You have to head back a little over a decade, to 2004 in fact, to find the first GT3 to benefit from the legendary RS sui x. Then, it was attached to the rump of the 996 with around 680 lucky buyers getting to experience the delights of a 381bhp flat six allied to a useful weight reduction. It would hardly come as a surprise, then, when Porsche announced that the 997 GT3 would also get the Rennsport treatment, although this time both models would arrive together in August 2006.
996 buyers had to wait five years or so for the same development. Even with an eye-watering £94,280 price tag, this new generation would prove immediately popular, so much so that 1,106 examples would leave the production line before the Gen2 version arrived three years later. Like the 996 incarnation, the fi rst 997 GT3 RS was all about weight saving. The first-generation GT3 RS featured the wider rear bodyshell of the Carrera 4 and Porsche shaved a healthy 20kg of the weight of the Gen1 GT3. The diet was assisted by using carbon fi bre for the adjustable rear wing and engine cover, and plastic instead of glass for the rear screen (saving almost 3kg) and, given the cost, it’s worth ensuring parts are undamaged on the example you’re looking at. At a gulp-inducing £5,900 for the rear wing, the need for care is obvious. The ten year anti-corrosion warranty means that rust shouldn’t be a concern, but it’s worth checking whether a previous owner has added paint protection film to the front end as the nose is susceptible to stone chips. If not, ask whether there has been any paint rectification work to the panels and bumper.
Far more important, though, is whether an RS has seen action on the track and while soaring values make it a little less likely today, that wasn’t always the case. Aside from the fact that pounding over kerbs can prematurely age the bodyshell – listen out for unusual creaks – there’s the risk that trips through the gravel trap has resulted in damage to the underside panelling. A specialist will check for this, of course, but otherwise it’s worth a thorough examination of the undertrays and front splitter for grazing. And it goes without saying that you need to be sure of the car’s history, looking for any evidence of major accident repair. It’s also worth mentioning that the RS was available in some pretty extrovert colours, so you might want to consider whether you’d be happier with black or silver rather than the Orange or Viper green!
That said, it seems buyers are happy to pay a small premium for their RS to stand out. It certainly looked the part, then, but it’s what was hidden beneath that composite engine cover that really captured the imagination. A revised version of the unit found in the 996 GT3, the 3.6-litre engine produced 415bhp at 7,600rpm and 405Nm of torque at 5,500rpm, and could safely rev to a stratospheric 8,400rpm. Featuring VarioCam variable inlet valve timing, titanium connecting rods, and a revised dry sump lubrication system, it shoved the RS from 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds and on to 194mph. The good news for buyers is a depth of engineering that rendered it bulletproof in the eyes of most specialists, although it pays to undertake some careful checks before taking the plunge. Oil and filter changes were at 12,000 miles, and while particularly careful owners may well have shortened the interval, you certainly don’t want to find any gaps in the service history. And, while regular maintenance is slightly higher than for the GT3, it’s not by a great deal, so budget around £370 and £800 for a minor and major check respectively at a specialists such as RPM Technik.