It’s always fun to try and find a suitable topic for The Petrolhead Corner, our weekly episodic slice of car-related content. Every Saturday we publish a story that interests us, and hopefully is fun to read for you as well. This week we have a trio of cars lined up all sharing the same badge, but stemming from very different parts of the world. The two cars in question couldn’t be much different though, as we go from a vintage Porsche turned into a Pike’s Peak monster, to a full-fledged electric race car that’s destined for the future! World’s apart, but kindred spirits.
Porsche is one of the most prolific sports car manufacturers in the industry, even though they sell more non-sportscars than actual sports cars. And by non-sportscars, I mean SUV’s and such, no matter how fast they might be. The core of the brand is still very much the 911, but over the past 20 years or so the company has had huge success in taking that 911 spirit into new territories. Cars like the Cayenne, Macan and Panamera have all contributed to the rise of the company. And quite frankly its survival as well, considering the fact the Cayenne almost certainly saved it from going under.
Throughout its history racing has always been at the forefront of the company, and even today it is an important pillar of the brand. It might not be as literal as in the glory days of the 1960s and 1970s, but the saying “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday” still sort of holds up. After all, every car-nut wants to be able to claim they drive a race winning car at one point in life, right? Or is that just me?
Anyway, the two cars lined up in today’s episode of the Petrolhead Corner have one thing in common, both are built to go fast. Like, really fast!
The Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance
Porsche is hard at work at once again having a big influence on the future of cars and motorsports. Not only is it working on synthetic (racing) fuels that could potentially save the internal combustion engine from extinction, but it is also heavily invested in the development of electric drivetrains. Through its partnership with Rimac for instance, and through the development of cars like the Porsche Mission R concept vehicle. This radical piece of engineering shows what Porsche is capable of at this very moment, and also what lies ahead for more consumer-friendly racing or sports cars.
The Mission R is a testbed for new technology, parts of which are destined to trickle down into cars you and I could potentially buy. The company has had an eye out for customer cars in racing as well, which is where the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance is coming in.
With the combination of the proven Cayman 718 GT4 Clubsport chassis and the Mission R’s drivetrain, the Cayman 718 GT4 ePerformance is shaping up to be one hell of a machine. The performance is blistering, thanks to its 600 horsepower all-electric drivetrain derived from the Mission R. With just 1,500 kilos to push around, you can expect it to be properly fast. If so desired, the peak output of the Permanently Excited Synchronous Machine can be upped to 1,088 horsepower. Imagine all that power, in a car that weighs about the same as a modern-day SUV?
And it’s not just the engine where Porsche is pushing the envelope either. The body is made from natural fibre composite material, which reduces the carbon output in the production process compared to standard body panels. Recycled carbon fibres are used all around, and even the Michelin tires are (partially) made with renewable materials. It’s a valiant effort to cut down on CO2 emissions whilst still being able to offer a proper racing machine and tech that we will likely see in our road cars further down the line. At the moment the capacity is still its limiting factor, as the car’s batteries are depleted after a 30 to 40-minute race. Still, it must be something quite something if we were to judge Chris Harris’ response to test-driving the car:
The Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance is intended for a one-make racing series somewhere down the line, much like the Porsche Carrera Cup is fielded with 911s. It was presented during the Goodwood Festival of Speed earlier this year, which kickstarted a world tour for the car.
For more information, please check out Porsche Newsroom.
Ken Block’s Hoonipigasus
For the YouTube generation of Petrolhead’s the name Ken Block surely is a familiar-sounding one. This American automotive hooligan is a professional rally and rallycross driver running the Hoonigan Racing Division. He’s also made quite the name for himself on YouTube through his Gymkhana series. He’s had an extensive partnership with Ford, which allowed him to build some of the most radical Ford-based rally-prepped cars. Now tied with Audi for a developmental electric program, Ken Block is set to tackle the legendary Pike’s Peak “race to the clouds” in a…. Porsche! Something he did before, drifting a 1965 Ford Mustang (body only) called the Hoonicorn up the road.
But not just any old Porsche as you can imagine, but a wild and fully purpose-built car called the Hoonipigasus. I am convinced it will rub some avid purists the wrong way but this thing is absolutely mental. Consider it a heavy, greasy hamburger that you know is not the best for you but so darn tasty that you can’t resist it. It’s wild, it’s pink and it surely looks to be brutally fast too!
The Hoonipigasus (what’s in a name!) is based on a classic Porsche 911, something that’s perhaps best identified through the roofline of the car and the headlight set-up. The rest of the car is far from stock as you can see. It produces a monstrous 1,400 horsepower through a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre flat-6 engine from a 2016 Porsche 911 GT3 R race car. The extreme aero kit is what’s needed to keep a car like this planted as it races up the famous Colorado mountain.
And that pink paint job? That’s done by Trouble Andrew, a Canadian artist, and musician former Olympic snowboarder. The inspiration behind the livery is the pink shell of the legendary Porsche 917-20, otherwise known as the Pink Pig for its unusual butcher-style graphics. This is mixed in with artwork by Trouble Andrew himself, and elements taken from previous cars by Ken Block. So if you take that Pink Pig inspiration, Ken Block’s Hoonigan Racing Division, and the legend of Pegasus (the winged horse from Greek mythology), the Hoonipigasus name suddenly starts to make sense.