BOXSTER AND CAYMAN COULD BE CANCELLED
Porsche reportedly thinking the unthinkable as auto industry trends conspire againstmid-engined sports car line
The current 718 Boxster and Cayman could be the last of their kind. Porsche may not replace its mid-engine sports car line with new models. So says senior industry observer Georg Kacher in the latest edition of Automobile magazine.
With sales of compact sports cars reportedly in sharp decline worldwide, Porsche has been forced to think the unthinkable and consider cancelling the midengine pairing at the end of its current life cycle. Other options include releasing an update of the current car, a new pure-electric sports car derived from Mission E technology or pairing with sister brand Audi to spread the cost of developing an all-new model.
From the beginning, of course, the Boxster has been closely related to the 911, sharing much of its platform, body, interior and engine architecture with its more illustrious sibling. As subsequent generations have emerged, Porsche has invested ever more effort in distancing the two model lines with bespoke body and cabin parts. With the latest 718 generation, the gap grew even larger as the mid-engine pairing adopted its own four-cylinder engine in place of the M96, M97 and MA1 flat-six motors that were previously shared across all of Porsche’s mainstream sports cars.
However, even the 718 sits on the same platform and shares much of its core architecture with the current secondgeneration Type-991 911. That makes the 718 a relatively expensive car for Porsche to produce given that it sells at a much lower price point than the 911. Meanwhile, Porsche is also expected to be forced, eventually, to move the 911 onto a shared VW Group architecture, the aim being economies-ofscale benefits alongside premium large sports cars from other group brands including Audi.
At that point, the physical connection between the Cayster and the 911 would be severed and the mid-engine model would become dramatically less viable as a standalone product line. Factor in dwindling demand for compact sports cars and it’s
not hard to see why Porsche would be giving serious thought to cancelling the Boxster and Cayman altogether.
Doubts over the Cayster’s future come as the challenges to Porsche’s broader sports car business continue to mount. Meeting upcoming requirements for particulate filters and reducing NOX emissions to comply with new real-world emissions tests pose a serious problem if Porsche is to continue to improve performance. New noise regulations will likewise only mean it will be harder for Porsche to make its sports cars ever more dynamic and emotional while maintaining compliance with regulations.
At the same time, the car industry generally is gearing up for a major shift towards electrification and self-driving technology. Add in the aforementioned new emissions regime that has emerged in response to the so-called Dieselgate scandal that afflicted the VW Group, along with the meteoric rise in popularity of SUVS and crossovers, and what seems like a drastic measure – cancelling the Boxster and Cayman – may be a bit of a no brainer, at least in hard nosed commercial terms.
Iconic racing driver and Formula 1 veteran Dan Gurney has passed away. Gurney died on January 14, 2018 at the age of 86. As it happens, Porsche owes its only success as a vehicle manufacturer in the Formula 1 World Championship to Gurney, who won the 1962 French Grand Prix in Rouen in an eight-cylinder Porsche 804.
Driving appearances for Porsche in 1961 and 1962 would leave lasting memories. As Gurney once reflected, “it was with Porsche that I really learned how to drive, because they gave me cars that didn’t constantly break down and I could lay down the kilometres faster than ever before.”
Gurney was considered to be an all-round talent in the field of motorsport. The American enjoyed significant success throughout his career and was the first driver to win races in Formula 1, NASCAR and the Indycar Series, as well as sports car races, including with his own team.
Gurney is also known for the eponymous aero appendage or ‘Gurney flap’, a small tab on the trailing edge of an aerofoil or wing that both improves downforce and reduces drag. It was Gurney that innovated the flap and first fitted it to a race car in 1971. By then Gurney had graduated to team owner and car designer. Gurney is also said to be the first race driver to spray champagne on the podium, inadvertently starting a tradition that is now imitated all around the world.
Porsche also helped Gurney find lifelong happiness in his private life in the 1960s when he married his wife Evi, the former German motor sports journalist and secretary to the Porsche Racing Manager Huschke von Hanstein.