Porsche pushes the Porsche 911 to extremes and tests the pair of experimental sports cars on the sheer slopes of Ojos del Salado, Chile, the highest volcano in the world. A team, led by endurance racer and adventurer Romain Dumas, explores the limits of the 911 – one of the very few vehicles of any kind to have ever reached such an extreme altitude.
Exploring up to 19,708 feet, the 911 driven by Romain Dumas tested the abilities of both the car and the team in temperatures approaching 30 degrees Celsius below freezing and with half the available oxygen in the air compared to at sea level. Walls of seasonal snow and ice high up near the summit served as the upper limits of the test.
Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice-President, Complete Vehicle Architecture and Characteristics at Porsche AG, commissioned his chief engineer for the Porsche 911, Michael Rösler, with the project.
Rach Porsche 911 car is the Carrera 4S fitted with a factory standard turbocharged flat-six engine developing 443 hp under standard conditions and the original seven-speed manual transmission. The 911 features a mix of robust yet lightweight chassis construction, a short wheelbase, ample power and can conquer extremely high altitudes. From this starting point, the engineers at Porsche’s research and development base in Weissach, near Stuttgart, working closely with Romain Dumas Motorsport, then let their combined creativity run wild as they worked to prepare it for the specific demands of the mountain.
The two cars were first fitted with roll cages, carbon fiber seats and harnesses to be safe enough. Portal axles help to increase ground clearance (now 350 mm). New, lower gear ratios allow for precise, gentle throttle inputs at low speed and work well with large, newly fitted off-road tires. The cars are equipped with unique lightweight, but extremely tough, Aramid fiber underbody protection to allow sliding over rocks.
A device called the Porsche Warp-Connecter, which was originally designed for motorsport applications, was added. It forms a mechanical link between all four wheels to allow constant wheel load even when the chassis is enduring extreme articulation.
Manual, switchable differential locks were utilized along with an advanced steer-by-wire system. A winch was added at the front of the car along with revised bodywork to allow clearance for the 310 mm wide off-road wheels and tires. The cooling system also needed to move upward to enable the car to conquer more extreme off-road sections without fear of damage.
The bodywork was finished in two distinctive liveries – one featuring the same Porsche Motorsport color scheme decorating the 963 LMDh racer and a second 911-themed livery designed by the styling team in Weissach.
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