Putting a Formula 1 driver in a street car always promises fireworks, and this hot lap with Mark Webber is no different. His talent and composure help showcase the newest RS’ abilities, but also demonstrate how certain drivers are on a level which even the most ambitious amateurs can’t hope to match.
Aside from the Aussie’s expected precision and comfort at speed, a few things about these blistering laps stand out. First, he chooses to leave the gearbox in automatic like the cool customer he is, though he occasionally overrides the software and manually downshifts. You expect a certain ease and detachment from a former-F1 driver, but Webber’s body language looks like he’s driving to church, not putting in a sizzling lap at the Nurburgring F1 circuit.
The Porsche seems perfectly suited for the conditions. For instance, the way the newest RS gobbles curbing with complete stability is simply remarkable. At 1:51 and 3:34, Webber carries incredible entry speed through the curbed chicane, and a sudden snap seems inevitable—yet it never happens.
The few times Webber dials in some corrective lock, he does so to usher the GT3’s nose towards the apex. That mild rotation and the ease with which he both anticipates and catches it are the other striking aspects of the newest GT3 RS. Able to dive in toward the apex with the mildest amount of yaw, the 911 looks near-perfect in the hands of a one of the world’s best.
Even on the brakes, the Porsche seems to possess a level of stability that one wouldn’t always associated with a rear-engined car. Of course, a mild wiggle at the end of the front straight (2:14) is expected, but in technical sections where the 911 is subjected to lots of lateral load while braking heavily, it remains planted underneath him.
Some of that has to do with the innate balance of the GT3 platform, but also the way the car communicates with the driver. When trail braking deeply into Turn 8’s apex (3:10), the Porsche remains incredibly poised. Looking at that first input followed by a slight hesitation, you can see that Webber feels the rear just hinting at breaking away. By straightening the wheel again, he stabilizes the 911 and waits until he can turn without exceeding the rear tires’ capacity. His subtle steering corrections show how much information he’s receiving through the wheel—precisely the sort of feedback needed to balance a car consistently at the limit of adhesion.
Predictably, traction is immense and the Porsche simply fires out of corners like it’s outfitted with four-wheel drive, which is something considering the 4.0-liter’s mid-range wallop. Even with all these assets brought together in one cohesive package, the RS’ performance cannot compare to the LMP1 machinery Webber’s familiar with, but the road car’s frantic pace is more than most mortals can handle. Occasionally, the casual, questioning thumbs up he throws at his passenger reminds us he was one of F1/WEC’s most empathetic drivers, and one that still hasn’t lost any speed.