The art of PCOTY: oversteering a 911 GT2 RS

Published: 31 December 2010

It might be very childish but I do love a gratuitous oversteer shot. They look great, are loads of fun to do and often tell you a surprising amount about how much confidence you’ve gained after a few hours in a brand new car. If you jump at the chance it’s a sure sign that you like the car in question, if your heart skips a beat just thinking about it then perhaps the chassis still holds plenty of secrets. When it’s suggested we do a sideways shot in a GT2 RS at this year’s PCOTY my heart freezes for about a minute, I feel a bit faint and I want to cry for my mummy. Not because the car isn’t brilliant (I actually loved it in just about every way), but because it’s not really a machine that you deliberately provoke.

A combination of a rear engine and 325-section Michelin Pilot Cup+ tyres makes for a surreal amount of traction. To breach it requires some brutality. And with a huge amount of turbocharged torque to juggle you can’t rely on super-accurate throttle control as you can in, say, a GT3 RS. The photographer chooses an uphill right-hander taken in 2nd gear and hemmed-in by rocks on one side, trees and a big drop to a fiery death on the other. Great. Despite the dread it’s still a thrill to hear the magic ‘all clear’ crackle across the radio from Ben Pulman, select 1st and give it everything. Getting paid to do this in somebody else’s car is ridiculous and wonderful.

Run 1 is a peach. I dive in on the brakes to get all the weight over the front wheels, pin the throttle, the rear wheels spin-up and the engine pops and bangs against the limiter and I ride out a frenzied fast-forward slide. It feels absolutely sensational. The single highpoint of the whole PCOTY test. The photographer, John Wycherley, wants more angle. Hmmm…. And so run 2 begins with a bit more determination and a bit more confidence. Too much speed on the way in equals messy understeer and rather than admit defeat I keep my foot in to get a good prod of slip on the exit. Big mistake. The understeer builds, the turbos really get into their stride and then instantly the RS flicks sideways and onto the lockstops and I’m pointing at that fiery death.

What to do? I decide braking might be a good idea (with ABS cars this is always the best option) and just when I think I’m about to remodel the 911, it bites and spits me the other way. I’m still thanking the big man upstairs when I finally get it pointing straight some 100-yards later. When I turn around and drive back to John he’s laughing. He puts his finger up to signal ‘one more run’. Did the designers use the shot I’d nearly died to make? Well, what do you think…