*No matter how much horsepower is forced through the wheels, weight is still a crucial factor. Cargraphic has proved that point at the Tuner Grand Prix for three years running, with David-and-Goliath analogies flying thick and fast as it overpowers cars with 200 hp more.
Yet this has been no lucky shot with a sling, but a wolf taking down a deer, as our drive of perhaps the world's most finely balanced GT3-the Cargraphic GT3 RSC 4.0, to coin its full name-proves to devastating effect.
As Cargraphic takes us to a favorite test road, everyone-from grannies to schoolkids-turns their heads in awe at this black-and-yellow, 460-hp beast buzzing through town. A single-mass flywheel sends the revs whipping angrily around the dial at the merest nudge on the gas. Stalling this thing in town would be more than embarrassing.
Flattening the accelerator feels like pressing a detonator. The car just takes off with a lycanthropic edge from its heavily tweaked engine: bigger pistons and linings, a new air filter, revamped ECU and a lightweight exhaust that resonates every rev like a cathedral. The ringing flat-six fills the local vineyards and even the field hands come out for a look; carrying pitchforks, kind of scary for a moment.
Back to the car, which nails 62 mph in 3.9 seconds and, by the end of our straight, discretion battles with valor as 260 kph (161 mph) registers on the clock. The race-tuned suspension begins to dance in tune with the road and 7500 rpm screams through the cabin. A 35-percent shorter shift mechanism gives a rifle-bolt feel to the gearbox while the lightweight body makes stabbing the middle pedal akin to hitting a wall.
There's no doubting the top speed of 199 mph-all it would take is a following wind to sail through 200 mph. A GT3 that can stay with a Carrera GT in a straight line and pick it apart through the bends. Because this car is 260 pounds lighter than Porsche's race-prepped GT3 RS.
Porsche is rightly proud of its commitment to lightness, but Cargraphic has introduced carbon-fiber front wings, side sills, doors and more, cutting weight to just 3000 pounds-including a full tank of fuel.
Those front wings are so thin, the sun's rays reveal the weave. Thicker versions will be offered for production purposes. The cockpit is a bizarre blend of full racing set-up, including bucket seats and carbon door cards, with the road-car luxury of a full dashboard.
Cargraphic had to keep the standard glass and found that a carbon-fiber hood would save only three pounds, so left it alone. But the front track is widened as much as the rules permit (about 0.78 of an inch) to allow for a grippier front end and specially developed Dunlop SportMaxx GT tires.
Cargraphic took its own concoction of Bilstein race suspension with remote dampers and H&R springs through the TV approval process, fitted a strut brace and the result is a car with prodigious cornering ability. Find the light-years-away limit of the 9.5x19 fronts and 12.5x19 rears and the back end will swing out, but it's deliciously easy to read and will make the average RS driver look like a hero-not just former Supercup stars, like Marc Basseng, who drive at the Tuner Grand Prix.
The pedals are perfectly set up for heel-toe downchanges, the Alcantara-covered racing wheel perfectly weighted, and the chassis poised and ready to hold the bend. It's a brutally honest, simple car-a GT3 RSR for the road. A few hours in its company could never be enough to fully explore its potential.
It scythes into faster turns while a slight sideways attitude out of the slower corners shows it can arc through bends with little help from the man at the wheel. It's almost perfectly balanced.
To see it pushed to its limits, on a track, in professional hands, is a beautiful thing.
Once again, the GT3 RSC 4.0 decimated Turbos to the tune of three seconds around Hockenheim-the wolf picking the deer clean.
To get one one just like it, it'll cost more than $273,000 and your GT3 RSC 4.0 will cross the line to become a pure track weapon. But then it will run rings around cars with hundreds of horsepower more and could just be the most focused street-legal GT3 in the world.