Cre­at­ing a whale from a porker: we cane the mod­ern-day Moby Dick up the drive at Good­wood

Wheels (Australia) - - Contents -

WE’VE A LOT of time in the 935, only not so much time to ac­tu­ally drive it in anger. We’re at the Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed, so there are 150,000 sets of eyes watch­ing cars run up the short, tight and sur­pris­ingly chal­leng­ing hill­climb. There’s a lot of hurry up and wait, then, as the 935 is shuf­fled down to­wards the start in a gazz­il­lion-dol­lar traf­fic jam.

Still, that gives us a lot of time to take in the en­vi­ron­ment, which, thank­fully given I’m in a black race suit, hel­met and gloves, re­tains the road car’s a/c. In front of me there’s a pis­tol-grip steer­ing wheel, a pair of ana­logue di­als, one be­ing a stop­watch, the other a boost gauge be­tween which re­sides a dig­i­tal read screen with the 935’s vi­tals on it. A cage that would trou­ble King Kong criss-crosses the in­te­rior, while there’s web net­ting ei­ther side of the seat to hold in flail­ing arms should we get it wrong and hit the size­able hay bales that line the Good­wood hill­climb. Let’s hope we’ll not be need­ing those.

Throw in a smat­ter­ing of but­tons and di­als re­lat­ing to trac­tion and sta­bil­ity sys­tems, the ABS in­ter­ven­tion and brake bal­ance and that’s about it. They all re­quire fa­mil­iar­ity with the 935 that we’ll not be get­ting to­day, so we’ll just leave them well alone. There are cold, new, slick tyres, too, just to add to the pres­sure. Oh, and that 515kw out­put.

We’ve driven the GT2 RS be­fore so we’ve some idea of what to ex­pect, star­tling ac­cel­er­a­tion be­ing a cer­tainty. Even so, the way that the 935 hooks up and takes off is next level. That’s with­out re­sort­ing to the launch con­trol, which in this one-of-one pre-series 935 isn’t work­ing.

The flat-six makes its pres­ence felt more than through the bru­tal phys­i­cal­ity of the force with which it’s pro­pel­ling the 935 for­ward. No, the stripped cabin is filled with hard, light ma­te­ri­als that only in­ten­sify the fe­ro­cious sound from the en­gine as it ric­o­chets and res­onates around the fo­cused in­te­rior. The first ra­tio of the dual-clutch gear­box is de­voured quickly be­fore I’m flick­ing the pad­dle and the next gear’s fired through, all with­out any let-up in the re­lent­less ac­cel­er­a­tion. Then there’s a corner which I brake too early for, the mas­sive six-pis­ton alu­minium monoblock calipers up front grab­bing 380mm steel discs and re­mov­ing speed as bru­tally as the en­gine pro­duces it.

There’s a bit of push-on un­der­steer – hardly sur­pris­ing given those still cold slicks – but the im­me­di­acy, con­trol and de­tailed in­for­ma­tion that’s on of­fers is ob­vi­ous. Back on the ac­cel­er­a­tor and the en­gine does its thing again, gen­er­at­ing eye-widen­ing ac­cel­er­a­tion; some­thing that’s true in the road car, only here shift­ing less mass and with more in­tent. That en­gine is un­changed, save for some slight map­ping re­vi­sions, though there’s now a 20-litre tank (over the stan­dard car’s 5.0-litre reser­voir) for the dis­tilled wa­ter that feeds the trick wa­ter-in­jec­tion system – the ex­pec­ta­tion be­ing that it’ll be run­ning hot­ter, harder and for longer.

With lit­tle over a minute driv­ing, we’re not about to tell you that we felt the ad­di­tional down­force that wild body­work pro­duces, nor can we tell you with con­vic­tion what it’s like at the limit. No, that would re­quire a track and a lot of time, both of which the 77 own­ers will have. What we can as­cer­tain from our brief but tan­ta­lis­ing ex­pe­ri­ence of the 935 is that those lucky own­ers would be mad to se­crete this spe­cial ma­chine away in a col­lec­tion, un­used. In­deed, if they want any­one to come and do some shake­down laps, or scrub in some slicks, they know where we are…

Global auto sup­plier GKN is al­ready man­u­fac­tur­ing a two-speed trans­mis­sion it calls the eaxle, which is, in part, re­spon­si­ble for the daz­zling per­for­mance of the Porsche 918 Spy­der and BMW i8. But with the po­ten­tial to drive a greater num­ber of mass-mar­ket cars, the unit cost of ZF’S trans­mis­sion will plum­met.

Model Porsche 935 En­gine 3800cc flat-6, dohc, 24v, twin-turbo Max power 515kw @ 7000rpm Max torque 750Nm @ 2500rpm Trans­mis­sion 7-speed dual-clutch Weight 1420kg 0-100km/h 2.8sec (claimed) Econ­omy 11.8L/100km Price €701,948 (ap­prox A$1.2m) On sale Now (sold out)

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