For months, if not years, the future launch of an off-road-oriented Porsche 911 has been well-foundedly rumored. Although it seems a contradiction in itself, we must remember the legacy of the Zuffenhausen brand in the world of rallying, in addition to the fact that the Porsche 959 was crowned in the gargantuan Dakar in the mid-1980s. In the middle of 2022, and maybe thinking about that future 911 Safari, or 911 DakarPorsche has just created two experimental 911s with which it has climbed the highest volcano in the world.
The volcano in question is Ojos del Salado and is in Chile. Vehicles such as specially prepared Mercedes Unimogs have climbed this volcano, and now, two experimental Porsche 911s, which have reached the 6,007 meters of altitude. At this altitude, no plant life survives and temperatures are frigid, and there is very little oxygen in the atmosphere. The Porsche team has been led by Romain Dumas, which has taken cars to the physical limit of their possibilities. How are these Porsche 911 so special?
They were unable to climb to higher altitudes because of ice and snow.
The point of origin of these vehicles were two Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, equipped with all-wheel drive and 3.0 biturbo boxer engines with 450 hp. The units are equipped with a seven-speed manual gearbox and have been profoundly modified. They were created between the Porsche development center in Weissach and Romain Dumas Motorsport. First of all, roll cages, carbon fiber seats and harnesses were fitted to ensure the safety of the pilots in the environment where they would operate.
Perhaps the most striking modification has been the installation of portal axles, in order to increase ground clearance. These portal axles – present in cars such as the “squared” Mercedes G-Class 4×4 or a Unimog – are accompanied by very generously sized off-road tires. The result are 350mm ground clearance. A huge number. To accommodate the massive tires and portal-type axles, Porsche has had to install tremendously flared wheel arches, giving the car a dramatic look.
One of the units has been painted as the Porsche 963 LMDh, and another, in a livery designed by its development team.
The bottoms have been faired with aramid to avoid problems when driving on rocks. But the modifications do not end here. Gearbox developments have been shortened and manual locks have been installed on all three vehicle differentials. The steering is now of the “by-wire” type – for unspecified reasons possibly having to do with the packaging of the modifications – and Porsche has installed a “Warp-Connecter”. In silver, a mechanical link between the four wheels of the car to ensure complete transverse and longitudinal stability.
The cooling system was moved so that the most extreme sections were safe, and a winch was installed so that the car could get out of the most problematic jams. This pair of Porsche 911 is impressive, and in a way, it is the quasi-official confirmation that the 992 will be the basis for the first production Porsche 911 with off-road capabilities. That 911 Safari or 911 Dakar may arrive in 2023, and when it does, creating these two experimental 911s will have made all the sense in the world.