Under the guidance of Jeffrey Cook, a talented student can threaten a hypercar’s supremacy in a 991.2 GT3 RS. Once a driver is confident in the GT3 RS’ swinging pendulum of a rear and the way it likes to rotate at higher speeds, they can lean on that odd weight distribution and exploit the rear-engine traction in a way that fires them out of faster corners like few cars can.
Before we start off, we should mention that this particular RS was shod in a set of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 Rs, and that while the day was just about ideal, there was a bit of traffic hampering the efforts of our driver, Mr. Yellow. OK—racing excuses are out of the way.
With the sun shining brightly over Laguna Seca, Mr. Yellow achieved an incredible time of 1:31.7—just a second shy of the record Randy Pobst set in a 903-horsepower McLaren P1 back in 2015. Regardless of perfect tires and conditions, snagging a time just shy of McLaren’s flagship is an incredible feat, regardless of rubber or conditions.
After an earlier afternoon with both drivers alternating between shotgun and the driver’s seat (to keep the weight constant) and analyzing the results of their Racelogic data logger, both Cook and Mr. Yellow came to the conclusion that a pretty staggering time would be possible on Cup 2 R rubber. Up until that point, Mr. Yellow’s best around Laguna Seca was a 1:33.4 on the stable and long-lasting Dunlop Sport Maxx tires. With the stickier rubber in place, they chopped that time by nearly two seconds.
To get the most out of the car, “it requires commitment and early throttle application,” advised Mr. Yellow. “Maybe you enter the corner a hair slower than you would in a mid-engine car, but you can—and should—get back to power very early.” Of course, this is all relative; look at how quickly he flies into the Andretti Hairpin (0:28)!
Not only must the driver plant their right foot early to find the lap time, but with the weight transfer present, they must do it quickly to stabilize the rear. “When the rear starts to slide (0:46), it’s critical you don’t lift. You’ve got to be confident, plant your right foot, and launch off the corner, ” instructs Cook. Once a driver is comfortable with the 911’s idiosyncrasies, the communicative car becomes a weapon. Drive it too slow, however, and it sometimes falls on its face.
To nurse the front end into slower corners takes a disciplined approach. “You need to trailbrake all the way to the apex in most corners—Turn 11 being a great example of this. However, once you’re upon the apex, transitioning back to the throttle happens very quickly. Not so quickly that you cause wheelspin, but fast enough to plant the rear and take advantage of the layout,” says Mr. Yellow. In fact, that inherent traction is so immense that they deactivated traction control to allow for a little more slip at corner exit. Rather than hinder the RS’ progression out of the corner, it helps to keep revs in the meat of the powerband.
The Racelogic data suggests that, without the bobble in Turn 11 or any pesky traffic forcing Mr. Yellow off-line, he could’ve rounded the 2.2-mile course in 1:30.9—but that will have to wait for another day. Nevertheless, it’s an indication of how far cars have come in the last few years, and how the GT3 RS can never be underestimated.