprehensive Guide to the 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Introduction

When automotive enthusiasts are asked to describe the pinnacle of the Porsche 911, the GT3 RS overwhelmingly dominates the conversation.

In terms of outright performance metrics, it slots in below the new GT2 RS in the pecking order. While it may not be Stuttgart’s king of lap times (most notably at Nürburgring Nordschleife), the GT3 RS is still the people’s champion.

The beloved GT3 RS is certainly no slouch at the ‘Ring either, clocking a 6:56.4 minute lap time – just 9 seconds behind the GT2 RS, and 1 second faster than the million dollar Porsche 918 Spyder.

View the official onboard-footage of the lap here

Like its stablemate, the GT3 RS is a rear-engine, rear-wheel drive iteration of the 911; but it is the soul of the GT3 RS – its 4.0L naturally aspirated engine – that is so enthralling and able to cajole even the most cut-and-dried enthusiasts.

The Porsche 911 GT3 RS – through all the admiration it garners – has essentially become Porsche’s brand ambassador and poster child.

Engine & Performance

The GT3 RS is the beneficiary of an upgraded 911 GT3 engine – a 4.0L, naturally aspirated flat-six power plant which revs all the way to 9,000 rpm. This also means that the GT3 RS and GT3 are the last of the non-turbocharged 911s.

The first 911 GT3 RS of the current 991 generation was released in 2015. For MY2019, the GT3 RS (and almost identical GT3) engine receives upgraded pistons and rings, a solid valve train with shims, a stiffer crankshaft, thicker connecting-rod bearings, and plasma-coated cylinder liners.

With updated electronics and a redesigned exhaust system, the GT3 RS produces 520-horsepower @ 8,250 rpm and 346 lb-ft of torque @ 6,000 rpm. As one would expect from a naturally aspirated unit, the engine has instant throttle response and revs as smoothly as it does protractedly.

The GT3 RS continues to employ the 7-speed PDK transmission. Porsche does not offer a manual transmission option for the GT3 RS – although, it is available for the GT3 – given that the intended application of the car is one that is both results-oriented and performance-epitomized.

Porsche claims that the GT3 RS is able to sprint from 0-60 mph in 3.0 seconds, 0-100 mph in 6.7 seconds, and can complete the ¼ mile in 11.0 seconds with a top speed of 193 mph – remarkable for a car that is not assisted by forced induction or electric motors, as is becoming today’s mainstream.

Chassis & Handling

The increase in power is meant to compliment the overall balance of the car, so naturally, there have been improvements made to the chassis as well.

The front struts and rear multi-link suspension utilize metal ball joints, while stiffer spring rates mitigate body roll. With the setup being much closer to a GT3 Cup car than other production 911s, Porsche states that this ensures “accurate, sharp and direct road holding. And for total emotional contact”.

In addition, steering response and feeling have been improved in conjunction with a redesigned rear-wheel steering system, allowing the car to respond instantly and expertly to driver input and direction.

Aluminum six-pot and four-pot brake calipers come standard on all for corners, while Porsche Ceramic Carbon Brakes (PCCB) are optional for those looking to tread at the highest echelon of performance. With either option, pedal feedback remains consistent even after repeated moments of substantial braking Gs, though the PCCB allows for slightly shorter braking distances and more effective trail braking, should the driver be capable and willing.

Specially designed Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires (265/35/20 at the front, 325/30/21 at the rear) raise the performance of the 911 GT3 RS to the next level – as road legal tires, they allow the driver to enjoy the car on both the street and track.

For the first time, optional tires developed specifically for race track are available for the GT3 RS. While they are also road legal, they are even more performance oriented and should really only be used at the circuit.

An optional hydraulic lift system on the front axle lifts the front bumper by 30mm, allowing the driver to negotiate curbs, ramps, and entrances seen in the real world.

Design, Styling & Interior

Like the turbocharged GT2 RS, the GT3 RS is also based on the extra-wide body of the 911 Turbo S. Minimum drag, maximum downforce, optimum cooling – all in great abundance and meticulous in detail.

