One might think that Porsche is capitalizing on a trend with the new 911 Dakar, an off-road version of the world’s most versatile super sports car. After all, over the past five years, it’s hard to ignore the obvious “Safari’ing” trend for sports cars, especially air-cooled 911s. As the former owner of a Leh Keen Safari 911 myself, I fully understand: Not only are sports cars so fast now that exploring the limits on public roads falls somewhere between morally reprehensible and downright dangerous, but also with our dilapidated urban infrastructure, flanking and suspension travel have become quite enticing for everyday use. It makes sense that Porsche saw the aftermarket charge big bucks for Safari conversions and thought, “why can’t we do it ourselves?” But the truth is, Porsche deserves more credit than that.
Porsche has participated in rallies throughout its history and has a long tradition of building dirt-ready 911s for competition use that goes back at least 40 years. Before the word “Carrera” ever preceded the number “4” on a road-going 911, Porsche tested the AWD system in competitions around the world. Even the almighty 959 Supercar was based, in large part, on an AWD system optimized for off-roading, not just driving in wet or snowy conditions.
This car, the 911 Dakar that will hit showrooms this summer, is also the result of a development that dates back almost a decade, long before the Safari trend became fashionable at the consumer level. Hardware-wise, there really isn’t much: longer racing shocks paired with softer springs, a skid plate package, unique wheels and Pirelli All-Terrain tires, and revised front and rear bands for rock angles. approach and departure. The cooling system is tuned to eliminate the central radiator but still works in very hot climates. Everything else stolen from the GT3, like the carbon hood and bucket seats, or the GTS-4 on which the Dakar is based.
But, as you’ll see in my video, Porsche’s attention to detail when it comes to programming and tuning the Dakar is why the driving experience is so much more than just the sum of its parts. This is why it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to directly replicate the Dakar in the aftermarket, and why the 911 Dakar is currently one of the most special driving experiences on the road.
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