Similar on the Surface
Either of the last two iterations of the GT2 RS could be described as a bit too powerful for the technical MSR Houston, but a reasonably tight track still helps convey the characters of these two cars. Long straights and high-speed corners are where the GT2 is arguably at its best, though it has to be said that few cars—even four-wheel drive vehicles—deploy the power out of hairpins as well as a 911 does. Still, with the way these engines create power, the GT2 RS is always just a few inches of throttle travel away from a serious moment.
Their outrageous midrange torque that makes them unique among rear-wheel drive sports cars. In the 997, a flat surge of 516 lb-ft is available from 2,250-5,500 rpms. In the 991, the brunt of its muscle (560 lb-ft) comes on at 2,500 rpms and pulls to 4,500 rpms before tapering off. Both curves shouldn’t be manageable, but a bit of magic makes that thrust just about usable—provided the driver has enough talent.
Differences in Technology
The host, Reggie Draper, admits to being a novice, and that helps vet these cars. Both have an intimidating reputation, and by listening to the way Reggie applies the throttle makes it clear the 991 is the more comforting car to drive. He’s all fear and nerves with the first car, but astonishment and confidence with the second.
There are a few areas which make the latest version a more approachable machine. Crucially, the 991 wears larger tires at the front—265-sections, to be exact. The 245-sections adorning the 997’s front end mean it isn’t as crisp and does suffer some understeer, which is compounded by the absence of rear-wheel steering.
A clever, electronically controlled differential helps meter that thrust out neatly. The snap oversteer the 997 is known to have is no longer a foible with the 991; the latest GT2 RS is much easier to manage when the rear steps out. With both hands on the wheel at all times, 700 turbocharged horsepower isn’t uncontrollable.
Clearly, Porsche was intending this car be more usable to the average driver of uncommon means. It was also meant to make an indelible mark on the world, and even though the latest GT2 RS isn’t used in international GT racing as of yet, the Clubsport variant of the car was raced at a one-off event specifically for the model at the 2019 24 Hours of Spa.
Whereas the 997 GT2 RS was relegated to a corner occupied by psychopaths and oddballs, the 991 variant was definitely meant to be a competitor. However, as a road car, it’s the less refined predecessor which is the more compelling. Less friendly; more of a muscle car. Without a doubt, it takes a certain degree of respect which the agreeable successor doesn’t, and for that reason, it better embodies some of that fearsome personality associated with the track-oriented turbocharged 911.