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Porsche 911 sets altitude record on world’s tallest volcano

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Altitude Record

A modified Porsche 911 has achieved a remarkable altitude record, ascending to the peak of Chile’s Ojos del Salado, the world’s tallest volcano, standing at an astounding 22,615 feet. Under the skilled control of racing driver Romain Dumas, this feat was accomplished on December 2nd, 2023. The 911, specially adapted for the challenging terrain, featured an elevated chassis and operated on carbon-neutral e-fuel.

During the ascent, the Porsche reached a staggering altitude of 22,093 feet, surpassing the previous record of 21,961.94 feet, which was set in 2020 by a pair of Mercedes-Benz Unimog U 5023 off-road trucks on the same volcano.

Near the summit, Dumas faced extreme conditions, including air with roughly half the density of sea level and bone-chilling temperatures as low as 12 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite these challenges, Dumas expressed the profound nature of the experience, stating, “I’ll never forget this experience. It was an extraordinary feeling to drive where no car has gone before.”

This successful record attempt came after Dumas had previously tackled the volcano in 2022 during a practice run. The west ridge’s peak, accessible only by vehicle, marked the endpoint of this historic run. Given the formidable nature of this achievement, it will prove to be a daunting task for any future contenders to surpass. Dumas, accompanied by a support team and a second car, commenced the journey at 3:30 am and completed it at 3:58 pm.

The e-fuel used for this remarkable feat was produced at a Porsche-backed pilot plant located in Chile. This synthetic fuel is generated through a process that employs electrical energy, generated by a wind turbine, to produce hydrogen through water electrolysis. Subsequently, the hydrogen is combined with CO2 captured from the air, resulting in the synthesis of gasoline and liquefied gas.

The modified Porsche 911 utilized for this challenge is based on the 911 Carrera 4S. While the car’s twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter flat-6 engine remained in stock condition, it was paired with a 7-speed manual transmission featuring lower gear ratios than the stock version. This adjustment allowed for precise and gentle throttle inputs at low speeds.

To navigate the rugged terrain, the key modification involved the installation of portal axles. Paired with robust off-road tires, these axles significantly increased ground clearance to nearly 14 inches, necessitating the addition of widened wheel arches.

Porsche also introduced a technology known as a Warp-Connector, adapted from motorsports, which enabled constant wheel loads even in the face of extreme chassis movements, thereby improving traction. Differential locks and a steer-by-wire system were additional enhancements.

It’s worth noting that while Porsche does not have plans to put a vehicle as rugged as this modified 911 into production, the automaker did launch the limited-edition 911 Dakar in the previous year, offering considerably more off-road capability compared to a standard 911.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Altitude Record

Q: What is the altitude record achieved by the modified Porsche 911?

A: The modified Porsche 911 reached an impressive altitude of 22,093 feet, setting a new record for the highest climb by a wheeled vehicle.

Q: Who was the driver behind this remarkable achievement?

A: Racing driver Romain Dumas was at the helm of the Porsche 911 during this record-setting ascent of Chile’s Ojos del Salado.

Q: What made this Porsche 911 special for the challenging terrain?

A: The Porsche 911 was specially modified for the rugged terrain, featuring a raised chassis and operating on carbon-neutral e-fuel.

Q: How does the e-fuel used for this run differ from traditional fuel?

A: The e-fuel used in this endeavor is produced using wind turbine-generated electricity for hydrogen production through water electrolysis. This process results in a synthetic fuel that is carbon-neutral.

Q: What were the extreme conditions faced during the ascent?

A: Near the summit, the driver, Romain Dumas, encountered air with roughly half the density of sea level and endured temperatures as low as 12 degrees Fahrenheit.

Q: Was this the first attempt at ascending Ojos del Salado in a vehicle?

A: No, a practice run was conducted in 2022. However, this record-setting ascent reached the peak of the west ridge, the only path accessible by a vehicle.

Q: What model of Porsche 911 was used for this record-breaking feat?

A: The modified Porsche 911 was based on the 911 Carrera 4S, with adjustments made to enhance its off-road capabilities.

Q: Are there any plans to produce a similar rugged version of the Porsche 911 for consumers?

A: Porsche does not have plans to put a vehicle as rugged as this modified 911 into production. However, they did introduce the limited-edition 911 Dakar, offering increased off-road capability compared to the standard 911.

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