The insane Porsche sports car F1 drivers buy
HAVE you ever wondered what type of car Formula 1 drivers have as a weekend toy? Here's a prime example.
Aussie ace Mark Webber and other speed demons have one of these stashed in their garages because it's one of the few road cars with enough power to give them a fright.
Officially, it's called the GT2 RS and under the familiar shape of a Porsche 911 it packs the performance to match or eclipse hyper-cars.
Unofficially, those in the know call it the "widow-maker" because few drivers have the skill to exploit its potential.
Porsche has taken its most powerful twin-turbo six-cylinder engine, given it even more urge, and then trimmed 125kg, notably deleting the front differential that provides so much grip in the, ahem, more affordable $495,000 all-wheel drive 911 Turbo S.
The GT2 RS costs a gobsmacking $700,000 by the time it's in the traffic, even then adding options such as a $1690 rear camera.
It doesn't even come with interior door handles. In the pursuit of lopping weight, the levers are replaced by a piece of fabric similar to seatbelt material.
Tug on those to open the doors before you start a form of Porsche yoga, clambering out of the tight sports seats. Master it, and your feet will touch the ground before your hands.
It may lack basic comfort features but the GT2 RS is in such hot demand even the rich and famous need to queue to buy one. Only about 60 are coming to Australia. All are sold.
More power and less weight is the formula that underpins all fast cars but with this one Porsche is pushing the boundaries of having too much of a good thing.
The numbers are mind-boggling: more power than a V8 Supercar in something almost as light as a Toyota Corolla.
The 3.8-litre flat six produces 515kW/750Nm - up from 397kW and 710Nm in the standard 911 Turbo.
Suffice to say I took a while to build up the courage to sample even some of its acceleration. The tyres are of a type designed for track use, which means they take a while to warm up before they grip, then once up to temperature they can take lap after lap of punishment on a circuit.
On the road the level of grip is anyone's guess - and this is not the type of car for guesswork.
With every behind-the-scenes safety aid switched on, the GT2 RS became more familiar with time, even though I wasn't even scratching the surface of its ability. Initially it's so intimidating that I drove it more slowly than I would a Suzuki Swift.
It's also very loud. As part of the weight-saving process, Porsche jettisoned sound-deadening material. You can hear everything.
Which brings us to the exhaust button. Select sport mode and the burble and popping of the exhaust dealing with excess fuel sounds like distant fireworks.
Floor the throttle - when the road is clear enough and smooth enough - and the air intakes suck in oxygen with so much force it sounds as if you've put your hand over the end of a vacuum cleaner nozzle.
Eventually we tested the 0-100km/h claim. Porsche says it can do the dash in 2.8 seconds.
I had my doubts, given it's relying only on the rear wheels to get all that power to the ground.
We did a string of 2.9-second runs using precision equipment and I went from sceptical to awe-struck - the all-wheel drive 911 Turbo feels faster yet stops the clock in 3.0 seconds.
By the end of the drive it became apparent the GT2 RS truly is built for speed, and definitely not for comfort. Even in "normal" mode the suspension is so stiff you even feel the bumps you can't see.
Clearly this is not a car for the faint of heart - or regular road use. It's a race-car with numberplates. And an engineering feat.
FAST FACTS: PORSCHE 911 GT2 RS
PRICE $700,000 drive-away (expensive)
WARRANTY/SERVICE Three years/unlimited km, 12 months/15,000km intervals, no capped pricing (average)
ENGINE Twin turbo 3.8-litre 6-cyl horizontally opposed "boxer" engine, 515kW/750Nm (plenty)
SAFETY Six airbags, carbon ceramic brakes (rear camera optional, no AEB; below average)
THIRST 11.8L/100km (thirsty)
SPARE None, call a tow truck (not ideal)
BOOT 115l Under the bonnet (small)
This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling