Wall of text after the jump!
Those of you who follow me on Instagram would have already known this post was coming. In fact, I also re-posted it to the Opponauts instagram! Speaking of, interest in that page (which has only been around since August) got off to a decent start but now seems to have completely fallen off the face of the earth - what’s up with that? Let’s get something going again! Or have you all forgotten it exists in general?
Before you ask, no this is not the #17 car that completed this year’s 24 Heures du Mans. It is, however, a 1:1 scale model of the very 919 Hybrids that did compete in this year’s WEC season and is one of thirteen examples produced by Porsche globally. All of them are privately owned, and this example is courtesy of Porsche Canada; some of you might even agree that it is wearing the best livery available.
Disappointingly, these are only rolling chassis without a functioning powertrain (or a buck, as described in the industry) but even still the detail is astounding. It’s rare that these models ever leave the factory, let alone be displayed in a very public setting (make no mistake, those “do not touch” labels did little to no good) and it takes a very special dealer-manufacturer relationship to even make something like this happen. Actually, some of you may recall that Porsche Asia-Pacific auctioned one of these very models away for charity during the annual French classic, and more details can be found on the listing below.
But the burning question: why is it here?
Backtracking a bit, let’s first answer the who. And who other than Porsche Centre Oakville (PCO) could realistically make something like this happen; they are one of Ontario’s, if not Canada’s, top Porsche dealerships when it comes to sales volume, edging out the downtown branch (or so I’d like to believe). First it was the release of the 991.1 Carrera and 981 Cayman ranges that really made use of their brand new facilities in Oakville (duh). Then came the 991 GT3s that were so popular, and at times customers were bouncing between PCO and PFAFF just to get their hands on these.
Next came the 918 Spyders, nearly every one of which I’ve seen come exclusively from this dealership (minus the one that burned down early on – that one I’m not too sure on). We all recall what happened when news broke that Porsche had created the 991 GT3RS and 981 Cayman GT4; the automotive enthusiasts around the world went mad yet the guys and gals at PCO didn’t break a sweat. Sure enough, as soon as the delivery trucks arrived carrying these unicorn cars, dealership drop-off photos started spreading like wildfire across all the Facebook car spotting groups.
It took less than a month from the time those photos went live before I started seeing GT3s and GT4s out in force, with some showing up at CTMP (Mosport) during the larger events, although in a more static capacity. Now that I think about it, none of the owners I’ve talked to really have had anything negative to say about the dealership and they all wear the PCO plates proudly. Clearly PCO has it down when it comes to Porsche’s road car divisions, but wait – there’s more.
Partnering with Alegra Motorsports, Porsche Centre Oakville has also had a successful season in the IMSA-sanctioned Porsche GT3 Cup Canada series, running none other than the brand new 991 GT3 Cup. The season started off a tad rough but by the end they had beaten PFAFF Motorsports by the slightest of margins, claiming the Platinum class championship from the reigning holders (although they did lose the Gold title to PFAFF). In fact, the driver who holds that honour (Daniel Morad) was drafted away by a UK-based team to test a GT3 Cup car at Silverstone less than a month after he won the title, so there’s that.
Come the 2016 season, they will also be debuting the recently announced 981 Cayman GT4 Clubsport with its PDK goodness, although how they’ll work out the BOP is beyond me – not my problem, thankfully!
And now back to the why: I hope the blurb above has given you a bit of insight on PCO and why Porsche Canada may have selected them to run this quirky new E-Performance Pop-Up event. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the partnership with Yorkdale Shopping Centre, one of Canada’s largest splurging arenas (seeing a trend here?). Porsche themselves pulled a similar stunt back at the 2015 Canadian International Auto Show with the Panamera E-Hybrid, and if my calendar-maths is correct, then that means it’s almost Auto Show time again (February 2016) so the timing couldn’t have been better.
This time around they’ve chosen to show off the Cayenne E-Hybrid, but surely that’s not the reason you would brave the traffic and parking-lot madness to come see. No, the majority of us would have made the trip to come see the car that was parked beside it – even if it is only but a model, knowing that a design exactly like this went on to claim the pole position at every event in the 2015 WEC season, and later the championship, is captivating enough.
The actual 919 Hybrids are prototypes built upon a carbon fiber, aluminum honeycomb core. At its heart is a turbocharged V4 powerplant producing over 500 hp that is sent through the 7-speed sequential transmission to the rear wheels. Supplementing that is a lithion-ion battery system that feeds electric motors in-line with the front axle, adding another 400 hp (approx.) and giving the car a KERS function. All that in a car that is highly aerodynamic, weighs (at minimum) 870 kg, and has a Vmax of over 330 km/h.
This model has none of that. Instead we are looking at a resin model, although a nearly perfect 1:1 re-creation at that, with some shared components – the forged magnesium wheels and Michelin radials, for example. The resin alone accommodates for a hefty majority of the 500 kg claimed weight, and given that I’m a bit skeptical about Porsche’s claims that you can wall-mount this thing… but then again, not my car!
But so what if it’s just resin and not carbon – the details are all still there (mostly)! From my initial inspection, the livery appears to be spot on – however there are visible scratches under certain lighting, and the overlap is noticeable in some fine areas such as the winglets, but at that point we’re just nitpicking. The whole point of these models is to step back and appreciate the engineering, to celebrate Porsche’s return to the top class of motorsports with technologies that are proven to be successful and applicable to our everyday lives.
My apologies if this post appeared to have no flow whatsoever… its exam time and all, so I really should be getting back to those books. I hope you enjoyed what I’ve been able to shoot! I feel like I overstayed my welcome here… after every few shots I just stepped back and fell into a silence, just admiring the beauty in all the details. Well, that and I was waiting for people to move out of the shot… but hey, being polite and all. It’s not easy shooting through panes of glass and bad lighting. A model is great but it’s still no match for the real thing – maybe I’ll make the trip down to COTA next year; better yet, hopefully they bring one to CIAS!
Porsche Centre Oakville will be at Yorkdale Shopping Centre with it’s E-Performance pop-up event until December 13th, so if you have any interest in seeing the cars you better do it soon!
And yes, this is one of those malls with a Tesla storefront in it. Just putting that out there.