PORSCHE’S recent launch of the 911 GT2 RS was one of the most hotly anticipated events of the year and Editor Inwood was the man picked to fly to Portugal and attempt to tame the ‘Widowmaker’ at the fearsome Portimao circuit (funny how the boss always gets the good gigs).
As part of the launch, Porsche brought factory test driver, and racing legend Walter Rohrl along. His duties were to pilot the chase car during the event, and take lucky attendees for hot laps of the circuit.
The Portimao track is like Australia’s Phillip Island reimagined for terror. There are long sweeping bends, blind corner entries, and gut churning elevation changes. Attacking it in the 515kW, 750Nm, twin-turbo, rear-drive GT2 RS is quite the challenge.
But as you can see in the video, it’s all a doddle for Mr Rohrl. However, don’t let his calm composure fool you, we can assure that this wasn’t a dawdling weekend drive.
For those unaware of the man behind the wheel’s legendary status, Walter Rohrl is an icon of racing. During his World Rally Championship career he won two titles, 14 rallies, and a staggering 420 stages.
One of his most impressive driving achievements came in 1987, when he became the first person to ascend Pikes Peak in less than 11 minutes in a 440kW Audi Sport Quattro S1.
In 1992 Rohrl was competing in the Nurburgring 24 Hours. During the night the event was hit with heavy fog and rain, but that didn’t stop the German ace, who barely slowed his pace, instead anticipating corners through timing.
Niki Lauda once referred to him as a ‘Genius on Wheels”.
He also has a 24 Hours of Le Mans class victory to his name from 1981 when he shared a Porsche 944 LM with Jurgen Barth.
Enjoy the racing champion doing what he does best behind the wheel of what is likely to become another unforgettable part of Porsche’s rich motoring tapestry. What a union.