While Porsche released the oddly cool 911 Dakar at the end of last year, the cars used in this mission to set a World Record for being the highest car driven at altitude were different. Sort of. The pair of extensively modified 992 series Porsche 911s were actually part of the development of the Dakar’s development. The cars, nicknamed Doris and Edith, were developed by RD Limited in collaboration with Porsche and feature carbon fibre seats, 5-point harnesses, portal axles to increase ground clearance to 350 mm and special lightweight but extremely tough Aramid fibre underbody protection. The lead car also featured steer-by-wire developed and provided by Schaeffler Group. The system is called Space Drive and is capable of meeting the extreme demands of the volcano and the terrain. The record was achieved by 3-time Le Mans champion Romain Dumas in the lighter and more agile of the two cars, Edith. “I’ll never forget this experience. It was an extraordinary feeling to drive where no car has gone before,” said Romain Dumas shortly after his descent from the volcano. “The 911 managed to go higher than any other earthbound vehicle in history. We reached a point where we were met by the true summit of the west ridge - we could go no higher. So this really was the maximum altitude that can be achieved. A proud moment for the whole team – and we’re grateful for the support and belief of all of our partners, each of whom made this possible.” The air at altitude was only about half as dense as at sea level and temperatures hovered around 20 degrees below freezing, but the team expected that because this expedition marked a return for the car and the team to the Ojos del Salado volcano, having visited in 2022 for an exploratory run. That time they reached just above 6,000 metres.
The team encountered relatively little snow this time around, but it was still tough finding a path through the boulder fields. The 911 traversed the deep gravel and volcanic ash that forms the slopes, thanks to the brilliant all-wheel-drive system and the Warp Connector that allowed grip to be maintained. The push for the summit occurred on Saturday, 2 December with the team setting off at 03:30 local time. At 15:58, the summit and the end of the journey had been reached at an altitude of an amazing 6.734 metres above sea level. No car has ever gone higher. The team enjoyed the incredible view for a moment, taking a photograph to mark the occasion before carefully starting their descent with the same precision and caution as the ascent – arriving at their base camp over a thousand meters below the summit the following day. Edith had some new scars and a layer of thick volcanic dust but was otherwise ready to do the summit again if anyone had the time and energy.
“Congratulations to the whole team – a remarkable and inspiring achievement,” said Dr. Frank Walliser, Vice President of Complete Vehicle Architecture and Characteristics at Porsche AG. “This project began as a ‘what if’ and I’m so proud to work for a company that really believes in pushing the boundaries and learning by exploring. The two 911 models that were used on this expedition were powered by eFuels, which are produced in the HIF pilot planned “Haru Oni in Punta Arenas, which was initiated by us, and are blended per the currently applicable fuel regulations afterwards.”
“We’re thrilled by this result, and to have been part of this close and passionate team working on such a special project,” said Clara Bowman, COO, HIF Global. “This is an emphatic demonstration of the capability of HIF Global synthetic eFuels, performing in the most extreme and demanding conditions imaginable. To set a new record after so long is an awesome achievement.”
Take a look at the YouTube video that shows one of a pair of modified Porsche 911 (992 series) cars set a new World Record for the highest altitude that any car has ever driven at. Oddly, this wasn't done with a new Porsche 911 Dakar, this was basically one of the cars used for the development of the Dakar itself: Porsche 911 Achieves New Altitude World Record | Planet Car New
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