Hagerty Video: Driving The Dragon: Porsche GT4 RS + 318 Turns in 11 Miles | Henry Catchpole – The Driver’s Seat

Driving The Dragon: Porsche GT4 RS + 318 Turns in 11 Miles | Henry Catchpole - The Driver's Seat

Posted: 2023-05-24 15:00:23
Author: Hagerty
In this episode of The Driver’s Seat, Henry Catchpole visits a famous road that has always fascinated him – the incredible Tail of the Dragon. It’s obviously not a race track, but it has some of the mystique and atmosphere of the Nurburgring Nordschleife when you rock up in the car park at the weekend. You might see anything from a modded Honda Civic Type-R to a Carrera GT and everyone is there because they have petrol running through their veins.

However, away from The Tail of the Dragon, Catchpole finds that there is much, MUCH more to explore in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. In fact this might just be the greatest, most extensive collection of driving roads in the world, with incredible stretches of asphalt scattered all over this amazing, densely forested area.

Of course a great driver’s road needs a great driver’s car and they don’t get much better than the Porsche Cayman GT4 RS. With the naturally aspirated engine from the 911 GT3 mounted in the middle of the car it is an absolute joy to drive. In fact the only thing that sounds better than one of these engines revving to 9000rpm is two of them. Or three. Or four. Which is what happened when we met up with some of the cars from Smokies GT.

Everything from a 993 RS to a well used 996 GT3 to a PTS 992 GT3 was there and it was wonderful to duck and dive with the cambers, watching the wings and hearing the howls. There was even time to stop and brew coffee on the rear wing of a 997 GT3. All in the name of raising money for the battle against Cystic Fibrosis.

We hope you enjoy the episode. Let us know if there are any other places in the USA (or anywhere else on the planet) that you’d like us to visit in our continuing quest to find the greatest driving roads in the world. And if you’re in the US and you haven’t done so already, please do think about joining the Hagerty Drivers Club – not only is it great, it also helps us to keep making videos like this! https://bit.ly/Join-HDC-Henry

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Like what you see? Watch our other series including:
Redline Rebuilds | Time-lapse engine rebuilds from start to finish http://bit.ly/RedlineRebuild
Barn Find Hunter | Tom Cotter searches the country for abandoned cars http://bit.ly/BarnFIndHunter
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Revelations | Untold Stories About Automotive Legends with Jason Cammisa

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Hagerty Video Transcript

The road Waits quiet still the often sung yet absolutely essential partner we all love cars we lust over the looks we fawn over the figures and sugar and the sounds but even the best cannot reach a Zenith without somewhere to move and the best will bring out the best so the finest

Roads are definitely worth seeking all right these are the spectacular Blue Ridge Mountains rising to over 2 000 meters or six and a half thousand feet yet despite their height the climate in this part of the United States of America means there is no tree line no tundra-like top to

The Peaks the result a belt of beautiful unbroken Forest sitting north of Atlanta South of Knoxville west of Charlotte and east of Chattanooga I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many trees it’s quite extraordinary just as far as the eye can see it’s just beautiful and to contrast the fresh greens we have a guards red Porsche a gt4rs no less the Cayman finally Unleashed with the gt3’s 4-liter naturally aspirated flat six

Producing 493 rake horsepower and 332 pounds footed torque Of the GT4 RS just seems to thrive on this sort of Road the perfect size rotates so beautifully and the perfect accomplishment with that engine Getting into this car and seeing that rev counter that goes all the way around to 10 the fact this route to nine tomorrow what’s inside Everybody Welcome front end I always think like a set of 996 generation 911 perhap s we’ve got the Magnesium wheels on this visag pack car because he just helps with the right quality the ball jointed suspension in the RS is undoubtedly at the firmer end of the

Spectrum but on these roads at least it certainly didn’t feel uncomfortable or crashing as long as you left it in the less sporty of the puzzle settings however it’s worth pointing out that the Magnesium Wheels aren’t the only optional extras saving unsprung Mass on this particular car big 410 millimeter optional carbon

Ceramic brakes on this really help me on the way down the hill look at this stuff it into that vent feel the camber just bleed grip back up through the car just flows so well love it through this tunnel tunnel magical something else that I really love doing

In this car is using this shifter you can use it like you would in a car with a sequential box pulling back to go up and then punching forward to go down through the Gaze and to me it just adds so much more it’s so much better than using the

Paddles Which actually I’ll find just a little bit of a stretch somehow it’s not a manual but it’s the next best thing I particularly love about some of these smaller roads in particular other campers and the corners so it reminds me of what mountain biking on a really good trail where you can

Just stuff the nose of the car into the vents It also reminds me very much of Corsica those fabulous shots you can turn a course of rally cars dancing down the roads [Applause] And there is one Road in this area that is more cambered and more famous than all the others the tale of the Dragon there are 318 Corners in its 11 Mile length and as that suggests it is tight and testing and keeps you busier than a NASCAR pit stop

Stretch of tarmac that always comes up in lists of the best roads speak to people in the area and it feels like they will always ask if you’ve been there before saying that it’s crowded and there are better roads nearby but if you’re in the vicinity then you have to visit

During peak times is undoubtedly teeming with traffic but when we went back in the evening there was an exciting slightly underground almost Japanese togue vibe to it I loved it it’s a betterkin to the Nurburgring launch life in that it feels like some people love

To hate the tale of the Dragon but as soon as you go there you can’t help but be excited by the atmosphere and all the weird and wonderful cars that have turned up before you know it you’re walking out of a gift shop with a sticker and a cap

But as much as you should visit the tale of the Dragon you certainly shouldn’t limit yourself to it on some of these it’s much more flowing it’s it’s much better surface really as well it’s just a little bit wider as well and the views are spectacular whereas

Some of the other roads you’re down in amongst the trees and you just sort of concentrating totally on the way the sort of double yellow lines weave their way out ahead of you up here you’ve got a bit more time to appreciate Where You Are just think the color is an awesome must

Be just fabulous this car has so many levels to it as well because although it’s obviously in some ways can pretty much be all about that 9000 RPM Red Line the thing about this engine which of course we’ve known from the GT3 is that it’s got character all the way through

The Rev range and of course because it’s naturally aspirated and because we’ve got these amazing intakes just up here every time you crank the throttle whether you’re high up in the revs or not you kept the most fabulous noise some people have said that oh it’s a bit

Too noisy but I really don’t think it is I’ve done a lot of miles in this now and I just don’t think it is too noisy at all it’s an RS for crying out loud and it really does cry out loud but in such a good way

I’ve driven over on the west coast of America quite a lot the wonderful Canyons up there that sort of thing but this is really equally good and it just seems to go on for miles and miles and miles there’s so much to explore up and it’s a completely different feel

The sheer proliferation of roads in the Blue Ridge Mountains marks it out as somewhere that is up there with the very best places in the world to drive you could probably go for days and days without your tires touching the same stretch of tarmac pick the right time

And it feels like you can have the place pretty much to yourself too on the other hand if you pick the right time then you might just find you’ve got the perfect company this is just a small part of the Smokies GT Gathering the biggest assemblage of Porsche GT cars in the world

It’s all for charity and a friendlier group you couldn’t wish to meet with the full spectrum in attendance from the 996 with XTC dampers to a pts bronze gold 992 spending a few miles with them was Bliss I don’t know what the official collective noun for flat sixes is a yell

Or a howl or perhaps simply a family but whatever it is this was the epitome but as always after the last car has left the road remains quiet still waiting to be explored anew but wonderful in its own right