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New Porsche 911 pushes the envelope further: Webber
Porsche test driver Mark Webber discusses why new 992 911 may be best version yet
7 Feb 2019
FORMER Formula One racecar driver turned Porsche development driver Mark Webber believes the 992-series 911, revealed at the LA show in November last year, may have the greatest breadth of performance of any of the sportscar’s generations yet.
Speaking to journalists at the Bathurst 12-hour endurance race, Mr Webber was quick to sing the praises of the new 911, which is set to touch down in Australia in Carrera S and 4S guise in April.
When asked of the differences between the outgoing 991 series and the new 992, Mr Webber said the driveability of the new 911 can suit a huge range of drivers, with new traction control systems that can be dialled on and off as the driver pleases.
“I think they feel the car’s got so many systems in place, we’ve got the wet map now, got all these traction control systems in place which you have to have. You can’t sit still, you can’t sit on a Nokia, you can’t do it,” he said.
“If you want to buy a thoroughbred racecar in sections you can, but you have to go with the times and we can still do that, but I can show them what the car’s capable of if you turn that stuff off. It’s got so many layers to what it can do.
“And that’s probably the biggest envelope we’ve ever had. The envelope of the car continues to get slightly bigger every time.”
Mr Webber was heavily involved in the development stages of the new 911, giving Porsche regular feedback on the 992’s driving characteristics over countless laps at the famed Valencia circuit in Spain.
The initial rollout of the new 911 consists of the mid-spec Carrera S grade in rear- and all-wheel-drive layouts, with other model grades expected to follow later.
Mr Webber confirmed he will begin testing of the new-generation GT3 in the near future and will also be involved in the development of the beastly Turbo grade.
He said that new-generation improvements, such as power, wheel track and infotainment, will also make a big impression on buyers compared to the old 911.
“Obviously base power is up, so that’s massive,” he said. “The interface is a big step, we’re having to go a little bit more screens, there’s still analogue there with the tachometer in the main centre (of the instrument cluster).
“It’s the widest base 911, (it has) the GT3 track on it, so in terms of the wideness the platform is very stable.
“All speed range, it’s got four-wheel steer which we had on the 991, but it’s this constant iteration … the power-to-weight has never been better.”
Mr Webber pointed to the 911’s history of reliability and durability when compared to other contenders in the sportscar segment as one of its most impressive features, even claiming it is a favourite model among Formula One drivers.
“I don’t know how many laps I did in Valencia, but I caned that thing lap after lap after lap,” he said.
“And that’s just the base for us, it’s incredible what this thing can do.
“I’ve got buddies that can buy whatever they want, but they always come back to it.
“Most of the F1 guys, they’ve all got the stealth Porsche tucked away because they know it’s never going to let them down.
“There are lot of brands obviously that are amazing, they’ve got good marketing stories, but when you really start to hook into them and drive hard, they can be quite unreliable.
“So that’s how (the 911 has) always been and that’s how they are. They’ve just got such high standards on repeatability, on usage, turn them on, turn them off.”
The new 911 arrives in Australia in April with the Carrera S now pumping out 331kW from its 3.0-litre twin-turbo flat-six engine.
More model grades, as well as the Cabriolet and Targa body styles, can be expected to follow in the coming months and years.
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