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Special Report: Exploring Wales With A Porsche 911 GTS

The Alps – a mountain range that stretches 1,200 kilometers and eight alpine countries across Europe. Even the coldest and darkest of hearts feel inspired looking up through the cotton clouds at infamous peaks such as the Matterhorn, Mont Blanc and Jungfrau. There are no mountains without earthquakes and there are no mountains without mountain […]

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Elan Valley, Powys, Wales

The Elan Valley has long been a favourite road for Total 911 staff. Thanks to its fast straights and technical bends, the route is often used for road tests in the magazine, the latest of which was our C2S v C4S test in issue 144.

But we’re here to talk about the road itself. Set among an idyllic landscape in the centre of Wales, the route largely avoids the tourist traffic found at Snowdonia in the north, while the variety of major trunk roads nearby ensures quicker routes are available for any parties wishing to get there from the south.

The road is enjoyable to drive from both directions but we prefer to travel from west to east, starting at Devil’s Bridge and finishing in Rhayader, the town with the greatest number of pubs per capita in the UK (an ideal stop-off then!).

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Begin by joining the B4574 from Devil’s Bridge – the road was resurfaced in 2014, so it’s as smooth as a snooker tabletop to drive on. The corners come thick and fast, switching from left to right as you negotiate the steep hill.

A new steel barrier runs along the route here, preventing the possibility of a dramatic tumble if you get it wrong as the road narrows. Once you roll over a cattle grid you’re on an unnamed road, as the B4574 officially stops here according to the road maps.

The road surface is older but it’s of high quality and serves as the ultimate chassis test as the road weaves along the valley. Eventually, you’ll cross the valley and continue up and along the southern face, where the road is at its narrowest.

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A short stop at the Cwmystwyth lead mine is recommended, before climbing back into your 911 for the second – and faster – half of the route.

Now you can really pick up the pace: the road is wider, corners are well sighted and there are huge straights to open up the throttle, your 911’s flat-six bark bouncing off the hills all around.

At Rhayader a T-junction marks the end of a dramatic route that’s brimming with character. We recommend driving it a few times to really get the best of the various challenges it offers.

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Eight alternative Great Roads you have to drive before you die

There are some roads that every discerning petrolhead has heard of: Route 66, the Grossglockner Pass, the Isle of Man’s Mountain Road. Cutting through some of the most iconic scenery, these hallowed stretches of tarmac will be top of many ‘must drive’ lists.

However, if you look a little off the beaten track, there are a plethora of alternative routes waiting to be discovered at the wheel of your Porsche 911. Here are eight lesser-known Great Roads you need to experience before you kick the bucket:

Douro Drive, Portugal
Douro drive 2

Roughly following the route carved by one of Portugal’s largest rivers, the Douro Drive has it all: stunning scenery, great weather and, on top of it all, some fantastic tarmac that almost continuously twists its way through the valleys of the country’s wine-making region.

Wild Atlantic Way
Wild Atlantic Way 1

Comprising more than 1,500 miles down Ireland’s west coast, the Wild Atlantic Way has more than enough tarmac to satisfy every driver. The coastline the route traverses is, more often than not, breath-taking while the tarmac itself is pristine, allowing you to enjoy your Porsche 911 just as Ferry intended.

Marrakesh to Merzouga, Morocco
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One of the world’s greatest ancient trade routes, this road through Morocco’s hugely varied countryside will take you right up the edge of the Sahara Desert via the cosmopolitan capital city, dramatic cliff-side bends and mountainous forests.

B4391, North Wales
B4391 Ffestiniog

A particular favourite of the Total 911 team, this small road, tucked away in the middle of Snowdonia, provides a stern test for all Porsche 911s (and their drivers). The views are often beautiful and the challenge is unrelenting all the way back to the English border.

Route 1, Iceland
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Route 1 may well be the best ring road in the world. Circumnavigating the entire perimeter of Iceland, the greatest challenge the road prevents are the wildly changing conditions you’ll encounter. It’s worth it though, providing some gorgeous vistas of this enchanting country.

Jebel Hafeet Mountain, UAE
Jebel Hafeet Mountain

Possibly the world’s greatest driveway, the road up Jebel Hafeet Mountain was built as an access route for Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s unused palace. It’s only seven miles long but the road doesn’t relent, providing plentiful switchbacks and well-sighted curves.

Route 130, USA
Route 130

While many of our American Great Roads are centred around California, most of those are local to Los Angeles. Route 130 however is a rare piece of automotive nirvana in the state’s northern half, twisting its way up and down through the aptly named Diablo Mountains just outside of San Jose.

Mulsanne Straight, France
Mulsanne Straight

A 3.7-mile long piece of French ‘Route Nationale’, punctuated by two roundabouts, just outside of a major town may not sound particularly inspiring but this is where many of Porsche’s Le Mans legends have been born. You can almost feel the heady days of 917s blasting down the Hunaudières.

Which is your favourite lesser-known driving route? Share your Great Roads in the comments below or join the debate on our Facebook and Twitter pages now.

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Video: Living the Legend – roadtrip through Wales highlights

Where did you take your Porsche this year? While track days are a perennial spectre for some, there’s still plenty of love for the good, old fashioned road trip. Your contributing team at Total 911 are no different, embarking on a huge weekend road trip through Wales, home to some of the best and most well-known driving routes in the UK.

Six Porsches from Total 911’s British contingent of ‘Living the Legend’ reporters – real-world 911 owners who share their stories each month in the magazine – took on the best of the Welsh tarmac over three days, beginning at the Black mountains in the south and culminating in our favourite road, the B4391, in the north.

Look out for a full report and plenty of behind-the-scenes pictures from our trip in an upcoming issue of the magazine, but for now we’ve put together a quick highlights video from the weekend for you to enjoy.

If you video’d your Porsche road trip this year, we want to see it! Paste your link in the comments section below or tag us on social media @Total911.

 

 

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The 2015 Total 911 Photo of the Year long list

From SharkWerks’ 4.1-litre Porsche 997 GT3 RS in issue 122 to issue 133’s 991 Carrera GTS showdown, Total 911 has been bathed in stunning photography over the course of 2015.

Our team of world-class snappers have submitted literally thousands of photos across over 100 different shoots that have featured a wealth of delectable Zuffenhausen metal from around the world.

We’ve whittled these down into our favourite 20 shots but now we need your help in deciding the short list from which the winner of 2015 Total 911 Photo of the Year will be picked.

Over the next week, we’ll be posting all 20 photos from the long list via our Facebook and Twitter pages and we want you to vote for your favourite. Then, next Thursday (3 December) the shortlist of six be will announced before a further round of voting will see the winner crowned on Thursday 10 December.

So, without any further ado, here’s the 2015 long list. Click on each image to enlarge it and view them in all their majesty. You’ve got one vote, make sure it counts:

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