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Porsche Taycan to disrupt car industry: Webber
Mark Webber excited by electrified future with development of Porsche Taycan
8 Feb 2019
PORSCHE development driver and former Formula One racer Mark Webber believes it is an “understatement” that the upcoming Taycan all-electric sedan will disrupt the automotive industry when it arrives in Australia in the first half of 2020.
Speaking to journalists at the Bathurst 12-Hour endurance race, Mr Webber described the driving characteristics of the Taycan, particularly its instant power delivery, as “insane”.
When asked about the differences between the Taycan and its internal-combustion counterparts, he said: “Obviously it’s heavier, because all electric vehicles are heavier, that’s just the way they are.
“The dynamics on that are different obviously, it’s a heavier platform to drive and will still be class-leading in terms of weight, I’m sure of that.
“But when it comes to the torque, the four-wheel-drive, 600 horsepower, the amount of power it has is just insane. So that’s the biggest thing really.”
The Taycan employs permanently excited synchronous motors (PSMs) borrowed from the 919 hybrid racecar on each of its two axles, providing all-wheel drive and a zero-to-100km/h sprint time of “well under” 3.5 seconds, according to Porsche.
Mr Webber said Porsche has been doing extensive development on how the Taycan uses its all-wheel-drive layout, particularly how power is distributed going in and out of corners for maximum grip and acceleration.
“The traction, the drive out of corners, which we’ve done a lot on the distribution of front- and rear-wheel drive, the amount of stuff you can play with is just phenomenal compared with a ‘dinosaur’ combustion layout,” he said.
“I’m used to that with the hybrid with the 919, with the combustion and the E-mode on the front, so we could play with the distribution on that, so we’ve got a lot of experience with that.
“That’s quite fascinating with how the dynamics of entry – yes, it’s still a Porsche, you can steam in there if you want – the exits and the high-speed cornering nature of the car is pretty impressive.”
Mr Webber added that the driving position is “sensational” and similar to the 918 hybrid hypercar released in left-hand-drive markets in 2014, with the visual it gives over the bonnet and wheelarches.
Despite working closely with Porsche on the development of the Taycan and incoming 992-series 911 coupe, Mr Webber said that when testing, there are no specific directives on what feedback the car-maker wants.
“I just give them, as race drivers do, the unfiltered version of what’s going on, because with volume cars you’ve got a different remit of how they consume that information in terms of development feedback, but they’ve been brilliant,” he said.
“The thing about them is you just turn up, there’s no brief, you just go out and thrash it. So that’s the typical Porsche way.
“I was really surprised by that, there was no brief, no ‘oh, we’ll just take care of this, take care of that’, they just want the car to be driven like an absolute racecar, even though it’s an electric vehicle.”
Like PSMs, there are other systems taken from the Le Mans-winning 919 hybrid racecar, such as the 800V battery and the methods of energy recuperation.
“We are very, very excited about the car, it’s going really, really well,” Mr Webber said.
“To say it’s going to disrupt the industry is a bit of an understatement, so we’re very excited.”
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