Marc UrbanoCar and Driver
Lap Time: 2:42.5
Class: LL4 | Base: $206,360 | As Tested: $216,050
Power and Weight: 640 hp • 3637 lb • 5.7 lb/hp
Tires: Pirelli P Zero PZ4, F: 255/35ZR-20 (93Y) NA1 R: 315/30ZR-21 (105Y) NA1
With one exception, the quickest 20 cars at Lightning Lap have one thing in common: track-focused rubber that grabs like rat traps. But this Porsche 911 Turbo S cracked the top 10 with Pirelli P Zero PZ4s, relatively ordinary summer rubber. The last Turbo S we tested at VIR rode on P Zero Corsa PZC4 track tires, but track rubber isn’t being offered yet for the new Turbo, and we run cars the way they’re sold.
The 640-hp twin-turbo 3.7-liter flat-six brings 60 more horses than the last gen’s 3.8-liter. But even knowing this, we weren’t prepared for this level of improvement. The new Turbo smashes expectations by lapping VIR 4.3 seconds faster than the previous Turbo S. The added power equates to higher speeds on the front straight (163.4 mph) and entering the Climbing Esses (143.4 mph), gains of 2.1 and 3.2 mph, respectively, over the last gen. The all-wheel-drive system can route more torque to the front than before, permitting reckless throttle application on corner exits. Even if the rear end steps out, it will fall back in line so long as the front tires are pointed in the right direction. The Turbo S fires off Turn 1 at 82.2 mph, the fastest we’ve ever recorded.
Life behind the 2:42.5 lap is remarkably easy. Rear-axle steering blends with brake-based torque vectoring to keep the Turbo clinging to the fast line while active anti-roll bars keep the body stable in quick transitions. Instant steering reactions and carbon-ceramic rotors boost confidence. Left to shift on its own, the eight-speed dual-clutch automatic calls up the correct gear every time.
Under the stress of VIR’s 24 corners, the Pirellis shriek more than an emo band. Based on experience, we’d guess that track rubber could shave two or three seconds, potentially putting the Turbo S in striking distance of the top five.
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