KILLER WHALE

Moby Dick returns atop the 515kW GT2 RS

RYAN LEWIS

Again throwing off the shackles and casting the rulebook aside to showcase the extent of its engineering nous. Following the 919 Evo record-breaker, Porsche’s racing division has now created an outrageous, unrestricted 911-based tribute to the iconic 935.

Get in before they are all Taycan

Porsche has put its Mission E concept from 2015 on display in Sydney in preparation for its first fully electric production vehicle, the Taycan, arriving in Australia. Due to land in 2020, Porsche Australia is currently taking expressions of interest’ backed by a refundable $2500 deposit – despite a lack of guidance regarding price or standard spec for the new model. A fast-charging network in eastern states and parts of WA will be pivotal to the roll-out plan for the Taycan’ local debut, but Porsche is yet to announce its charge-provider partner.

Bearing the same three-digit nameplate and the Martini livery of its 1978 forebear, the modern day 935 is a 515kW single-seat track weapon built on the GT2 RS, and unmistakably styled to mimic the car better known as Moby Dick.

The project was developed in complete secret, and met with genuine astonishment from an unsuspecting crowd when revealed last month at Rennsport Reunion, a Porsche motorsport festival in the United States.

The original inspiration

Porsche debuted the 935 in 1976, and it quickly became a force to be reckoned with in Europe and abroad. By 1978 its competitive edge was beginning to wane, leading to a third iteration focused singularly on Le Mans. An 845hp (621kW) water-cooled 3.2-litre engine was developed, and proved monstrously fast (367km/h down the Mulsanne in qualifying was unmatched) but trouble in the race meant eighth was the best Schurti and Stommelen could manage. It mattered little, as by then the legend of Moby Dick was established.

A real secret, and a big surprise,” says Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars.

“The advantage is we could do a lot of things in digital, so no appearance of the car outside. We did all testing in a very small group only in the last weeks. So there was not really a chance to hear something, and then within our R&D centre we are used to keeping our secrets.”

Incredibly, this is not a one-off design study or concept. Porsche is building 77 examples for “clubsport events and private training on racetracks”, priced at 701,948 Euros (A$1.14m) each. Deliveries start in June next year.

Unlimited by road or race homologation, the 935’s engineers had complete design freedom. aluminium-steel with the distinctive extended tail and massive (1909x400mm) rear wing. Aero discs on the wheels are also reminiscent of the 935/78.

“We wanted to keep the aero balance of a Cup car, and so we had to design that,” says Walliser. “[It was] a hell of a lot of work in the aero tunnel and in computer simulations to achieve these aerodynamics.”

Other Porsche racers are acknowledged in the 935’s exterior details, including its integrated LED taillights from the 919 Hybrid LMP1, side mirrors from the Le Mans-winning 911 RSR, and titanium exhaust outlets modelled on the 1969 Porsche 908.

Inside, a timber shift knob harks back to the 917, 909 Bergspyder and Carrera GT, while the steering wheel and data-logging dash are lifted directly from the 2019 911 GT3 R, with a vintage-style boost gauge set to one side

The 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat-six is largely unchanged from the GT2 RS, with the same peak outputs but a louder exhaust note. A sevenspeed PDK transmission sends drive to a race-optimised LSD between the rear wheels.

Only Agate grey is listed on the 935’s colour chart and Martini livery is optional, as is a second seat for a passenger. For those who can get their name on the list, the 935 is surely one of the world’s most desirable toys.

“This is really part of our DNA. Our heart is racing,” says Walliser. “We’re not only a company for 70 years, we’re also racing for 70 years. Every new [street] car is inspired by a race car, so I think that’s just part of the story. It’s part of our daily life. And that’s why it’s important and why we will never stop it.”

RYAN LEWIS