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Porsche 911 Hybrid Launch Imminent

Porsche 911 Hybrid Launch Imminent

Porsche has shared pictures of its new 911 Hybrid (992.2) being tested in the sands of Dubai and at the Nürburgring, where it took almost 9 seconds off the lap time of what I guess may be the 992.1 Carrera. That sounds pretty impressive – I wonder what the cost per second will work out to when the list price is revealed.

Porsche Hybrid Nürburgring Test

Over the course of performance testing, Porsche brand ambassador Jörg Bergmeister completed a lap of the circuit in 7:16.934 minutes – 8.7 seconds faster than the corresponding version of the predecessor model. The test car was equipped with standard road tyres, plus the aero kit with a fixed rear wing that has been available as an option for several model generations now, and which provides increased downforce at high speeds.

“The new 911 has become considerably faster on the track,” says Bergmeister. “We have more grip, significantly more power, and the spontaneous response of the performance hybrid is a great advantage.”

Porsche 911 Hybrid Techical Specification

The obvious question is what sort of system is Porsche using in the 911 Hybrid but there is little detail about this in Porsche press land. Writing for Car and Driver this year, the well connected journalist Georg Kacher said that the lightweight c.27-kilo system would likely be Rimac designed (the EV company that Porsche has a 45% stake in) and feature a 400v electrical system with an integrated starter-generator, an 80-90hp electric motor driving the front wheels and a 2kWh battery recharged by the engine and regenerative braking. We will have to wait and see what the system actually looks like in practice.

When is a Hybrid not a Hybrid

A recent trip to Brescia in Italy to inspect an old 911 race car saw me renting my third Fiat Panda/500 hybrid in Italy in under 12 months (see above). Badged as a Hybrid, the car basically has a bigger alternator and a miniscule battery that cannot drive the car but helps the stop-start work recharge quicker. It makes the cars eligible for low emission/ZTL zones in the old towns, and the Panda’s economy was good over 200kms but it is hardly what one would seriously call a hybrid drivetrain. I’m looking forward to seing what Porsche’s first part-electric 911 looks like.

Five Million Kilometres of Testing

“We left nothing to chance during development and tested the new 911 under all sorts of conditions all over the world,” said Frank Moser, Vice President Model Line 911 and 718. “From the freezing cold to scorching heat, as was the case during the final stages of testing in Dubai. Whether at a high drivetrain load in the demanding conditions of mountain passes or in the stop-and-go traffic of an urban environment, the new 911 has mastered even the most difficult challenges with aplomb. All in all, our engineers and test drivers clocked up more than five million kilometres of development driving.”

Hybrid drivetrains are leading the way in the transition from oil to electric. Auto Trader recently announced that one in five used cars next year would be an EV and the market is taking its time to adopt them for various reasons including higher purchase price, perceived safety concerns, practicality of longer range driving and long term reliability and maintenance costs. Leading with the 911 hybrid drivetrain rather an introducing a full EV version obviously makes the most sense, but the idea of a full EV 911 with lightweight batteries and what that might do for Nurburgring lap times is also an enticing prospect. We might expect that in the 2030 998, says Kacher.

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Ferdinand Magazine is the personal blog of John Glynn, a writer, classic car and motorcycle valuations expert and court expert witness. To explore and enjoy more of my work, and to support the Ferdinand Porsche blog, you can:

Sebastian Vettel tests the Porsche 963

Sebastian Vettel tests the Porsche 963

Porsche has announced that four-time F1 champion, Sebastian Vettel, will test the Porsche 963 hypercar as part of a 36-hour test for Porsche Penske Motorsport ahead of the 2024 Le Mans 24 Hours.

The 36 year-old from Heppenheim, which is about 90 miles north-west of Stuttgart, has prepared for the test by meeting the team at its Mannheim base on March 14th and doing some miles on the sim the following day. Yesterday was his first real-life run in the physical car on track at Weissach – one of few times he has driven a race car with a roof.

Vettel excited ahead of the test

“I’m looking forward to testing the Porsche 963,” said Sebastian. “I’ve always followed other racing series and my curiosity for endurance events encouraged me to just give it a shot. I already got the chance to get a feel for the car during a rollout in Weissach, and I’m excited about the long run in Aragón.

“I’m looking forward to my time behind the wheel. It’ll definitely take an adjustment and some getting used to but everyone in the team is very open and helps me. This will be a new experience for me. We will then see what happens next in this respect – at the moment there are no further plans for the future.”

Alongside Sebastian for the test at the 3.3-mile Aragón circuit in north east Spain will be works drivers Matt Campbell, Michael Christensen, Fred Makowiecki, Kévin Estre, André Lotterer and Laurens Vanthoor. The endurance test serves as preparation for the highlight of the season in Le Mans on 15/16 June. As the record holder, Porsche aims to secure its 20th outright victory at the Circuit des 24 Heures.

