Porsche loves its motorsports. That's actually an understatement, as Porsche is devoted to motorsports in an incredibly passionate way. It's a good thing for Porsche customers, too, because a lot of racing-derived technology often works its way into the road cars. According to Porsche, here are the top five bits of technology that have made the jump from the track to the street. And the man to tell us about all these technologies? Legendary rally driver Walter Rohrl.
First up, we have Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer, which is often just shortened to CFRP. This technology debuted in 1996 on the Porsche 911 GT1, which was Porsche's first race car with a carbon fiber chassis. Now you can find CFRP pieces employed on the latest GT3 RS. It's the perfect combination of light weight and strength.
Next, we move to the steering-wheel-mounted Mode Switch selector. It originated on the Porsche 918 Spyder, where it offers up to six different modes, depending on what you're looking for from your hyper car. This allows you to have a vehicle with multiple personalities for multiple driving conditions. Cruise through the city (or pit lane) and you'll keep it under control, but jump onto a canyon road (or the racing circuit), and it's go time. There's even a Sport Response button that amps up the responsiveness and boosts the power for 20 seconds.
On the Porsche 962 race car of the mid 1980s, the motorsports team utilized carbon ceramic brake discs. These greatly reduce brake fade and unsprung weight, which are crucial when you want to go fast and win races. Now these are an option on any high-level Porsche.
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In the second spot we come to the powerful snail. I'm talking turbochargers, and Porsche has been using them for decades. As an example, Porsche uses its monster 917/10, which dominated Can-Am racing in 1972. Since Porsche typically makes use of smaller displacement engines, forced induction is often a helpful friend. That is true now more than ever, as Porsche has turbocharged almost every car it has for greater levels of power, performance, and efficiency.
Finally, we have the brand's e-Performance hybrid system as exemplified by its Le Mans-winning Porsche 919. The system combines batteries and electric motors that work together with the engine to create a tandem punch of force when needed. It's good enough to win at Le Mans, which means it's more than qualified to get your Panamera through the Whole Foods parking lot.
Porsche' bottom line? Every Porsche is a race car. While that may not be true, every Porsche does have some race car DNA, and that's good enough for us.