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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:

Porsche restarts production

Porsche restarts production

Porsche has announced that it will restart production in both Leipzig and Zuffenhausen from next Monday, May 4th. The manufacturer initially closed production due to coronavirus on March 21st for two weeks and said it would continue to assess the situation. The factories remained closed for six weeks due to issues with global supply chains, but that problem now appears to be sorted.

“We want to make the most of opportunities”: CEO

“It will take a great deal of effort to get the economic and social system moving again and we must all contribute to this,” said Oliver Blume, Porsche AG’s chairman. “It is important to have a positive fundamental attitude. Every crisis also offers opportunities and we want to make the most of them.” I think he is completely correct.

Porsche says it is restarting production on a site- and task-specific basis and that all the required measures have been taken to guarantee the maximum possible safety for employees. Adapted processes in production, logistics and procurement in line with social distancing measures have been agreed with the Works Council and the Health Management department. The requirements of the respective authorities will also be observed.

“The restart is an important signal – for our employees as well as for our customers. We have monitored and analysed the situation very carefully right from the start and flexibly adapted processes. Now is the right time to look forward with optimism and to resume work – subject to special precautions,” says Albrecht Reimold, Member of the Executive Board for Production and Logistics at Porsche AG.

The situation has also been improving in the UK. The dealer group Vertu announced today that it would bring 1,000 sales and service staff out of furlough to cope with high demand online. This tallies with my own experience of car sales enquiry levels and what I have heard from dealer group friends over lockdown. Vertu has 6,000 staff members furloughed, so, assuming the first wave goes well, it probably won’t be too long before more of those people return.

Car sales in coronavirus lockdown

The British Government recently clarified guidelines for selling and handing over cars. As most of garages I frequent are small scale local operations, they have all been open since the start of the lockdown. Many garage owners are one man bands who cannot afford to stop working and who also create no risk to others by going into work, as they are isolated inside a locked workshop.

The main problem with garage work right now is getting the parts. Fabrication for restoration and paint prep etc are OK to complete but, if the local Euro Car Parts does not have the parts on the shelf, it’s a case of scouring online sources for available parts as many of the parts wholesalers and distribution centres are closed. I have ordered a lot of parts online for my projects and they have all come in fairly short order, even when coming from as far away as Latvia and Lithuania.

Watching other countries taking cautious first steps out of their respective lockdowns has provoked some interesting questions, but getting fully “back to normal” (defined as “how things used to be”) could take years, according to some commentators I’ve read this week. I’m not sure there will ever be a “get back to normal” for World 2.0. A new normal is perhaps a more likely scenario and it will not be unwelcome. We can certainly hope for the best.

Porsche’s other measures to counter the spread of coronavirus remain in place at this time. An increased level of “mobile working” will continue and meetings will be held as video or telephone conferences. The company ban on business travel continues to apply.


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

Porsche auctions last 991 Speedster for COVID-19 aid

Porsche auctions last 991 Speedster for COVID-19 aid

Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) and RM Sotheby’s have teamed up for an interesting charity auction with a money-can’t-buy delivery package appealling to Porsche enthusiasts. The auction’s only entry is the last-ever 991 generation 911 made: a unique Porsche 911 Speedster, one of 1,948 examples created to mark seventy years of Porsche sports cars.

The one-week auction will be held via RM Sotheby’s online auction platform to meet social distancing guidelines without delaying the charitable fundraiser. The winning bid (excluding taxes and fees), will be donated to United Way Worldwide’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund.

Porsche Design is supporting the auction with the creation of a bespoke 911 Speedster Heritage Design Chronograph. The watch incorporates the vehicle’s historic design features, including a strap made in the exact same cognac leather from the Speedster’s interior and a silver winding rotor that mirrors the car’s unique wheels.  Made in Switzerland, exclusively for 911 Speedster customers, the limited-edition timepiece with flyback function will feature the chassis number of the final 991 generation 911, making it unique.

In addition, the winning bidder and a guest will be invited to take a personal, behind-the-scenes tour of the Porsche AG Weissach development headquarters – including experiencing the test track – with Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser and Andreas Preuninger, heads of the 911 and GT model lines respectively. The car will also be accompanied by a one-off book illustrating the assembly and completion of the last 991, including photographs and an original sketch by the Speedster design team. Finally, the handover of the vehicle will be hosted by Klaus Zellmer, President and CEO of PCNA at a dedicated event in North America.

“Not only does this mark the end of what, for me, was a special era but it’s especially rewarding that the last car to reach the end of the line should be the ultimate,” said Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser. “The Speedster combined everything we learned and is the 991 in its purest form. I hope this unique car can make a big difference to those who need help right now, and that the fortunate buyer enjoys it and drives it as we always intended.”

“We’re proud to support Porsche with this initiative, recognising the urgent need to raise as much money as possible for those most affected by COVID-19,” said Kenneth Ahn, RM Sotheby’s President. “This is a truly unique and unheard of offering for extraordinary times – not just the car itself as the last ever seventh-generation 911 ever to roll down the line, but all auction items including the exclusive Porsche Design 911 Speedster Heritage Design Chronograph as well as the chance to experience an exclusive behind-the-scenes visit to the home of Porsche with the two engineers who lead the creation of modern era 911s.

“Finished in GT Silver Metallic paint, the 911 Speedster remains unregistered, having covered just 20 delivery miles. It’s powered by a 4-litre, 500 horsepower naturally aspirated flat six engine with a six-speed manual gearbox. The auction Speedster features the Heritage Design package and was built in Stuttgart last December.

The last remaining 911 Speedsters are now in transit to owners around the world, but there can be only one final car and this specific Speedster is the last of the 911’s seventh generation. It comes with a letter of authenticity from Porsche confirming that its chassis number is the last off the 991 production line.

The auction opens for bidding via RM Sotheby’s Online Only platform at 11:00 am EDT on Wednesday 15 April, closing at 1:00 pm EDT on Wednesday 22 April. The 911 Speedster is offered without reserve, selling to the highest bidder. Potential bidders can find more information on the unique package being offered and the registration process at


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