Porsche has had good fortune putting successful F1 drivers including Mark Webber and Nico Hulkenberg in its cars, but no Germans of late (not that there are many to choose from – although German-born Lotterrer did have a run out with Caterham in 2014), so a tie up with Vettel is excellent news. It is exciting on many levels, not least of which is the return of a potentially competitive Sebastian against his somewhat subdued F1 exit following two years with the Aston Martin Grand Prix team, now newly reinvigorated with Fernando Alonso on board.

It’s funny that, at 35, Vettel was seen as an elder in F1 where he eventually gained a reputation for being particularly empathetic towards young drivers, encouraging the highly competitive driver field to embody their emotions more deeply. “You cannot always be the best. But you can do your best,” as Vettel puts it.

I like the idea of this new-Seb personality integrated with some Porsche brand communications; the concept has a potential softness and emotionally considerate tone that I often think carmakers lack. I hope they take advantage of his genuine and caring nature as well as reawakening our awareness of his speed – that could lead to some very exciting storytelling and hopefully some race-winning history too.

Vettel is famously an avid historian and loves racing history, with a car collection including Mansell’s 1992 Williams FW14B F1 car, which he runs on sustainable fuel. Thoughts of former Porsche F1 pilots including Hans Herrmann, Edgar Barth and other drivers of that calibre are not far away today. We live in exciting times.

Robots seal the deal in Stuttgart

Robots seal the deal in Stuttgart

Porsche is replacing the need for paint shop workers on the Taycan production line to insert up to 100 plugs on every car after paint and sealing wax with a robotic process of sealing all cavities with robot-applied patches.

Porsche’s partner in the new process is Tesa, a leading supplier of office tape and a typo away from those other electric car people – I wonder what Google searches will make of that. The patches are highly durable and protrude only 1mm from the surface, versus 6mm for the plugs that were previously employed.

Porsches says that its workers have previously had to insert up to 3,600 plugs per shift, so at 100 plugs per car that is 36 cars per shift. If each shift is eight hours, that is 108 cars a day. It is slightly mind-blowing to imagine the sight of and logistics behind 100 cars a day rolling off the Taycan production lines and being moved to new owners all over the world. Anything Porsche can do to speed up the build process and reduce stress on its workers will be a welcome addition.

“At Tesa, we incorporated more than 20 years’ experience in the manual adhesion of sealing patches in assembly to the development of the Tesa applicator for automated hole sealing,” explains Dr Ute Ellringmann, Market Segment Manager responsible for hole sealing at Tesa. “We can therefore ensure perfect application of our sealing patches for maximum quality and process efficiency.”

“Innovation has always been the driver of our commercial success,” says Albrecht Reimold, Member of the Executive Board responsible for Production and Logistics at Porsche AG. “New innovations have to be mastered. This requires courage and creative freedom. It is management’s role to ensure that this atmosphere is fostered in the day-to-day operations of the company.”

The all-electric Porsche Taycan is the first car in the world to use this new process. Porsche Innovation Management supervised the adoption of the sealing patches, and by July 2020 more than two thirds of the approximately 150 plugs in the Taycan paint shop had been eliminated. The paint shop at the Leipzig plant will also make the switch by summer 2021.

So much to digest here, including the fact that Porsche has an Innovation Management team. This is something worth learning more about – how does a business that innovates everywhere manage that and harvest innovations in one place to use in another? Rolling innovations that take shape in one part of my tiny business out across the full spread of what I do takes months for me – would love to know how Porsche manages this. I think Stuttgart’s innovation management strategy and processes may be the real story here.

Covid hits Nürburgring Porsche 24-Hour Squad

Covid hits Nürburgring Porsche 24-Hour Squad

Maximum flexibility is required to get the most out of life during Covid and Porsche has demonstrated impressive flexibility in a last-minute rejig of the squad for the 2020 Nürburgring 24-Hour on September 26th and 27th.

Following post-event coronavirus tests of Porsche’s Le Mans 24-Hour team, three team members tested positive for the virus. Weissach therefore decided that no team member from Le Mans should attend the Nurburgring 24-Hour, including the nine works drivers who took part.

The driver reorganisation has been further complicated by the fact that, since 2015, drivers have required the Ring Permit in order to participate in certain races on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, including the VLN Championship and the 24-Hour event.

The Ring Permit – or DMSB Permit Nordschleife to give it its proper name – is an additional licence to the regular national and international race licence. All N24 drivers must have a Category A permit, which requires taking part in at least two VLN Championship races, clocking up at least 18 laps and finishing in the top 75% of one’s class in both: no mean feat in this competitive series.

Filling a team for the prestigious 24 Hours of Nordschleife when the entire Le Mans 24 squad has been told to stay home can’t have been easy, and the Manthey Racing team has been most affected. The famous ‘der Grello’ green and yellow 911 will not race at the Nordschleife this year, so sadly no repeat of Kévin Estre’s epic pass on the grass from last year’s N24.

Speaking of grass, the revised driver lineup includes several veterans returned from the lush green slopes of brand ambassador pasture. Back come Timo Bernhard and Jörg Bergmeister alongside Earl Bamber, who has been ruled out of IMSA this weekend. Bernhard is running his first N24 in seven years. German youngster, Nico Menzel, arrives to support Sven Müller, Dennis Olsen and Klaus Bachler.

Approximately 30% of the 100 vehicles entered in the delayed 2020 Nürburgring 24 Hours will be Porsches. The officially-supported Porsche teams are:

KCMG (Porsche 911 GT3 R #18)
Earl Bamber, Jörg Bergmeister, Timo Bernhard, Dennis Olsen

KCMG (Porsche 911 GT3 R #19)
Josh Burdon (Australia), Edoardo Liberati (Italy), Alexandre Imperatori (Switzerland), Dennis Olsen

Huber Motorsport (Porsche 911 GT3 R #25)
Nico Menzel, Marco Holzer, Patrick Kolb (all Germany), Lorenzo Rocco di Torrepadula (Italy)

Frikadelli Racing Team (Porsche 911 GT3 R #30)
Klaus Abbelen, Alexander Müller, Robert Renauer (all Germany), Norbert Siedler (Austria)

Frikadelli Racing Team (Porsche 911 GT3 R #31)
Lance David Arnold, Lars Kern (both Germany), Mathieu Jaminet (France), Maxime Martin (Belgium)

Falken Motorsport (Porsche 911 GT3 R #33)
Christian Engelhart, Sven Müller, Dirk Werner (all Germany), Klaus Bachler (Austria)

Falken Motorsport (Porsche 911 GT3 R #44)
Klaus Bachler, Martin Ragginger (both Austria), Peter Dumbreck (Great Britain), Sven Müller

“The health and safety of our team members is our top priority,” said Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Porsche Motorsport. “That’s why the tough decision not to be represented at the Nürburgring by the drivers and employees who attended Le Mans was ultimately a no-brainer. Still, I’m glad that we found a quick solution with our customer teams and that we can compete on the legendary Nordschleife.”

“Our customer teams contest the Nürburgring 24 Hours with a completely new driver line-up, to continue the fight for Porsche’s 13th overall victory with the 911 GT3 R,” said Pascal Zurlinden, Director Factory Motorsport. “The later date of this year’s race means that weather conditions at the world’s most demanding racetrack are expected to be quite different to previous years. Given the lower number of entries and a strong GT3 contingent in the SP9 category, I’m anticipating a 24-hour sprint.”


Ferdinand blogs my freelance adventure with Porsche at the centre. To support the blog or engage with me in other ways, you can:

Porsche flies the Austrian flag at Le Mans 2020

Porsche flies the Austrian flag at Le Mans 2020

Today is the start of the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans. Like so much of life in 2020, this year’s motorsport season has been a challenge but it’s good to see racing at La Sarthe.

Porsche is fielding several entries in the GTE-Pro and GTE-Am categories. Leading the charge are the factory RSRs, numbers 91 and 92. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Stuttgart’s first win at Le Mans is the 91 car, painted in the red and white Porsche KG Salzburg racing colours of the Austrian national flag. The 92 car runs an identical livery, with black replacing the red.

Porsche drivers for Le Mans 2020

Richard Lietz and Gianmaria Bruni share the wheel of number 91, with Frédéric Makowiecki supporting. This partnership has previously achieved two second-place finishes. In the sister car are the reigning World Endurance Champions: Michael Christensen and Kévin Estre, supported by Laurens Vanthoor, defending champion of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. This trio won the event last time out with a 911 RSR presented in Pink Pig livery, so the factory enters the race with its best foot forward.

About the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours

Racing at the 13.6km Circuit des 24 Heures is the highlight of the World Endurance Championship every year. Normally run in mid-June, this year’s race was postponed until September due to the coronavirus pandemic. The three-month postponement means different weather and light conditions.

“The fact that Le Mans is being held in September this year will have a huge impact on the race,” said Richard Lietz. “It gets dark earlier on Saturday and light much later on Sunday. We’ve never experienced such a ratio between day and night before at this 24-hour classic. What’s more, we’re facing very changeable weather. All of this promises an extremely thrilling race. Our tests in the lead-up to Le Mans went well and class victory is our clear goal.”

