So why go to all the trouble? Well, they allow an increase in downforce on the front axle of 30 per cent, which in turn means the adjustable rear wing can be raised twice the height into the breeze. The overall figure is 345kg of downforce (with a coefficient of drag of 0.34) split in the ideal proportions of 1:2 front to rear. That means the new RS has 80 per cent of the downforce of a GT3 Cup race car. Admittedly you really need a racetrack with a corner like 130R at Suzuka to truly appreciate it, but it should have some effect from 100mph onwards, increasing lateral grip where the GT3 would start to lose it. Preuninger also recounts his journey on the Autobahn up to the launch, eulogising in his typically enthusiastic and honest way about the RS’s stability through a set of 270kph sweepers.
Unsurprisingly, photographer Dean Smith and I are up early the following morning. The RS’s engine takes a moment longer to catch than a regular GT3’s, but then settles to a familiar lumpy idle, a touch more noise filtering into the cabin than before. Pull the lever back to select D, squeeze the throttle, the electronic handbrake releases automatically and we’re away. With cold fluids running around the car it’s only right to take the first few miles gently, but although you might think it would be frustrating driving an RS slowly, the surprise – perhaps the biggest of the whole day – is how engaging and enjoyable it is.
Whilst not as raw as previous RSs, there are plenty of noises and sensations to enjoy. The rose joints in the front suspension clank a little over bumps (it rides surprisingly well in the softer of the two PASM settings) and there is immediacy to the way the whole car reacts to cambers and imperfections so that it feels alive underneath you and in your hands. The electric power-assisted steering is undoubtedly the best I have experienced too, with less filtering of information and an uncanny weighting that (in the dry at least) feels almost hydraulically assisted. I also think the smaller wheel is a real improvement and would suit the standard GT3 too, the smaller inputs better matching the phenomenal rate of response both cars have.