The GT3 RS utilizes the same NACA ducts on the bonnet as seen on the GT2RS, which are used to help cool the braking system without reducing the drag coefficient by efficiently channeling air throughout the body. Large front fender vents assist in ventilating pressure from the rotating wheels.

The aerodynamic front bumper ensures optimum cooling and airflow into the radiator while providing massive downforce over the front axle. In conjunction with the huge carbon fiber rear wing and redesigned underbody panels and diffuser, the GT3 RS is able to generate 100% more downforce at 124 mph compared to the ‘standard’ GT3.

Thanks to the implementation of weight reduction measures wherever possible, the GT3 RS weighs in at 3,150 lbs – a noticeable 377 lbs lighter than the Turbo S that it is built upon, and 91 lbs lighter than its RS counterpart.

For those opting for a more hardcore diet, the Weissach package is available for an additional $18,000 USD. The package – which amongst a host of things, replaces the standard magnesium roof and anti-roll bars with a carbon fiber – also unlocks the option to purchase magnesium wheels for $13,000 USD on top of it.

Pricing

The GT3 RS is priced in a somewhat interesting fashion. While its pedigree is undoubtedly the same class as the turbocharged GT2 RS, it is surprisingly (to me, anyway) priced nowhere near it, and is only about $40,000 USD more than a GT3.

The base price of the GT3 RS is $188,550 USD, with the optional Weissach package and magnesium wheels bringing the total to $219,550 USD when included.

This means that the base price is over $100K USD less than the base price of the GT2 RS ($294,250 USD).

Many wondering if this makes the GT3 RS a direct competitor to the GT2 RS; it does, in a way, but not really. Afterall, the GT2 RS was made to be the rarer of the two iterations and will have no issues selling out. I try to refrain bringing up the GT2 RS so much (honestly!), but this is difficult to avoid in the context of commentating about the GT3 RS – and you can see why.

Its significantly lower price point makes it all the more alluring if it wasn’t already so even with the pricing not part of the debate. This at the very the least, means that the GT3 RS could very well be considered a bargain compared to its competition, even for those obsessed with lap times and technical specifications.

Performance & Specifications Summary

Model & Price Info

MakePorsche
Model911
Generation991 (2012-Present)
Sub-ModelGT3 RS
Car typeCoupe
CategorySeries Production Car
Built AtStuttgart, Germany
Released AtGeneva International Motor Show
Introduced2015
Base Price (US)$188,550
Base Price (UK)£131,296
Units builtTBD

Body, Suspension & Powertrain

Curb Weight1,430 kg (3,153 lbs)
LayoutRear-engine, rear-wheel drive
Body / FrameAluminum-steel composite monocoque, carbon fiber elements
Suspension (F)MacPherson strut suspension with lightweight springs (including helper springs), anti-roll bar, fully ball-jointed mountings
Suspension (R)Multi-link axle with lightweight springs (including helper springs), anti-roll bar, fully ball-jointed mountings
EngineFlat-6
PositionBoxer, 90°
AspirationNaturally Aspirated
Block MaterialAluminum block and heads
ValvetrainDOHC, 24-Valve (4 Valves per Cylinder) with VVT & VarioCam Plus
Fuel FeedDirect Fuel Injection
Displacement (Litres)4.0L
Displacement (in³)244 in³, 4000 cc
Transmission7-speed DCT with automatic and manual shifting mode (PDK)

Engine & Output

Power (hp)520 hp @ 8,250 rpm
Power (hp) / litre130 hp / litre
Power (hp) / weight0.36 hp / kg
Torque346 lb-ft @ 6,000 rpm
Average Fuel Consumption17 mpg

