The Porsche Taycan family of electric vehicles is many things. It’s the brand’s first entry into the electric car segment and a significant statement on its own. It’s a performance EV ready to set lap records, including the most precious one at the Nürburgring. It’s also an electric car capable of traversing 295 miles in 670-horsepower Turbo trim, a successful Cannonball trophy holder, a sedan you can drift for 55 minutes on a wet concrete circle, and a Porsche that’s now available as a rear-drive car that’s nearly $24,000 cheaper than the all-wheel-drive variants.
In order to score more EV records, Porsche of Great Britain and Autocar decided to take a Taycan 4S and a Turbo S to Brands Hatch, the race track where the brand took the first six places during the 1,000 km race in 1984, including first thanks to Jonathan Palmer and Jan Lammers in a 956 that was two laps faster than Jochen Mass’ 956B in second. Led by senior press officer Rob Durrant, Porsche had to cover 1,000 kilometers within 13 hours of track time with the help of 1970 Le Mans 24 Hours winner Richard Attwood, and young factory drivers such as Cayman Islands Porsche Sprint champion James Dorlin, and Carrera GB champion Harry King.
While at 64, Jonathan Palmer has never driven a battery electric vehicle before, he soon had to get into the mood for an extensive light-footed endurance racing session, since setting EV distance records is mostly about maintaining momentum and conserving as much energy as possible without sacrificing too much speed.
According to project leader Rob Durrant’s calculations, in order to reach 1,000 kms (621,37 miles) between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on the rather wet circuit, the Taycans needed to complete 515 laps, averaging the lap times of 1:08 in the 4S, and 1:11 in the Turbo S. Just to compare, the twin-turbo flat-six 956’s record at Brands Hatch in 1984 was 1:21.03, albeit over the longer GP layout and without the Dingle Dell chicane.
Wearing the ’84 Palmer and 1970 Pedro Rodríguez Brands Hatch liveries, the Taycans had to average energy consumption of 70 kWh per 100 miles as well, maintaining a pace and getting re-charged to 80 percent in 20-25 minutes using Porsche’s 2.1 MWh mobile charging unit.
Driving smoothly in continuously improving conditions, by the time the team could start worrying about using too much energy to combat the early darkness of mid-December, the completely stock Taycan 4S and Turbo set 13 speed and endurance British records for electric vehicles, including the most difficult one of 1,000 kms in 13 hours without a glitch.
Congratulations to Porsche UK, Autocar, and all drivers and engineers involved.
On a side note, my personal favorite Porsche distance-record car remains the stillborn 944 Turbo that was supposed to set the highest average speed at Nardo with the lowest consumption, only to be beaten to the punch by Mercedes-Benz. Still low mileage, yet all the potential:
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