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The chaps at Porsche have been very busy with secret projects, and one involves a pair of 911-platform cars that have undergone extensive modifications to enable them to thrive in the harshest conditions - at race pace. These test cars have been used to collect data for a possible Porsche 911 Dakar version that may be set to compete in international race competition. The name is a nod to the first time Porsche achieved an overall victory in the iconic Paris-Dakar race way back in 1984. That was the first time the outfit made use of an all-wheel drive setup and likely the inspiration for the models of the future. While Porsche does have its very own expansive proving grounds, the automaker needed to test the off road 911 in some proper real world conditions as seen in the legendary cross-country race. The test cars have now completed over 10 000 kilometres off the usual roads, including the Château de Lastours test track in southern France, a place many Dakar race teams go to test handling and suspension setups. From there testing was carried out in the deserts of Dubai and Morocco to make sure the whole shebang can handle the ridiculous heat at full taps. Cold weather testing was carried out at the usual spot automakers use, Arjeplog in Sweden.

It seems that the Porsche test cars managed to exceed all the expectations and passed all the testing with flying colours impressing just about every well-known Porsche test driver that has ever been involved with the automaker’s racecar testing. “The 911 Dakar delivered a commanding performance even in the desert,” says Frank Moser, Vice President Model Line 911/718. “Especially here, the 911 Dakar can make the most of its conceptual advantages – the combination of low weight, higher ground clearance, a powerful rear-mounted engine and the short wheelbase make for an exhilarating driving experience. I was able to experience it myself on test drives in the Sahara.”

It's amazing what the 911 platform is capable of with the right modifications, the fast streetcar platform can do just about anything possible. We only have one question - didn't anyone tell the teams on this project that there's already an all-wheel drive 4x4 Porsche in the model lineup - the Cayenne. Weird, but someone's gotta spend that R&D budget we guess.

Take a look at the YouTube video that shows the chaps from Porsche putting a heavily modified 911 through it's paces in places that the car should not normally be able to travel. We do quite like how this thing looks and goes, check it out and see if you feel the same: The beginning of an adventure: Pushing the 911 to extremes | Porsche

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