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Porsche 992 Turbo breaks cover

Total 911’s spies have captured a 992 Turbo prototype in testing, showing for the first time its key visual cues over the rest of the incoming 992 range. Regular readers will note previous mules seen in public have been based on the current 991 car with tacked-on fenders, however this latest signing heralds a major development in pre-production of the car.

As you can see, the prototype in our pictures features a slightly different front end, with the rear end featuring a full-width light as seen on the rest of the 992 prototype range. The car sports even wider fenders, taking the car to nearly two meters in width for the first time, squared-off quad exhausts and, for the first time, a fixed rear wing. Side air-intakes feeding air to the intercoolers remain, though their shape has been disguised under a camouflage wrap deployed by Porsche. Power will once again come form a twin turbocharged flat six with an expected maximum power output of around 600hp.

The new-generation Porsche 992 Carrera is set to be formally revealed at the Paris motorshow in October, with its bigger Turbo brother due for launch in the first quarter of 2019.

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Lee’s 996 Carrera diary: the pleasures and perils of a track day

Late last month I took my 996.2 Carrera 4 to Castle Combe for its inaugural track day under my ownership. I left my abode in Bournemouth early, hastily packing essentials including my crash helmet, fluids (for the car as well as myself) and a few tools into the front luggage compartment and programmed my PCM for the vast Wiltshire circuit some 70 miles away. Emotions en route were evenly split between giddy excitement and feverish apprehension.

At this point I should say I’ve driven on track before but, crucially, never with my own car. My thoughts as I closed in on Castle Combe therefore flitted between the realisation of how lucky I was to ‘avoid’ the scenario ahead of me to date, and wether the day ahead was even a good idea or not. As I arrived at the circuit just before 9am, I was still undecided on the latter.

The thing is, taking your car on track is a must for any Porsche 911 owner. It’s part of the car’s DNA: Zuffenhausen’s self-imposed brief has always been to perpetually deliver a sports car that you can drive on track and to the cinema with equal aplomb. Further, a track is the only way to truly (and safely) attain the true performance potential of your beloved 911. Thanks to the heightened forces acting upon it, your Porsche behaves in a way on track that you’ll never experience on the confines of a public road. A track is also a full-bodied acid test of your driver talents, a far cry from a mere straight-line sprint to the next set of traffic lights in town.

 

_MG_6477The appeal of a track day is obvious then but a pleasurable day at the wheel of your Porsche could prove perilous if basic common sense isn’t applied before, during and after the event. It all comes down to preparation: look after your 911 and your 911 will likely look after you. Before taking to the smooth asphalt of a circuit consider the condition of your Porsche’s consumables: do the tyres have sufficient life in them to keep your car glued to the ground through spirited cornering? Are the brakes in good enough condition to scrub speed effectively under heady temperatures? Remember, your engine is going to be placed under extreme stress during a track session, so at least check the oil to ensure your flat six will be well lubricated throughout. Insurance is also a must to ensure that, if in the worst case you do crash your pride and joy, it’s not the end of days for your Porsche ownership experience.

Being on track is exhilarating and I revelled in chasing my own redline around the fast, 1.85-mile circuit while putting some neat heel-and-toe action – utilised by my exquisite CSR lightweight flywheel from RPM – to good use before diving through each turn. The 996’s handling was much improved thanks to the fitting of Bilstein PSS10s, which allowed me to easily stiffen the damping for track use, and a lower centre of gravity afforded by a drop in ride ride height of around 25mm did much to give the car greater poise when cornering. My Milltek rear silencers gave a billowing howl under load too, the sound more reminiscent of a 964 Carrera, which filled the cabin with each prod of the gas pedal. Needless to say, the whole experience was sheer ecstasy.

Remember though that among the excitement on track, a clear head is more vital than ever – and you need to listen to what your car is telling you. Tyres represent the biggest variance in performance on the day and if you’re then planning on driving straight home like I was, you need to conserve them. Managing temperatures here is crucial: a hot tyre will grip more but the caveat to grip is degradation, so be wise. Adjusting tyre pressures once they have some heat in them by the way is a 30-second pitstop (even if you’re a one-man band!) but don’t forget to put the air back in once the track day has finished and pressures have dropped. Keep an eye on your 911’s instrument panel too and, if anything seems amiss, ease off. Simple.

