Porsche has reached new heights with a specially modified 911 – literally.
The German carmaker has just reset the record for the highest altitude driven by a car, successfully scaling Chile’s Ojos del Salado volcano.
On December 2, the 911 ascended to the summit of the volcano, reaching an altitude of 6734 metres above sea level.
This eclipses the previous record set by Daimler Truck, which reached an altitude of 6694 metres above sea level with a pair of Unimog off-road trucks.
To achieve such a feat, Porsche partnered with offroad racing team RD Limited along with Schaeffler Group, HIF Global, Mobil 1, BFGoodrich and TAG Heuer to modify the 911 for the journey.
Two 911 Carrera 4S sportscars were converted to run on e-fuels, one being named Edith and the other Doris.
The two cars were fitted with portal axles and chunky off-road rubber, increasing ground clearance to 350mm and reducing the gear ratios.
This had the effect of improving the low-speed drivability of the seven-speed manual transmission, especially on “near-vertical” slopes.
Lightweight Aramid fibre underbody protection and carbon-fibre seats were also fitted to the cars.
Edith, the record-setting car, was lighter and more agile according to Porsche, helped in part by a steer-by-wire system.
The heart of the 911 Carrera 4S is a 3.0-litre twin-turbo six-cylinder engine that has 331kW of power (at 6500 rpm) and 530Nm of torque (at 2300 rpm).
The engine didn’t experience any hiccups according to Porsche, even as the air got thinner and temperatures hovered around -20 degrees.
Edith was piloted by LD Limited founder and three-time Le Mans champion Romain Dumas. Behind Romain Dumas was an international team made up of engineers and doctors both from Porsche and partner companies.
Both 911 engines featured in stock form, albeit running on HIF e-fuels produced locally in Chile.
The fuels were made using captured carbon dioxide and water, which Porsche says provides near carbon-neutral motoring, as the carbon dioxide produced during driving is nearly completely offset during the carbon capture process when the fuel is manufactured.
Porsche is no stranger to e-fuels. The company is investing heavily in the technology as a way to help cut CO2 emissions from internal-combustion vehicles (planes, trains, and automobiles) as the world transitions to electric power… and a way to keep the 911 alive in its current form, or something close to it.
The company’s record seems safe for the time being, as the Ojos del Salado volcano summited by Edith the 911 is believed to be the highest altitude terrain accessible by car.