Light, nimble, and sleek, a ’73 2.7 RS turns heads wherever it goes, commands obscene prices, and causes Porschephiles to salivate. For the historian, this rolling museum piece represents a period in racing when the difference between a road car and a racing car wasn’t as vast as it is today. In fact, the 2.7 RS wasn’t originally legal in the US due to its emissions equipment—or lack thereof. Eventually, the EPA relaxed its restrictions and allowed this car—one designed strictly as a European racing car—on the roads.
Patrick Dempsey and Jay Leno, two of the most devoted gearheads in Hollywood, sit comfortably in the classic houndstooth seats and discuss some interesting gas-fueled moments in their lives, and how they were first bitten by the automotive bug. The six-figure price keeps Dempsey from driving the RS in real anger, but fortunately, there is an alternative vehicle available for quick laps.
For some footage of a similar car driving acrobatically with no regard for tire longevity, see here.
Though Leno never started racing seriously himself, he’s a man who enjoys seeing a vehicle doing what it’s intended to do, and so he requests Dempsey to take a safer car around the fastest course on the West Coast. Leno being the connected man he is, brings the spiritual successor to the 2.7 RS for Dempsey to thrash.
More than twice the power, a PDK gearbox, enormous tires, and real aerodynamic grip take the game so many steps further—and change the driving style required. Whereas the old car asked a driver to chuck the car into the corner after braking heavily, the rear-wheel steered GT3 RS is a more neutral, more agreeable, less recalcitrant car.
As impressive as those qualities are, sometimes specifications fail to get the true impression across. Here, the smiles on their faces tell the whole story: