The day started at 6am, opening the curtains of the hotel room to a Star Wars style skyline as the sun emerged from the horizon, bearing down on Jack Frost who has laid his blanket on the surrounding fields, overnight.
As I headed to my car with bags in tow, knots of excitement worked their way around my abdomen, for I knew in a few hours I would be sat behind the steering wheel of arguably the most desirable sports cars of today.
After having keyed in the post-code for my destination, the sat-nav directed me through a number of sleepy villages until I arrived at Silverstone. I approached the gates and was greeted by the security guard who gestured me to the right. After driving slowly past Hanger Straight and approaching Stowe corner, the Porsche Experience Centre Silverstone became clearly visible.
An arrangement of cars were present in the car park, covered with a thin film of frost and a few drops of frozen condensation on the glass. I lost myself for a few moments, in awe at the silent thrum of the varying capacity of flat-six engines.
After being welcomed at Reception, I was beckoned upstairs by the smell of bacon, toast and fresh coffee. The Porsche restaurant served a breakfast menu, before a number of short presentations were held at the drivers’ briefing. Without any further ado, some other journalists and I were shown onto Porsche’s facility where we would be putting a selection of the marque’s most focused cars to the test.
We were paired with a Porsche Driving Consultant (PDC) for the morning who would encourage us to explore the limits of both the cars and ourselves. First up was the 991 generation 911 GT3 RS. As I lowered myself into the sports bucket seat, I was conscious of the half-cage behind me. It was so cool. I never thought when I was pushing my Matchbox cars around my IKEA carpet (you know the one I mean) that I would actually be about to drive what is basically a race car, just a few years later…
I twisted the key in the ignition and a proper motorsport bark erupted from behind and settled into a metallic chunter. This car is sensational.
Although the car was far from intimidating, it was clay cold and had to be worked up to temperature before I could experiment with any power – bearing in mind the car runs on Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, not far off a racing slick.
A few warm-up sighting laps later, and I was ready to start feeding in the power. The 493bhp 4.0 flat-six powering the car, howls toward the 8,800rpm redline with a shocking athleticism. All of the controls are extremely responsive, intensified further by the seven-speed PDK gearbox – a controversial issue at the model launch, but one which you quickly accept.
Put simply, the 911 GT3 RS is an attack on your senses and there would be too much to think about while stirring a stick around. Each gearshift is instantaneous and super smooth.
As my PDC helped me to hunt the best line through each corner of the handling track, I was able to keep my toe in longer on each lap, sustaining the incredible balance of the RS chassis and then take advantage of the strong acceleration on straights.
Braking performance is equally astonishing. As the test car had the Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake option fitted, the warming up period also acted on the anchors, making them more responsive under a firm stand on the brake pedal. I have always been extremely fond of Porsche braking systems and maintain that they’re the best in the business. The sensation as you lean on the brake pedal runs right up your leg, up into your core where the correct pressure to be applied becomes instinctive.
The new 911 GT3 RS is superb. As I pulled back into the car park, I was star struck – it offers such a rewarding experience behind the wheel and it was fantastic to share this feeling with the owners of this car.
Engine: 4.0 litre, flat-six, 24 valve, rear-mounted
Top Speed: 193 mph
Power: 500 hp
Torque: 340 lb ft
Transmission: 7-speed, PDK
Driven Wheels: Rear
0-62 mph: 3.3 seconds
Combined MPG: 22.2
Kerb Weight: 1495kg
OTR Price: £131,296
Star Rating: * * * * *