A unique Porsche with off-road capabilities – badged the 911 Dakar – is to be unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 16, 2022. The model name is a nod to Porsche’s first victory in the Paris-Dakar rally. Development of the special variant called for a special program, which saw the team test the car globally. This included evaluation on off-road proving grounds in Weissach, Germany, near Porsche’s home, and at other automotive testing grounds and public areas worldwide. In terms of numbers, the regime covered more than 500,000km, including more than 10,000km of off-road driving.
The Château de Lastours circuit in southern France, for example, was used to assess the car’s handling on typical rally courses and fine-tune the suspension. Kilometer after kilometer of loose surfaces really put the Porsche 911 Dakar to the test. “All Dakar teams come here to test their cars in Europe before the rally,” noted Porsche works driver Romain Dumas, who drove the new 911 at Château de Lastours.
The 911 Dakar was also put through its paces in Arjeplog, Sweden. The thick ice of the frozen lakes offered the ideal basis for an approximately 90% closed compacted snow surface – a more realistic scenario than pure sheet ice. With the low friction coefficient on the snow, it was all about traction and steering precision.
Fast sand tracks and high dunes in Dubai and Morocco also served as the perfect test of the vehicle’s capabilities. Test drivers mercilessly drove the off-road sports car up steep 50m dunes in temperatures of up to 45°C, time and time again.
Alongside Dumas, two-time world rally champion Walter Röhrl, who is also Porsche brand ambassador; Jörg Bergmeiste, another brand ambassador; and of course, Frank Moser, VP of model Line 911/718 all drove the 911 Dakar during the evaluation program – and wholeheartedly praised the vehicle’s capabilities.