Performance & Acceleration Stats

Top speed311 km/h
0 – 60 mph2.9 s
0 – 100 km/h3.1 s
0 – 160 km/h6.9 s
0 – 200 km/h10.9 s
0 – 240 km/h16.9 s
1/4 mile10.7 s @ 127.3 mph
1000 m20.2 s @ 160.0 mph
100 – 0 km/h31 m (102 ft)
200 – 0 km/h117 m (384 ft)
18 m slalom76.5 km/h
36 m slalom148.0 km/h
Nürburgring Lap Time6:56.4 (Driver: Kevin Estre)

Image Gallery

Aggressive, but ceaseless in its functionality. The GT3 RS silhouette is an outstanding display of aerodynamics, cooling efficiency and lightweight design. Whether it be the large rear spoiler, front fender vents, or antagonistic front bumper, the GT3 RS is all about the showmanship, but with the attributes to back it up.

In my opinion, the GT3 RS looks the part and looks even better playing it – form and function, at the highest level.

Video Review Gallery

Here are some YouTube video reviews from some of my favorite car reviewers and auto personalities. All of them provide feedback from an “everyday guy” perspective – but aren’t afraid to thrash the car around a racetrack when given the opportunity – providing commentary that is both technical and easy to absorb.

First up is Matt Prior from Autocar, taking the GT3 RS through the paces in its natural habitat – the race track. He immediately notes that the GT3 RS is more than just a naturally aspirated GT2 RS – its 9,000 rpm redline, brilliantly balanced chassis and cohesive entirety giving the car its own unique merits.

Next, is a popular YouTuber and Autotrader reviewer, Doug DeMuro providing commentary on what he describes as “the craziest 911 of all time”.

It’s always important to see what an accomplished professional racer can do with a car like the GT3 RS on a race track. This Car TV video provides onboard footage of two-time World Rally champion Walter Rohrl as he completes a hot lap with meticulous precision, technique, and coolness.

Last but not least, is Porsche’s official onboard footage of driver Kevin Estre’s blistering 6:56.4 lap time achieved at the benchmark test of all road-approved sports cars – the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

Original Press Release

Born from Racing: The New 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS

World premiere of the most powerful naturally aspirated series-production 911 ever

Atlanta

The Porsche motorsport department is presenting Weissach’s latest treat at the Geneva Motor Show: the 2019 911 GT3 RS with a race-bred chassis and a high-revving four-liter, naturally aspirated engine producing 520 horsepower and 346 lb.-ft. of torque.

Based on the 911 GT3, the RS has been refined even further, combining the most powerful naturally aspirated engine ever fitted to a road-legal 911 with a suspension that features recalibrated rear axle steering tuned for maximum dynamics and precision.

The new 911 GT3 RS accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds, which is 0.2 seconds quicker than the current 911 GT3 with PDK and 0.1 seconds quicker than the previous 911 GT3 RS. Top track speed of the 2019 911 GT3 RS is 193 mph. Following the launch of the 2018 911 GT3 and the 2018 911 GT2 RS, the new 911 GT3 RS represents the third road-legal GT model to be unveiled within a year.

Race-inspired aerodynamics and lightweight construction

Aerodynamics and lightweight construction have determined the design of the wide, weight-optimized body with its classic fixed rear wing. Like on the 2018 911 GT3, the front and rear fascia are made of lightweight polyurethane. Additionally, the front trunk lid and fenders on the 911 GT3 RS are made of carbon fiber and the roof consists of magnesium.

Like on the 2018 911 GT2 RS, NACA ducts in the front trunk lid optimize brake cooling without increasing drag. The front fascia features a spoiler lip that is larger than on the previous model, increasing downforce in conjunction with the larger side skirts. At the rear, the large wing mounted on the carbon fiber deck lid works in combination with a rear underbody diffuser. The result: The 2019 911 GT3 RS produces more than twice as much downforce as the regular 911 GT3 at 124 mph.

The race-inspired appearance continues in the interior: Full Bucket Seats with carbon fiber reinforced backrests provide a high degree of lateral support to suit the vehicle’s exceptional level of lateral grip. Lightweight glass for the rear window and rear side windows, lightweight door panels with door opening loops, reduced sound insulation, and the omission of rear seats emphasize the consistency of the material choices and the dedication to saving weight. The Alcantara steering wheel measuring 360 mm in diameter features a yellow 12 o’clock center marker.