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Happily, my own track day proved a great success for car and driver, the 996 not missing a beat throughout. I felt satisfied I’d pushed myself and the car hard, and was equally happy to see the car safely returned to the garage afterwards with the only casualties being two rear tyres, the Continental ContiSports quickly wearing down to near the UK legal road limit. I’ve also elected to give the 996 an oil and filter change as I figure for the cost of a few litres 0W40, the opportunity to keep that M96 engine well looked after is a small price worth paying.

So, preparation is key to getting the most out of your Porsche on track, but the message is simple: if you haven’t yet done so, get your 911 to your nearest circuit now!

Thanks to @ncaplin for the action shots.

 

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2015 24 Hours of Le Mans: Porsche sweeps first qualifying

Neel Jani placed the black no. 18 Porsche 919 Hybrid at the top of the time sheets during first qualifying at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last night as Weissach’s trio of LMP1 racers locked out positions one to three in the two-hour session.

The Swiss driver set a scintillating lap of 3m16.887s early in the session. His time, aboard the car he will share with Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas, was the fastest lap seen at the Circuit de la Sarthe since the introduction of the two chicanes on the Mulsanne straight in 1990.

Behind, Timo Bernhard in the red no. 17 Porsche 919 also set his fastest lap towards the start of the session, stopping the clock with a time of 3m17.767s, good enough for a provisional second place on the grid.

The no. 18 Porsche 919 Hybrid sits second provisionally after Timo Bernhard's lap.

The third Porsche 919 Hybrid, the white no. 19 machine, initially found itself behind the fastest of the Audi R18s until Nick Tandy stepped behind the wheel late in the session to set a time of 3m19.297s, nearly 2.5 seconds away from pole but still good enough for third.

The British ace (and Total 911 columnist) remains optimistic that he can go faster in Thursday’s two qualifying sessions should the conditions remain dry.

“We set our fastest lap time in the third lap of the stint when the tyres were not working perfectly anymore,” Tandy explained. “Unfortunately I was stuck in traffic in the two laps before that. Therefore, we should be able to improve on our time if it doesn’t rain tomorrow.”

Nick Tandy was the fastest of the three drivers in the no. 19 Porsche 919 Hybrid.

In the end, the fastest of Ingolstadt’s challengers could only just get within 3.0 seconds of the quickest Porsche with the no. 8 Audi R18 of Lucas di Grassi, Oliver Jarvis and Loïc Duval settling into a provisional fourth place thanks to the latter.

Marco Bonanomi put the no. 9 Audi into fifth, while Benoît Tréluyer left it until the final 30 minutes to set the championship-leading no. 7 Audi’s fastest lap: a 3m21.839s.

Toyota’s difficult 24 Hours of Le Mans continued as the no. 2 and no. 1 TS040 Hybrids could only secure provisional grid slots of seventh and eighth respectively as both cars lapped over 6.5 seconds slower than the no. 18 Porsche 919 Hybrid.

Porsche's fortunes were not so strong in the GTE Pro class.

Weissach fared less well in the LMGTE Pro class where the two Porsche Team Manthey 911 RSRs could only manage sixth and eighth, the no. 91 entry ahead of the no. 92 car.

In LMGTE Am, Klaus Bachler put the no. 88 Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR into a provisional fourth ahead of Patrick Long in the no. 77 Dempsey-Proton sister car.

Qualifying concludes this evening with two two-hour sessions, the first of which kicks off at 7pm local time. The third and final qualifying session starts at 10pm, with the grid for the 83rd 24 Hours of Le Mans locked in at midnight.

For all the latest news from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, make sure to check out our dedicated motorsport section. 

The no. 77 Porsche 911 RSR of Patrick Long, Patrick Dempsey and Marco Seefried currently sits fifth in GTE Am.

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