Dunlop tailored its SportMaxx GT tyres to the car, too, presenting Cargraphic with so much grip that mountain goats would nod their heads in approval.
The Polish farm worker who begged, pleaded and near demanded a lift virtually fell out the passenger door and hauled herself to her feet on visibly shaking legs. Without even touching the girl I had given her a knee trembler, but then I had a Cargraphic GT3 RSC 4.0 that stormed to victory in the Tuner Grand Prix – and that kind of helped.
See while Porsche might have claimed they’d done all they could by stripping 20kg out of the GT3 for their own RS, Cargraphic had a different set of priorities and pillaged 120kg from the standard car.
Brother Thomas and Michael Schnarr wanted a racing car with licence plates to dominate the opposition in the annual gathering at Hockenheim and the others knew the writing was on the wall before they even turned up.
Because Cargraphic had won the event the previous two years with an older 996, and with sponsorship from Dunlop and a monumental testing budget they turned up with the 997 this season. It dutifully beat the TechArt GT Street by three seconds to take the win in the GT class, and the invite to drive the car came shortly afterwards. It wasn’t a touch decision…
Loaded with fluids and 90kg of fuel, this machine still weighs in at 1365kg, which is ridiculous. Virtually every panel they could replace with carbon-fibre has gone out the window. The results are carbon-fibre front wings, side sills, doors, mirror housings and more to cut. Every gram thought about, this is a seriously light car, although I would have sacrificed 20kg for the return of the air conditioning and the front wings are so thin the weave of the material shone through on this blisteringly hot day.
They had to keep the standard glass and winding mechanism as per the rules and found that a carbon-fibre bonnet would save just 1.4kg, so didn’t bother fixing it in time for the Tuner Grand Prix. But they’ll make one for you, and every single component on the car is available at a price, bar the engine that was a one-off job by RS Tuning and given the chance to plant it down the straight on Cargraphic’s favourite test road was an eye-opening moment.
Flattening the gas felt like pressing a detonator as the 460bhp beast just took off with a vulpine edge from its heavily tweaked engine that comes with bigger pistons and linings, a new air filter, revamped ECU and a lightweight exhaust that resonates every rev like a binful of angry wasps. RS tuning do Cargraphic’s engine work and did such a good job that the ringing, haunting flat six filled the local vineyards. Even the field hands came out for a look.
They really came out with pitchforks, which was kind of scary for a moment, until the girl asked for a ride and emerged two minutes later with trembling limbs and unrepeatable Polish thanks…
But back to the car, which nails the 62mph mark in 3.9s and by the end of our decent size straight discretion battled with valour as 160mph registered on the clock and the race-tuned suspension began to dance in tune with the road as 7500rpm screamed through the cabin.
A rifle bolt feel short shift gearbox meant it became a matter of pride to nail the downchanges on the way into a sweeping third gear bend where the back goes light and tiptoes round the corner at a speed that would seem frankly impossible on any other day.
And that lightweight body makes the braking point so late that I arrived at the bend apologetically slowly the first few times as belief caught up with the RSC’s innate ability. It reacts and sticks like a GT race car, it’s the best of every world. At the turn-in point, I simply had to suspend disbelief and go for it, so good was this black and yellow peril.
Cargraphic widened the front track as much as the rules allowed, more than 2cm, to allow for a pointier front end. They then went through the painstaking process of getting a Bilstein race suspension through the tough TUV approval process – that’s how much testing went in here. Dunlop tailored its SportMaxx GT tyres to the car, too, presenting Cargraphic with so much grip that mountain goats would nod their heads in approval. The French company put in so much support that the car was painted in their honour.
The Schnarr brothers built the car around Supercup ace Marc Basseng and sliced every sinew of understeer from the 911 chassis.
They took their own unique concoction of Bilstein race suspension with remote dampers and H&R springs through the TUV approval process, fitted a strut brace and the result is a car that corners on rails. Find the prodigious limit of the 9.5x19” fronts and 12.5x19” rears and the back end will swing out, but its deliciously easy to read and will make the average driver look like a hero.
The bodykit is pure bolt on with the ground-scraping front splitter good for 10kg of downforce at 100mph, those wide front wings, side sills and a full-on racing rear wing with the adjustable plane. It all kicks in on the fast and flowing stuff and I was left to wonder just how wise it was to nail through the 270kph mark on public roads. It’s an addictive high, though, as the RSC seems to climb to its toes when pushed hard into a bend and every sinew, every nuance of road surface comes through loud and clear in the tight confines of the race seat.
Cargraphic claims a top end speed of 199mph and all it would take is a following wind to sail through the hallowed 200mph mark. That’s a GT3 that can top the double ton and make even a Carrera GT look like a lead-footed wildebeest in the bends. For the man who has everything this is an essential addition to the garage from one of the more sensitive tuners on the market.
Without events like the Tuner Grand Prix their wares could easily be overshadowed by the huge horsepower Turbos that looked like lumbering oafs in comparison when they ventured on track. Luckily we get an annual reminder of performance through light weight, and I have that reckless blast through a vineyard as reminder of what might just be the best GT3 RS on the road today.
So does that Polish girl, now that her legs have stopped shaking.
Photos by Antony Fraser