Flat out in the Outback — Porsche’s 918 Spyder fliesPOSTED BY Nigel Andretti ON 15 April 2015
PORSCHE recently put its ultimate car to the ultimate Australian test (see video below).
Everybody knows about Germany’s speed-unlimited autobahns, but what many may not know is that there’s another stretch of road where drivers can push their cars to the limit without fear of losing their license: the Stuart Highway in Australia’s Northern Territory.
Not content with wowing spectators at the Australian Grand Prix or setting Nurburgring lap records in Germany, the brand took its RM2.7 million-plus 918 Spyder to Alice Springs for a crack at the Northern Territory’s open speed limits.
With New Zealand racing driver Craig Baird at the wheel, the Porsche trundled out of town on electric power at 60km/h for 25km before shattering the outback serenity as Beard unleashed its full 875hp and notched a speed record of 350km/h for a production car on Australian roads — in 40 seconds.
The controlled test took place with the use of radios and spotters to ensure the road was completely devoid of traffic at the time.
The only other car in production that could achieve this feat is McLaren’s P1, which also has an electric-only mode, albeit its driving range in this mode is much smaller than in the Porsche.
The 918 Spyder features a sophisticated hybrid system consisting of a V-8 engine, two electric motors and a lithium-ion battery.
The engine, a race-bred 4.6-liter V-8, is paired with one of the electric motors as well as a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission and spins the rear axle. A second electric motor is used to spin the front axle (above), thus creating a ‘through-the-road’ hybrid all-wheel-drive system.
Porsche has sold all 918 build slots for the 918 Spyder.