Porsche wanted to conquer Ojos Del Salado, the highest volcano in the world, with the strongest 911. The team was only stopped by an ice wall at an altitude of 6,007 meters.
Along with Ojos Del Salado, the world’s highest volcano in Chile, it is almost identical to Watzmann from the musical epic of the same name by Ambros/Tauchen/Prokopetz. “Up you have to … Da Berg I have to be under each other.” Everyone wants to climb the volcano and, if possible, set a new world height record.
Now it was Porsche’s turn. Armed with a heavily modified Porsche 911 and in collaboration with the RD Limited team of three-time Le Mans winner Romain Dumas, the Swabians set off on their journey to the volcano. The Porsche 911 concept already has all-wheel drive as an option, it has also won in Dakar before and has proven itself in many rallies, but a major intervention was necessary for the volcano car.
Portal axles and XXL wheels
Two emergency cars based on the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S were built. In addition to the 450 hp output, all-wheel drive comes as standard. Short intervals also provide good conditions for off-road use. The three-liter boxer remained unchanged, the seven-speed manual transmission was given a short translation. Reforms were also made in other areas. A large cage and bucket seats with special seat belts ensure the safety of passengers. The conversion to gate axles, which give the 911 a minimum ground clearance of 350 millimeters, is particularly bad. BF Goodrich off-road tires ensure adequate traction. A lower cover made of aramid fibers protects the sensitive storage technology. A technical highlight is the Porsche Warp Linkage, which was originally developed for motorsport use. This enables the connection between all four wheels so that the axle loads remain as stable as possible, even if they are spinning a lot, and therefore the best traction is guaranteed. In addition, engineers installed separate manual locks and a drive-by-wire system.
The body of the two 911 has been changed significantly. On the one hand, allowing 310 mm wide road tires enough clearance in the wheel arches, on the other hand, to be able to connect the cable winch in front. The radiators have been moved from the front to the upper rear area to protect them from damage in extreme conditions. One of the two cars has the appearance of a Porsche 963 LMDh racing car. The appearance of the second car was created by the Porsche Style Team in Weissach.
Ice fields slow down the 911
The team planned to climb the last weekend in October. With Romain Dumas at the wheel, the 911 crossed steep slopes and ice fields that required all the skills of the car and the team. The temperature was below 30 degrees Celsius, the oxygen level in the air was only half that of sea level. The trip was stopped at an altitude of 6,007 meters by impassable walls of ice and snow. A new total height record was not possible for the 911, but never before has a Porsche reached such a height on its own wheels.
“It was an unforgettable and unique moment in this place, which is beautiful and merciless. Only the planes were higher than us today. From the first meter, the 911 felt strong and fast. We did not take it easy and it demands everything from the car ,” says Porsche company driver Romain Dumas, who also served as RD Limited team principal. “Our honor goes to all those who have been more successful in the past.”
No, 911 is only for the road.
Porsche is about to present a special 911 Dakar series. Attempting to climb the world’s highest volcano with highly modified 911s is perfect for this. At 6,007 meters, however, it was higher. Not a perfect record, but a record high for Porsche.