Porsche GT boss: Nürburgring lap times *do* matter
But Andreas Preuninger couldn’t care less how high the new 911 GT3 RS's top speed is
The boss of Porsche’s GT division reckons Nürburgring lap times do matter, at least for cars like the new 911 GT3 RS.
While debate continues about the merits of lap times around the ‘Green Hell’, Andreas Preuninger told TG that it absolutely does matter because it gives the customer context and something to aim for. “For cars like this GT3 RS, they do [care],” he said. “It puts the car in relation to its competitors, and to its predecessor, so it gives them a feeling of what the car can do.
“And it’s for every customer, even though they’re not capable of reproducing these times themselves, it’s good to know their machine, the instrument they’re playing their hobby with, is capable of that.
“Then it’s totally clear for them that if they can’t reach that time, it’s not the car but their own capability. They can fine hone and get better and better, so the car gives them all the conditions to end up there,” he added.
The car, Preuninger said, always has to be one step ahead of the driver. “The important thing is the active aero plays such a big role in driveability, and confidence in the car. Everybody who’s driven this said it’s incredible how good it feels on the Nürburgring. Even the non-professionals. This is a high quote because the 992 GT3 is already king of the ‘Ring."
Preuninger noted how the faster you went around a track in the new GT3 RS, the more confidence a driver would get, with aero levels matching that of the GT3 race cars. “We’re perfectly in the envelope that’s within Balance of Performance of a GT3 race car with a street-legal thing,” he said.
“We didn’t think that was possible when we started the project.” He also doesn’t reckon the new 3RS is able to match the GT2 RS Manthey Racing 911’s record time around the Nürburgring, set in summer last year.
“One has to be realistic,” he said. “The GT2 RS with the MR package for example, it’s 200 horsepower more and a lot more torque. And on the Nürburgring we have three sections where you can really use the power.
“And you need that power. We gain a lot of time in the curves as a matter of fact [in a GT3 RS], but maybe we lose time, especially against the GT2 RS, on the straight. We’re quite curious if we can beat it. I personally have my doubts.
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“But I think the times will be relatively on the same level. It’s definitely faster than a GT3.”
On a racetrack, sure. But not on an Autobahn – the RS is 14mph slower at the top end... and Preuninger couldn’t care less.
“Top speed is totally irrelevant,” he told TG. “It’s more or less a by-product of the aerodynamical aids we have on the car.”
The new GT3 RS maxes out at 184mph, while its lesser-powered sibling, the GT3, is just shy of 200mph at 198mph. While Preuninger conceded that cars like this should be as quick as possible on the straights on the racetrack, v-max has no relevance for the road.
“If the car is there in the shortest possible time, then it’s good for the lap time,” he said about circuit racing. “I don’t care what it does on the Autobahn. In England you don’t have Autobahns. Nowhere in the world has an Autobahn.
“So I couldn’t care less if this car is a little slower on the straights and on the Autobahn than a GT3 or even a Carrera. It doesn’t matter. Accelerating a lot more quickly to its top speed is what counts, because this is relevant for the track,” he added.
And the track is where it matters, right?