It seems Porsche’s 919 has found a hobby to stay busy post retirement from the FIA WEC. The wild championship-winning hybrid prototype has been sight seeing lately, traveling all over the world to give its fans a unique opportunity to meet and greet without any racing events on the schedule this year. A few weeks ago Porsche took a specially modified 919 Hybrid, a model they’re calling “Evo”, to smash the track lap record at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium. This week, they’ve unleashed a four-figure horsepower racer to take a bite out of the Big Apple. This time, however, the purpose wasn’t a mega fast run, or any kind of race through the five boroughs at all. This was a leisurely stroll down a city street with the racer’s street-legal cousin, the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid. Admittedly, this isn’t the Evo car, as it has headlights, Le Mans-spec aero and the ground clearance of a Cayenne, but it would still freak me out a bit to see this pass me on the street.
That fastest of Panameras combines electric power and a giant turbocharged V8 to great effect, making it one of the fastest sedans, or in this case Sport Turismos, in the world. Porsche has really gone all-in on plug-in hybrid technology lately, with two different Panamera hybrid models, and a brand new Cayenne PHEV launched just yesterday. The incredible 918 Spyder proved that hybrid power is a performance boon, and it’s only a matter of time before that highest of tech will be applied to Porsche’s proper sports car lineup. Porsche are spending the gathered knowledge garnered from the 919 program on electrified street cars, and it’s making them better.
That a Le Mans dominating racer like this could even conceivably drive at walking pace on any street, let alone the crazy busy streets of NYC, is a testament to how far the tech has come in Le Mans cars. This is a Porsche that is capable of speeds above 200 miles per hour, and yet it can amble down the street like any other Porsche. If that isn’t a cornerstone of Porsche’s mindset right now, speed without compromising daily usability, I don’t know what is.