The 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours is the latest RSR’s first time at the world’s greatest long-distance circuit race. Cancellation of pre-race testing threw an additional spanner in the works. Most of the racetrack is public roads and conditions can change year to year, as hundreds of trucks and cars drive over the famous Mulsanne Straight daily on their way from Le Mans to Tours. The team had to set up the cars based on previous experience and this initially did not work out too well.

“We had a lot of work to do in first practice, as the setup that we’d worked out in advance didn’t really work at first,” said Alexander Stehlig, Head of WEC Operations for Porsche. We made many changes so that the drivers could get more comfortable with the handling of the car. Things went significantly better in the second practice session. We made it into the Hyperpole, but qualifying fifth and sixth there was not good enough.”

Things went much better in Hyperpole, as the number 91 car claimed pole position. Italy’s Gianmaria Bruni set the fastest lap at the wheel of the 91 Porsche 911 RSR with a time of 3:50.874 minutes. Michael Christensen claimed sixth place for the number 92. In GTE-Am, works driver Matt Campbell was the fastest 911, claiming the second grid spot in his class with the No. 77 Porsche 911 RSR fielded by Dempsey-Proton Racing, a mere five one-hundredths of a second off the top time.

Where to watch the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours

The 2020 Le Mans 24-Hours starts at 13:30 UK time today. Watch the race on Eurosport, BT Sport or via the WEC app. I found a free stream last year somewhere so will probably dip in and out of that while kicking around in the garage. Lots going on here at home, with kids finally about to head back to uni and the builders on site.


Ferdinand blogs my freelance adventure with Porsche at the centre. To support the blog or engage with me in other ways, you can:

Free Porsche Museum entry and virtual tours on Instagram

Free Porsche Museum entry and virtual tours on Instagram

To celebrate the 43rd International Museum Day on May 17, Porsche has announced free entry to the Porsche Museum and virtual tours of the wonderful facility on the Instagram channel.

“Digital diversity is more important than ever at this time, where travel is a greater challenge than ever before”, says Achim Stejskal, Head of Heritage and Porsche Museum. “We have consistently driven forward the expansion of digital offerings, not just since the corona crisis, but for years. We are committed to the ‘Mission Future Heritage’ and like to use modern channels to demonstrate the heritage and future of the brand: not just at our site in Zuffenhausen, but also beyond the museum.”

How to access the Porsche Museum Tour on Instagram

On International Museum Day, two guides will lead virtual visitors through the Porsche Museum’s exhibition, which currently includes over eighty cars in 5,600 square metres of exhibition space. Offering tours in both German and English, the guides will look at special exhibits and offer an insight into the company history.

The digital live tours include prototypes, small exhibits, racing cars and series production cars. Tour timings are set at Central European Summer time, which is one hour ahead of the UK, six hours ahead of the US east coast and nine hours ahead of the west coast. Visitors can watch the first tour in German on Instagram which starts in German at 18:30 hrs CEST, or the second one which starts in English at 00:00 hrs CEST (11pm UK, 6pm NY, 3pm LA).

Porsche says that the times (which seem a little bit random at first glance) have purposefully been set outside the regular opening times – true to the motto: “The museum for everyone” (everyone who does not go to bed at 10pm). More likely they are set to work with the furthest-flown countries where a high percentage of residents have not been to Stuttgart, which is entirely sensible.

I’ve done the museum a couple of times: once as a factory guest, guided by the chief archivist, Dieter Landenberger, and once as just a quick pit stop on the way back from a visit to Alois Ruf with Jonny Hart. Scooting around the museum unaccompanied is not as interesting. The guided tour brings much more information and context to the visit, so it is a no-brainer to set an alarm for 11pm on Sunday night.

The tours will also be recorded and be available on Porsche News TV from Sunday in Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, Croatian, Romanian, Spanish, Portuguese and Turkish. “There is a native speaker for each of these languages in the Porsche Museum. We would like to use the videos that have live character to thank our fans around the world and to bring a bit of the Porsche Museum into their homes,” explains Achim.

If you have dreamed of visiting the museum but not made it yet, or if you have already been there but not been back for a few years, the tours will be of interest. I realise the obvious question is “will these be available to view after the live tours” and the answer is I don’t know. Live events are commonly available to watch in the channel’s Instagram story for 24 hours but we will see.

The special promotional day is organised annually by the International Council of Museums ICOM to draw attention to the wide range of work museums do and to the thematic diversity of museums around the world. Museums throughout Germany will provide special initiatives, exhibits or a glimpse behind the scenes this Sunday. Dr Dietmar Woidke, President of the German Bundesrat, is the patron of Museum Day.


Ferdinand blogs my freelance adventure with Porsche at the centre. To support the blog or engage with me in other ways, you can: