I know what you’re thinking – Porsche know what they’re doing and the latest GT3 RS is the highest evolution of a proven formula. Who in their right mind looks at it and thinks ‘that needs to go faster’?
I’m with you on that and even Manthey-Racing would agree to a certain extent. Before we begin, I’ll let you into a little secret. This car is not really about being faster, it’s about being able to access that speed more confidently, more of the time, by a wider spread of drivers.
As soon as you understand that, you’ll understand the Manthey-Racing GT3 RS MR.
You see, when you look up lap times for cars on websites like Fastest Laps you’ll find superstar names like Walter Röhrl, Klaus Ludwig and Kevin Estre. These are not normal drivers. These guys have ‘one in a million’ natural talent and have dedicated their lives to honing their skill. They are not you and I. Even the best amateur drivers would struggle to eek the last 10 to 20% of performance from the GT3 RS, let alone doing it safely and repeatably. I’d probably get about 50 to 60% out of it and end up on fire in the process. Safely and repeatably are key words here; if you’re doing track days in a GT3 RS the last thing you’d want to do is leave the track trying to go fast, and that’s where the MR package comes in.
It’s designed to give the driver confidence to explore the limits of the GT3 RS.
It goes without saying that Manthey-Racing wanted to increase the overall performance and reduce the headline lap time over the stock GT3 RS – and who wouldn’t? But the key difference is that the package is designed to be easy to drive.
Michael Grassl at Manthey-Racing, a long time friend of Speedhunters and race driver, explains it perfectly: “We want our customers to achieve fast lap times safely, to get as close as possible to our development driver’s times and smile while doing it.”
But how is this achieved? Well, the first thing to understand here is that Manthey-Racing develop the complete package in house. Everything is designed to work harmoniously in the car. This isn’t a case of selecting off-the-shelf race car parts and making the best of what is available, it’s a ground up development programme. The testing, logging and analysis committed to this car is akin to a factory race car development programme. This is helped by Manthey-Racing HQ being stationed less than 30 seconds from the Nürburgring, and it allows them to fit a part and head straight to T13 to join the industry pool testing for evaluation.
The depth of detail in this development regime is staggering. The enlarged rear wing is not just a replacement wing element – that is only the tip of the iceberg. If you look deeper, the wing uprights are no longer supported by the deck lid but mounted directly to the chassis. In turn, the deck lid is shortened and opens between the wing uprights, rather than opening with them like on the normal GT3 RS. Under the deck lid, new carbon fibre panels make the installation look completely OEM. If you’ve never seen a stock GT3 RS you’d be very hard pushed to tell how the MR is different.
But the wing change was only made as a result of testing. Manthey-Racing found that the new wing element forced the rear of the normal deck lid down in high speed sections and it pushed the tail lights out of alignment. It’s a similar story with the rear suspension, as most (including myself) would think that the first generation and second generation GT3 RS MR would share the same setup. The back of this new GT3 RS MR is a totally new development that follows on from the extensive work Manthey-Racing completed with the GT2 RS MR project before it.
The package price for the GT3 RS MR is set at €54,911 (US$61,115) plus tax, or €39,911 (US$47,325) plus tax if you don’t want the magnesium wheels. Now that may sound like a lot but consider this: You are getting a complete modification package developed by one of the most successful racing teams on the planet, set up and installed, ready to go. It even retains the Porsche factory drivetrain warranty. In actual fact, when you look through the parts price list the components are actually very good value. Brake pads for steel discs come in at €671.43 (US$795) plus tax; that’s basically an OE replacement price.
If you’re lucky enough to have a second generation GT3 RS and are considering the MR package, I’d strongly advise you to get the wheels and aero discs though, mainly so we can all look at them and enjoy them. Not only do they look absolutely mental, the aero discs can only be fitted to the MR wheels and they increase rear downforce enough to reduce the wing angle by 2°. This means a higher top speed. If that’s not a conversation starter I don’t know what is.
As I’m typing this the GT3 RS MR has not yet set an official time at the Nürburgring, but by the time you read this it will have set a blistering time, smashing the time set by the stock second gen GT3 RS. I’m absolutely confident of this because I was able to witness the pace first hand, while being thrown around the interior like a rag doll on the Nordschleife.
Here’s what it feels like…
We jumped into the car at the Manthey-Racing development centre and headed off to join the Nordschleife. Christoph Breuer is an unassuming dude, ultra-friendly and smiling. He knows what is about to come. He warms the car up on the brakes, getting a little heat into the tyres on the road to enter the ‘Ring, a wave to the marshal and we join, instantly at full throttle.
It’s impossible to carry on with any conversation from this point and I’m fully committed to holding on as best as I can in the standard seat and 3-point harness. For the next 7 minutes or less I am powerless. I expect this is why Christoph wore a wry smile from his position, bolted firmly in the carbon Recaro Cup car seat and in complete control.
I cannot keep my body from lurching forward, left, right, up down and everywhere in between. At one point I’m sure my head hit the roof. It’s impossible to comprehend the rush of inputs entering my brain so I decide to try as best as I can to focus on Christoph’s inputs at the throttle, brakes and steering, noting how the car reacts. Does it look easy to drive or is he fighting it to get the speed?
That’s easier said than done of course, as on the several times I managed to regain control of my neck muscles and glance over at the speedometer, it was was north of 270km/h on at least three occasions. I’ve been out at the ‘Ring in VLN cars on full slicks, but they didn’t feel this quick. You’ve got to remember this car has carpets, airbags and you can drive it to get a coffee. Not that I need any more stimulants right now.
The braking performance is absolutely savage and it throws me almost clean out of the window on the first hard application. I was not expecting that. It’s only got updated brake pads and steel lines, but it feels incredible under braking.
This development car has no A/C. I’m sweating uncontrollably; my palms are streaming. Every time we approach a corner I have to brace as hard as I can against the footwell to resist the deceleration. The braking on this car sums the whole package up perfectly. There is no value-adding facade, only components that have been tested to need improvement are improved and a perfect replacement is developed. I can’t believe this is just a pad upgrade.
Likewise, the suspension upgrades do not include any fancy uni-ball arms or solid-mounted, NVH-elevating trickery. Almost all of the performance comes from the KW 3-way front and 4-way rear suspension upgrade. The grip level is staggering. There’s absolutely no suspension noise, no damper squelch, no squeaking, just the mad ability to ride all the lumps and bumps of the Nürburgring without losing composure. It eats up curbs with incredible finesse.
But this is part of the driver confidence-inspiring aspect of the conversion. This is all on purpose; it’s been engineered in. Audibly, it’s just like being in a conventional GT3 RS inside, albeit one that feels like it’s gone to the gym non stop for six months and has emerged a vision of peak performance.
Not a word is said throughout the lap, but I’m sure I made some interesting grunts and sounds.
Christoph’s driving is incredibly precise and the GT3 RS MR is able to reward him with alarmingly little steering input. He’s absolutely not fighting it, it’s working with him. It looks like he’s having a pretty leisurely Sunday drive, but what I can see happening to the left of me doesn’t translate to the forces my body is feeling. It’s like he’s driving a relatively mundane hatchback around at 60% pace, perfectly smoothly.
Christoph in this car is the embodiment of ‘smooth is fast’. The Manthey-Racing idea of allowing more performance to be unlocked all of the time looks to be working perfectly. The faster sections of the circuit defy physics. Fuchsröhre and Kesselchen are particularly mental. I’ve never been through those sections so fast before, and if there was a passenger camera in operation I’m sure I’d have been pulling some pretty ugly faces.
We pass Mark and Ben observing trackside at Brünnchen, and I realise that my time in this car is almost over. It’d gone in the blink of an eye. The last third of the circuit is very quick but there’s some traffic, so I get the chance to digest what has just happened.
As we exit the Nordschleife I relax and turn my crooked neck to Christoph and babble some incoherent expletives. He laughs and simply says “it’s quite good, isn’t it?”
This response sums up Manthey-Racing’s confidence and pride in their product. Everything that’s required to produce this sort of experience is a result of meticulous testing. There’s no other way to achieve it, you just can’t fake it. This particular car has endured more than 100 laps of testing; that’s more than all but the most die-hard Nürburgring fans complete in a lifetime. When you factor in the development time spent on the first gen GT3 RS MR package, plus that of the GT2 RS MR, it’s obvious why this car is such a polished performer.
I have to keep reminding myself that the primary point of this car is not to achieve the fastest outright lap time with a god-like driver, it’s more about inspiring confidence in the everyday driver. To get the best from people; to give them the best experience. It’s a joy machine.
Christoph modestly explained it like this: “I’m not a professional driver; I am really an amateur. But maybe sometimes, on the right day with some confidence, I can produce a lap like a professional. That’s why we made this car. This package won’t punish you for exploring the limits, but it will reward your bravery if you do.”
For the record, I completely disagree with Christoph’s stance on his driving prowess, but that is the Manthey-Racing way, always understated. Quietly under promise and hugely over perform.
Since returning to the comfort of my desk in the UK, I did a little digging on Mr Christoph Breuer. It turns out he really was being modest. His career highlights include; being the project manager for road car projects at Manthey-Racing. He’s CEO at Porsche Service Center Meuspath. He’s entered VLN endurance racing as early as 2005, battling in a starting field of over 100 cars. He’s also taken part in the arduous Nürburgring 24h race as far back as 2006, and then every year since. He’s been the team mate of Porsche factory drivers in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup MR in VLN and 24H races in 2016, plus the team mate of Lars Kern in the Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR in VLN and 24h races in 2017 and 2018. He’s got over 100 race entries under hit belt and last but not least, he’s Manthey-Racing’s R&D driver.
That makes me sound like a stylish French private investigator, I’m not, in truth I just emailed Michael Grassl asking.
I’m kind of glad he didn’t tell me in the car in person, I’m just a moderately overweight guy in a black tee shirt and shorts.
The best thing about this whole GT3 RS MR idea is the thought that you could take a holiday to the Nürburgring and enjoy some laps, drop your car to Manthey-Racing for the conversion and explore the culture in the Eifel region for two days, collect your car and then lap again even faster with your newly MR-equipped GT3 RS. I might have just come up with the best package holiday ever invented.
I went into this thinking that the GT3 RS MR is a pumped-up, maximum-attack enhanced version of the GT3 RS with extra power and a hairy driving experience. I was completely wrong.
Rather than change the character of the stock GT3 RS, Manthey-Racing has enhanced it with the MR conversion. Not only making it a better version of itself, but allowing you get more from yourself too. It’s made to enable drivers to enjoy their own abilities and that is a wonderful thing.
Photos by Mark Riccioni
10 things you need to know about the GT3 RS MR:
- It is the ultimate track car.
- You can drive it safely and enjoy it without being a top-tier racing driver.
- Manthey-Racing redeveloped the entire rear wing system to mount directly to the chassis.
- Carbon fibre is used throughout, but painted in many places, which is the coolest thing you can do.
- Steel brake lines and Manthey-developed brake pads give staggering braking with zero noise.
- The conversion takes just two days at Manthey HQ.
- Manthey magnesium wheels save 12.6kg and you can choose from brilliant silver, platinum silver, satin black or gold.
- Getting the conversion means you can run that iconic ‘Manthey-Racing’ sun strip.
- Carbon aero discs supplement rear downforce and reduce drag for a higher top speed.
- You can order the suspension and brake components separate to the full MR package.