It seems like an inevitability these days. Wherever Porsche brings its GT2 RS, they leave with a smile stretched across their faces. The indomitable GT2 RS had already lunched the Corvette ZR1 at Road Atlanta, and eager to continue on their winning streak, they set their sights on America’s top dog.
Few cars have the measure of the wing-clad Viper ACR. Capable of cornering at 1.5 G, the Viper is unlike most production cars oriented for the road course. It generates more than a ton of downforce at 177 miles per hour, runs 2.8 degrees of negative camber at the front axle, has very stiff springs, six-piston brakes, and isn’t lacking in thrust whatsoever. All those traits motivated Dodge to go on a record-hunting spree in 2016; grabbing some thirteen records across the United States. At the 4.048-mile Road America, racer Kuno Wittmer snagged the production record with a 2:20 lap.
The Viper’s famous 8.4-liter V10 makes 645 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque, which are nothing to sniff at, but those figures still falls short of those the forced induction powerplant uses to push the furious GT2 RS. That car, which weighs in a hundred pounds lighter and makes an even 700 horsepower, is simply quicker in a straight line—thanks in large part to its PDK gearbox. Road America has plenty of long straights, but there are just as many heavy braking zones and high-speed corners.
Some of those high-speed corners run alongside intimidating walls, so trust in the car is a must for a fast time. Fortunately, David Donohue, 24 Hours of Daytona and Le Mans class winner, was immediately at home in the Porsche on the daunting circuit. Within two laps, he posted an outrageous lap of 2:15.17 seconds around the circuit. Better yet—he made it look easy.
There’s really no sense in pretending that the feat wasn’t anything but superhuman, but going by the onboard footage, it almost looks sedate. No moments of snap oversteer, no dropped wheels, and no hair-graying moments alongside those terrifying barriers. It’s so approachable; he’s able to carry 110 miles an hour into The Kink (1:33), where a mistake is very costly. Sure, it writhes a bit under the brakes, but considering the speeds, it’s still amazingly stable. Donohue is a paragon of composure and precision throughout this surgical lap; a testament to his skill, as well as the car’s ability and accessibility.
To add insult to injury, Donohue took the normally-aspirated GT3 RS around afterwards—simply to prove the effectiveness of the 911’s chassis. Despite being some 200 horsepower down on the big-bore Viper, the GT3 RS completed a lap in just 2:18.57. That’s got to sting.