"You need to learn how to drive a slow car fast before you can drive a fast car fast," says Joe Kou, Spec Miata racer and owner of this GT3 RS. Running in an anemic Miata and focusing on maintaining mid-corner speed obviously pays off in the punchier cars, as we can see here in this searing lap at Sonoma Raceway. With that wonderful blend of circumspection and aggression that only an experienced, confident driver can muster, Kou sets a 1:44.8 lap around one of California's best tracks while demonstrating the Porsche's numerous strengths.
With great stability at speed, the GT3 RS encourages Kou to lean on its aero grip through Turn 1 (0:24). A tight line, an early lift, and plenty of patience keep him rolling good mid-corner speed through one of Sonoma's fastest and least forgiving corners. An almost imperceptible dab of the brake later and Kou rolls back to full throttle carefully over the crest of the off-camber Turn 2 (0:31). Considering the car's weight distribution and the off-camber nature of the corner, the fact it doesn't exhibit any understeer at those speeds is remarkable. Those two carefully navigated corners are where Kou beat his baseline lap by the greatest margin.
Just as impressive is the traction over Turn 3A's crest (0:40). "That car powers out of corners like nothing else," Kou says with a smile. However, it can still spin the rears with a bit of provocation—or, in this case, a pavement change. As Kou descends down the Carousel towards its apex, a flick of opposite lock shows the rear steps out at the corner's hard-to-spot apex (1:05). Nevertheless, the poise and purchase on the pavement give him the confidence to stay flat. Without a doubt, the GT3 RS brings the best out of a handy driver.
A skilled driver is also ready to acknowledge their mistakes. After watching a friend carry more speed in this car through the Turn 8 chicane, he admits there's time to be had there. "I lose about quarter of a second through Turns 8 and 8A," he concedes. However, with so little ahead to see, it's completely forgivable.
More chutzpah, getting to full throttle earlier in Turn 5, and the absence of traffic would put Kou comfortably in the 1:43, or even the 1:42-range. Though this generation of Porsche's GT cars are friendlier than their predecessors, this stirring footage makes it clear they still require a skilled hand to get those last few seconds.