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Auto blogFri, 01 Aug 2014
Porsche has been taking its time developing the most hardcore 911 models for the latest 991 chassis. While the GT3 has been on the market for a little while, it suffered from some teething issues. The 911 GT3 RS is certainly on the radar since being spotted testing, but it's always better to get a look at a new car without all of the camo to hide the coolest parts. Thankfully, Car in the UK has some patent photos of the RS ahead of its debut, and they show off one mean-looking 911.
The first thing that you notice about the RS is that Porsche clearly isn't afraid to rework the latest 911's shape for its track-focused version. Each piece is slightly resculpted to squeeze the most out of it. Up front, the air dam has the same shape to the earlier photos. They also both highlight the upcoming model's tiny air inlet at the tip of the hood, the massive intakes in the rear fenders and general design of the rear wing with a ducktail underneath. The bubbled roof is much clearer here, where it was disguised in spy shots. You can also spot the slashing fender gills behind the front wheels that are a completely new feature.
The GT3 RS is the ultimate naturally aspirated 911 for the street, but according to Car, Porsche aims to take that even farther with the latest model. If these are the looks, then it's working. Unfortunately, the new version's powerplant remains a mystery. Though, given all the changes to the bodywork, the engine is almost surely getting tweaked over the 475-horsepower GT3. The RS is rumored to hit the road and be screaming down the track in 2015.
No doubt, Porsche has produced some of the best endurance racecars around, such as the turbocharged, slant-nose 935 of the 1970s and the ground-effects-enhanced 956 and 962 of the 1980s. But the company's most famous racecar, its first overall winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, was the 917.
The 917 embodied many of Porsche's technological achievements up to that point, such as the company's first 12- and 16-cylinder engines (the flat-16 was never used in competition), fiberglass bodies that implemented early aerodynamic practices and the use of new, exotic materials, such as magnesium and titanium.
The racecar was commissioned by the head of Porsche Motorsports, Ferdinand Piëch, to win overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970, after he realized a loophole in the rules that allowed cars to compete with engines up to five liters in the Sport category if they were also production models. Piëch saw opportunity: the top prototype class was restricted to three liters; the production minimum to compete in Sport was 25 cars. And so, with much effort, Porsche assembled 25 "production" 4.5-liter 917s and had them parked in a neat line for the race inspectors to verify their legitimacy. It didn't take long before people realized the new Porsches were much faster than the prototype racers, with a top speed approaching 250 miles per hour.
Oh, the heady days of 1993, back when the Clinton Presidency was just getting underway, and it seemed like every hot new rock band was coming out of Seattle. Sports cars in the US had finally shaken off the shackles that slowed them during the '70s and '80s, and you could buy any number of legitimately quick vehicles again. MotorWeek recently went digging into its archives to find this six-model test from 1993 showing off some of the best semi-affordable performance coupes that money could buy at the time, and it's priceless.
Featuring the 1994 model year Toyota Supra in twin-turbo guise and MY 1993 versions of the Porsche 968, Nissan 300ZX TT, Mazda RX-7, Dodge Stealth R/T Turbo and Chevrolet Corvette LT-1, MotorWeek definitely covered all of the bases. One thing that might surprise younger readers is these cars' performance. The video only provides 0-60 acceleration times, but several of these vehicles would still be considered pretty potent today - over 20 years since going on sale. The Supra is especially impressive, hitting 60 miles per hour in just 5 seconds. Even today, that's nothing to sneeze at.
Given their performance potential and still-attractive looks, it's amazing that some of these coupes are old enough to drink now. The progress of interior design and safety equipment in the intervening years is pretty shocking, though. In most of these models, having two airbags is touted as a big deal. Scroll down to watch a Throwback Thursday blast from the past about some of the '90s best sports cars.