Having started to close in on 60 years, Porsche has been pushing its world-famous sports car to the extremes on road and track, both. This time, they wanted to do something different; perhaps a bit childishly daring, even.
Porsche took two experimental 911s to a place where no roads exist; where the oxygen levels are low, and where it’s so freezing cold, you could have icicles hanging off the edges of your nostrils.
A bold team, led by endurance racer and adventurer, Romain Dumas, had been sent out to explore what the Porsche 911 is truly capable of – and of all the places in the world, they’ve chosen to climb the challenging slopes of Ojos del Salado, Chile – the highest volcano in the world.
The Mission: To Take Two Porsche 911s Up A Volcano
The cars, along with the support and participating team, had set out on this rollicking ride recently. Porsche has reasons to be proud, because the 911 is one of the very few cars in the world to have achieved, or rather, battled its way to extreme altitude.
With Romain behind the wheel, exploring up to 19,708 feet meant he and the car were tasked with the job of taking on scattered gradients and ice fields that ultimately tested the car’s abilities, and that of the team’s in temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius below freezing, and with half the oxygen available in the air, compared to that of sea level.
What proved all the more challenging, were the impassable walls of seasonal snow and ice high up near the summit – and this reflected just how capable a car like the Porsche 911 is, in such conditions. The test is done with for now, and the team is most likely sipping champagne, celebrating this man-and-machine-versus-nature feat.
The Team With The Porsche 911s Pushed Hard
This has been a very significant moment for Porsche, considering the nerves of steel it takes to traverse terrain that is not only beautiful to behold but to an extent, life-threatening as well. It was a great learning curve for the car and the team, and the 911 turned out to be a superhero wearing a cape, roughing it out like a soldier in the cold.
Romain, the driver and the leader of the team said, “We were hard on ourselves and really put it in the deep end for its first test, yet it felt at home. We have enormous respect for those who have gone higher. No one has seen so much ice and snow up towards the top of the volcano, but despite this, we went over 6,000 meters up, to the point where the walls of ice and snow meant we could go no further.”
The car and the team pulled off a swell job, particularly considering this was their first time, going out, or more fittingly, out of the ordinary – and this should mark the beginning of many such adventures in the future.
Building A Porsche 911 The World Hasn’t Seen Before
For the team of engineers, building this car has meant the world to them, and it was all made possible by a select team of engineering enthusiasts. The idea of this adventure is to show the world that, after years of perfecting cars for the track and road, it’s now time to try something different.
These experimental 911s are based on the Type 992 Carrera 4S, powered by a standard turbocharged flat-six engine that pushes out 443hp under standard conditions, paired to a 7-speed manual transmission.
The 911 turned out to be the perfect choice of car for such an adventure, thanks to its strong yet lightweight chassis construction, it’s short wheelbase, power whenever it was needed, and the fact it could deal with such high altitudes should leave Porsche owners starry-eyed.
A Bespoke Porsche 911 For The Climb
Both the experimental 911s had roll cages fitted, plus carbon fiber seats and harnesses to meet all the required safety norms. Portal axles were added to increase ground clearance (350mm on the experimental 911s).
The gear ratios were reset for precise, gentle throttle inputs at low speeds, and it works well with bigger, off-road tires. Both cars feature a special lightweight, but solid Aramid fiber underbody protection to allow sliding over rocks.
A device called the Porsche Warp-Connecter was added as well. Manual, switchable differential locks were used along with an advanced steer-by-wire system, and then a winch was fitted up ahead, plus revised bodywork that made way for the 310mm wide off-road wheels and tires.
The liveries you see are the same Porsche Motorsport color themes that adorn the 963 LMDh racer, while the rest of the 911-themed livery was designed by the folks in Weissach.