The most powerful naturally aspirated engine in a road-legal 911 ever

The four-liter, naturally aspirated flat-six engine from Porsche in the new 911 GT3 RS pushes the sports car to new limits: It delivers 20 horsepower more than the engine in the 2016 911 GT3 RS and the current 911 GT3. Plasma coated cylinder liners, a central oil supply through the crankshaft with larger bearing diameters, larger connecting rod bearings and the rigid valve train with shims to provide valve clearance compensation all carry over from the 2018 911 GT3.

Capable of up to 9,000 rpm like the regular 911 GT3, the thoroughbred engine takes in ram air through openings in the rear quarter panels, and it is closely related to the unit used in current Porsche 911 race cars. The unmistakable flat-six sound escapes the exhaust tips, which are made of titanium like the muffler itself. The engine is mated to a specifically tuned seven-speed PDK, which features performance-oriented gearing with the top track speed being reached in seventh gear like all GT tuned PDK transmissions.

Race-bred chassis

Technology derived from motorsport ensures that the chassis offers exceptional driving dynamics. Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), active engine mounts, rear axle steering, and the fully variable electronic locking rear differential with Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV+) are standard. Ball joints on all suspension links provide even greater precision than conventional bearings with rubber bushings. Furthermore, the new 911 GT3 RS features new helper springs at the front axle, in addition to the rear.

As is customary for a Porsche GT model, the ride height, toe, camber, caster and sway bar settings of the suspension can be adjusted to suit individual driver preferences. Forged lightweight wheels measuring 9.5 x 20 inches in diameter with newly developed 265/35 ultra-high performance (UHP) tires enhance agility and steering precision, while 12.5 x 21-inch wheels with 325/30 UHP tires mounted at the rear deliver excellent traction.

Overall, the wider tires offer a significantly larger contact patch than those of the regular 911 GT3. Large cross-drilled grey cast iron rotors measuring 380 mm front and rear are standard, while the Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake system with 410 mm rotors at the front and 390 mm rotors at the rear can be ordered as an option. The ceramic rotors weigh around 50 percent less than the cast-iron variants.

Optional Weissach package and magnesium wheels for extra weight savings

For particularly spirited drivers, the Porsche motorsport department has created an optional Weissach package to reduce the weight of the car even further. With this package, the front and rear sway bars and coupling rods, vehicle roof, steering wheel trim, and shift paddles on the steering wheel are all made of carbon fiber, reducing the weight by roughly 13 pounds.

Optional forged magnesium wheels, weighing around 25 pounds less than the standard wheels, are available as well in conjunction with the Weissach package. When equipped with these options, the weight of the 911 GT3 RS drops to 3,153 pounds.

Pricing and availability

The new 2019 911 GT3 RS is available to order now and is expected to reach U.S. dealers in fall 2018. The MSRP is $187,500, not including available options or the $1,050 delivery, processing, and handling fee. The Weissach Package is available for $18,000. The magnesium wheels can be ordered for an additional $13,000 in conjunction with the Weissach Package and will be available at a later date.

Final Verdict

As my fellow Supercars.net colleague, Nick Dellis once remarked, “The world is full of armchair commentators when it comes to cars. At Supercars.net we have a number of journalists and automotive publications we rely on when we want to get unbiased opinions from people we admire.”

Below are snippets from some of our favorite car reviewers and automotive personalities regarding the GT3 RS. As always, we ask that you support the amazing publications they release, so that the automotive community continues to benefit from the hard work and enthusiasm they put into providing us with content that we love.

