If you had any doubts about Matt LeBlanc’s petrolhead credentials, you can rest easy. The new Top Gear presenter owns a Porsche 911 GT2 RS – perhaps the most hardcore version of Porsche’s icon ever to wear number plates. That alone makes him a man of impeccable automotive taste.
You see, a GT2 RS isn’t the sort of sports car you buy simply because you’ve made some cash. You won’t spot Wayne Rooney parking one outside an overpriced nightclub. Former Friends star LeBlanc is estimated to be worth $60million, so he could have any car he chooses. But he told Top Gear co-host Chris Evans the Porsche is his “favourite car to drive”.
Just how hardcore is the GT2 RS? Well, the original 1975 911 Turbo earned the nickname ‘the Widowmaker’ because of its knife-edge handling and propensity for spitting unsuspecting drivers off the road. Porsche finally tamed the Turbo in 1995 with the addition of four-wheel drive. However, the GT2 is essentially a 911 Turbo with even more power and rear-wheel drive.
So, how much (cue Jeremy Clarkson voice) “Powwwwweeeerrrr” are we talking? The 997 GT2 RS that LeBlanc owns develops 620hp – more than double the 260hp of the original 911 (930) Turbo. That’s enough to blast it to 62mph in 3.5 seconds, plus a top speed of 205mph. It also lapped the Top Gear track in 1min 19.5sec – faster than a Ferrari 430 Scuderia and only 1.2sec behind the Bugatti Veyron.
When it was launched in 2010, the GT2 RS was the most powerful road car Porsche had ever built (although it has since been eclipsed by the 918 Spyder). Power comes from a 3.6-litre twin-turbocharged flat six, driving through a six-speed manual gearbox. The ultimate 911 wears track-biased Michelin Cup tyres – great in the dry, worrying in the wet – and has racecar-style ceramic brakes.
Inside, the racing theme continues with hard-shell bucket seats, plenty of Alcantara (man-made suede) and a rollcage. You’ll also find those hallmarks of a no-holds-barred Porsche: fabric door pulls. These probably save less weight than if LeBlanc opted to drive without socks. But every little helps, right?
What the critics say
Confession time: we’ve never driven a GT2 RS. And unless LeBlanc decides to lend us his prized possession, we probably never will. So we’ll have to refer to the opinions of others here.
Ben Pullman of CAR says: “Bury the throttle and it goes bloody nuts, smacks you in the guts and charges forward with awe-inspiring speed.” He goes on caution: “You can go fast, but never, ever kid yourself that you’re in charge.” Andrew Frankel of Autocar calls the GT2 “legalised insanity” and concludes his review by saying: “[This] is one of few experiences you know will lodge in your brain forever. It really is that good.”
However, let’s leave the final word to LeBlanc’s fellow Top Gear presenter, Chris Harris. Writing for EVO, he said: “I saw 334kph (206mph) on the speedo, and it was still pulling like a mentalist … Veyron aside, it’s the fastest road car I’ve driven.” Matt LeBlanc: we salute you.