ALL TAILS AND TRUE
Creating a whale from a porker: we cane the modern-day Moby Dick up the drive at Goodwood
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)