Autocar – “Yes, power is wonderful. But lightness is better.” – 5/5

Matt Prior from Autocar believes that there is no coupe from any other manufacturer that can “…deliver more interaction, more mechanical feel and greater responsiveness than a GT3 RS…”

Naturally, a comparison to the GT2 RS is made, where Matt notes that “While I don’t think the 3 communicates any better than a 2, the messages it does transmit are superior: you can feel that it’s lighter, more willing to turn, easier and more satisfying to ease onto the throttle and keep it pinned. It’s why this car is only a few seconds slower than a 2RS around the Nürburgring Nordschleife despite being almost 200bhp down.”

He goes on to summarize that “And in the form of the GT3 RS it goes into creating – little by little, detail by detail – what might just be the best driver’s car currently on sale.”

The Good

  • Phenomenal feedback, easy to control at limit
  • Lightweight feel, ease of “turn-in”
  • Purposeful aerodynamic design elements
  • 9,000 rpm redline

The Bad

  • None

More: Read full review

Top Gear – “It is deeply, deeply fast and massively, massively exciting to use.” – 10/10

Ollie Marriage from Top Gear is a big fan of the GT3 RS’ engine. “Magnificent.”, he proclaims. But of course, it doesn’t stop there.

When asked how the engine blends with the chassis, Ollie replies, “In an almost celestial way. Everything feels sharper, and yet so immaculately precise to use. This makes the process of squeezing more power on while unwinding the steering, for instance, so symbiotic that some extra-sensory spark sends tingles around your body.”

Ultimately he is also in the school of thought that the GT3 is the more quintessential Porsche 911 – “For me, the toughest rival comes from within – the GT3 RS. Given a straight choice, I think I’d still go for the nat asp GT3, although that would mean foregoing the mad turbo headbang…”

The Good

  • Magnificent engine
  • Front end grip levels
  • Connection with chassis, accurate and precise steering

The Bad

  • Could possibly be lighter
  • Suspension changes would make daily driving difficult

More: Read full review

Car And Driver – “As always, massively capable and massively noticeable” – 5/5

“This is a track-day destroyer. Its cornering grip is, well, massive,” exclaims Daniel Pund from Car and Driver.

In his praise of the GT3 RS chassis, he goes on to state that “The car feels like it could handle a lot more than 520 horsepower. That’s because it can. It’s essentially the same vehicle as the turbocharged 700-hp GT2 RS. We suppose there are probably circumstances in which you’d really appreciate the extra 180 horsepower, but believe us when we tell you that 520 is plenty in this car on public roads. Plenty.

The Good

  • Braking and perfect pedal feel
  • Fantastic high-revving engine
  • Brilliant chassis
  • More than $100,000 less than a GT2 RS

The Bad

  • Manual transmission offering would be nice
  • Extroverted looks might not be for everyone

More: Read full review


My Final Verdict – 10/10

The new Porsche 911 GT3 RS is not the fastest 911 by any standard of measure that matters. However, by those same standards, it is also no slouch of a car, with a Nurburgring lap time just seconds off the pace of the production car record set by Porsche’s own GT2 RS.

But perhaps what truly matters is that the GT3 RS represents everything that is great about Porsche’s historic flagship car. It offers a cornucopia of pure unadulterated driving sensations; in no small part due to its unique naturally aspirated engine that screams to 9,000 rpm, which is as much art as it is technological marvel.

You feel a connection with the car as if it is an extension of your own thoughts. The grip, the steering feedback, the pedal feel, the responsiveness; engineering ingenuity in every detail. The GT3 RS is proof that a little bit of nostalgia and a whole lot of innovation can mix well together, at least when concocted by Porsche.

The overall appeal of the GT3 RS also stems from the notion that it is more relatable and relatively attainable – its much lower price point and higher production numbers than the GT2 RS, particularly setting it apart from its linemate.

The GT3 RS is Porsche’s most talismanic figure in its vast and comprehensive 911 roster. It is the first name on the team sheet, and the one everyone looks to for inspiration

Rivals

Lamborghini Huracan Performante
Ferrari 488 Pista
Ford GT
McLaren 720S
Porsche 911 GT3 RS