2015 Porsche 918 Spyder – First Drive


Thanks to this career, I do a minimum of one thing per month that would make my 12-year-old self’s head explode. Being placed in the pits at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in the driver’s seat of Porsche’s latest hypercar-the 918 Spyder, getting ready to chase racing legend Hurley Haywood around the track would surely cause prepubescent cranial combustion. Realistically, it can be my last, although this isn’t my novice in the Porsche 918. And I can’t imagine it getting any better even if it isn’t.is nearly as easy as any other Porsche sports vehicle. I have been sliding inside and outside of Caymans and Boxsters for hours on end before this and, thanks to Porsche not believing in any kind of winged, scissor or otherwise compromised-for-the-sake-of-style doors, I will plop in just like the others. In normal with Porsche’s GTS cars, the seats are sport-bucket style and confirm my less is more philosophy in relation toThe environment is familiar, but more futuristic. Exposed carbon fiber is everywhere, which seems appropriate in a car wrought from the black wonder-weave. The center touchscreen is more smartphone-like. The controls has a rotary controller for driving mode selection as well as the cabin is starker overall than a Cayman. It’s comfortable, but a little more Chris Pine’s Enterprise than Patrick Stewart’s.the real key and a few things whir, a number of beepers beep and lights light-no engine noise. I’m in full electric mode and roll out of the pits as quiet as a mouse on newly greased rollerblades. The front motor produces 129 hp while the rear motor nestled involving the V8 and also the transaxle produces an additional 156. The nature of electric motors means they produce their full 430 lb-ft of torque from zero revs. Porsche claims standstill to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds when burning nothing but electrons. Firing the 608hp, 4.6-liter, flat-crank V8 not just produces a shriek of exhaust noise, but additionally shaves that -60-mph time down to a test-verified 2.4 seconds.just a couple inches wider than the car. Before the tight left-hander, I switch to Race Mode. The engine catches, and crackles of combustion erupt to rattle my helmet. I gingerly roll in the throttle because i pull out. One does not simply jump on a combined 887 hp. My foot keeps falling, since there is no symbol of tire spin. Even though I’ve driven the automobile before, the acceleration is breathtaking and I’m compelled to merely mouth an expletive.around the brakes reminds me that stopping from the 918 is as impressive as going. The original bite just feels a lttle bit wooden, the only telltale from the car’s hybrid-ness. There’s basically no dive under braking, only lots of stopping power. Turn 3 is fairly easy: a small-speed, 90-degree, flat right-hander. I’m nowhere near the limit and feel as though I’m limping on the apex, even though the speed differential between a Cayman GTS and also the 918 should be enormous.A giggle, although back in the gas, and the acceleration is life-changing-no swearing. The shift is merely noticeable because of the blat sound that shoots from the tailpipes. I brush the brakes for Turn 4. Again, it’s completely flat, but this one is deceptive and straightforward to run wide at the exit. I wonder if it’s easy to corner at this speed on street-legal rubber as I burn through Turn 4 faster than I ever have on any tires. I can’t determine if I’m more excited to get driving a 918 or having a front-row seat to Hurley Haywood drifting his 911 Turbo S straight to the edge of the track.I remember the stern warnings about Mazda Raceway’s noise limit. Outside this bend, just up the hill, is one of the great wonders from the modern world: a sound-measuring shack. The noise limit could easily be broken by several cars that are completely legal on any road in the United States. So, why get it? Because people built houses around a racetrack-long after the track itself have been established for several years and then were shocked which it was loud. Anyway, I coast through the corner and upshift entirely into seventh to not upset the fragile feelings of yourI’ve driven a few 1000-plus-horsepower cars, but none of them have felt as fast as the 918 pulling up this hill. In the middle of an upswing is Turn 6, a tiny kink left. It looks easy enough but there’s a nasty bump right with the apex that easily upsets most cars. The 918 seems to have trophy truck-like suspension travel, probably because it isn’t using the majority of it up with body movement, for this type of low-slung machine.The remainder of the climb happens in a flash and before I understand it, I’m standing on the stoppers for the Corkscrew. It’s worth mentioning that the 918 decelerated from 60 mph in 94 feet during testing. Luckily, the car has a little more in reserve as Haywood’s rear bumper has suddenly become huge. It then jukes disappears and left below me as he, i, dive in the one of the most challenging and celebrated corners this side of Eau Rouge. Some cars feel light and simply about fly; the 918 seems to generate its own suckers and gravity itself to the pavement. The bottom of the Corkscrew banks to the right. Together with the 918’s acceleration and natural cornering abilities, this is a whole new experience in g-forces and I’m pushed to the left rear corner from thein every car. It’s near-warp from the 918. I can feel the rear-wheel steering doing its thing here as being the car’s attitude adjusts slightly without steering or throttle input. It’s perceptible, although not distracting.If the speed is way too easy, while pinned to the seatback, letting the car run out on the right before pulling it back to the left for Turn 10, I wonder. The 918 is much faster than even Haywood’s Turbo S, yet I don’t feel like I’m working that difficult. Bearing down on the apex, I prove my own theory as I provoke a bit of understeer with an abrupt lift in the brake pedal and some aggressive steering input. Unwind, patience on the gas and I just kiss the curbing on exit.

Of all of the times I’ve driven here, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten Turn 11 perfect. Today is no different. I apex later than I should and end up sacrificing a bit of speed. Luckily, the 918 has that in spades, and I’m at triple digits before the self-loathing can even let out a sigh.

The straight at Laguna Seca has a kink to the left as well as a quick fall and rise. This is when drivers of really fast cars see God more frequently than the Pope does (unless His Holiness is a regular track rat at Laguna Seca). Inside the 918, it’s a non-issue. Get the line right and it’s simply smooth sailing all the way down for the braking markers for Turn 2.

And so concludes one of the most interesting lap in the 918. While most people won’t ever get to drive a 918 Spyder, they may see the technology trickle over the next couple of years. A hybrid 911 is unquestionably going to happen, and that we already have a plug-in Panamera. It might even be the best version of that big sedan. The notion of a small, high-revving, naturally aspirated engine complemented by the down-low torque of the electric motor should appeal to all enthusiasts. If this is the future of sports cars, sign me up.

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