When we saw the Porsche 911 GT2 RS’s incredible 6:47.25 Nürburgring lap time, we couldn’t help but wonder what made the car so fast. Sure, the GT2 RS has 700 horsepower, but on paper, it seems quite low-tech compared to the two previous Nürburgring lap record holders, the Lamborghini Huracan Performante and Porsche’s own 918 Spyder.
After all, the GT2 RS doesn’t have any fancy active aerodynamics like the Lamborghini, nor does it have any sort of hybrid drivetrain assistance like the 918. For answers, we spoke with Andreas Preuninger, the head of Porsche’s GT car division, over email.
One big factor in the GT2 RS’s performance is its tires. Like the 918 Spyder, it uses Michelin’s excellent Pilot Sport Cup 2, but that tire has evolved quite a bit in the four years since the 918 set its Nürburgring record.
The tire used on the 918 was the “N0” spec Pilot Sport Cup 2, and Porsche worked with Michelin to develop two further variants—the N1 for the 991.1 GT3 RS, and the N2 for the GT2 RS. Each tire gets its own compound and construction to “to extract the maximum performance out of the car,” according to Preuninger.
Essentially, the GT2 RS generates more mechanical grip than the 918 Spyder and 991.1 GT3 RS, despite the fact that all have Pilot Spot Cup 2s of the exact same size. That makes a huge difference on track.
While the GT2 RS doesn’t use any active aero, it still generates a lot of downforce, helping it maintain high cornering speeds at the ‘Ring. At the front, there’s a big lip spoiler and an air extraction vent on the trunk lid, and at the rear, there’s a big, manually adjustable wing. With the wing in its normal setting, the GT2 RS generates 750 lbs (340 kg) of downforce at its 211-mph top speed, and when it’s set to its maximum angle of attack, that figure increases to 992 lbs (450 kg).
The GT2 RS’s rear wing was set to maximum attack for the record run, which surely helped the car in the Nurburgring’s many high-speed corners. But despite running a high-downforce setup—and therefore increasing drag—the GT2 RS still managed to hit around 193 mph on the Nurburgring’s final straight. In contrast, the Huracan Performante hit 188 mph in the same spot.
But even knowing this, the fact that the GT2 RS ran nearly 10 seconds quicker than the 918 Spyder is still hard to believe. According to Preuninger, this is because the GT2 RS offers “[l]ess weight, more tire grip, more downforce, and more continuously available power” than the 918.
Preuninger notes that the 918 can’t “boost with e-power all the time, everywhere,” meaning for some of its Nurburgring lap, it was only relying on its 600-hp V8 engine. The GT2 RS makes 700 hp all the time.
The GT2 RS is also light—the car that set the record, a European-spec car with the optional Weissach Pacakge, weighs just 3241 lbs (1470 kg). In Europe, Weissach Package-equipped GT2 RSes get a titanium roll cage in place of a standard FIA-certified steel roll cage. US-spec GT2 RSes won’t come with any sort of roll cage due to homologation reasons.
All of this adds up to a 911 that, according to Preuninger, is faster everywhere on the track than any other 911. “Corners, straights, you name it,” he said.
How much do you need for these babies?
The 2019 Porsche 911 GT2 RS has a base price of $293,200 (plus $1,250 destination fee). When it was available, a standard 918 Spyder had a starting price of $845,000 in United States while the optional Weissach Package commanded a hefty premium of $84,000 for a grand total of $929,000. Porsche has already announced a successor is planned, but it won’t come until around the middle of the next decade. You could probably still get a 918 Spyder from dealers at about $2 million.
Drag Race GT2RS VS 918 Spyder
Slay Lifestyle Concierge Verdict
Despite having only two driven wheels, the GT2 RS actually betters the four-wheel drive 918 Spyder in low-speed acceleration.
GT2RS VS MC LAREN
Source Road and Track