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Now departing: flying Porsche's 911 Turbo S at 306km/h

By Tim Robson, 31 Oct 2020 News

306km/h in Porsche’s manic 911 Turbo S... at Sydney Airport

Welcome to one of the shortest but fastest test days ever - 306km/h aboard the insane Porsche 911 Turbo S at Sydney Airport

It was only the morning after that I really started to get a sense of what I’d put my old, soft and squidgy body through. The base of my neck ached dully, the hollow pain etching its way across my shoulder blades.

My lower back simply just hurts, while my innards are still a little skew-whiff from the pummelling I gave them the previous day. And it all happened in the space of less than three minutes.

Was I wrestling lemurs? Moving a fridge single-handedly? Losing a fight with a pre-schooler?

Nope. I topped 306km/h on runway 34R at Kingsford Smith International Airport, aboard a car that balances its demonic side with docile precision like few others can – the Porsche 992 911 Turbo S.

The legend of the Porsche 911 Turbo S runs deep – it's not as hardcore as a GT3 or something from the RS stable but several rungs above the Carrera and capable of astonishing speed that doesn’t come at the expense of civility or longevity.

Previously, Turbo S launches have occurred in places where the car has a fighting chance to stretch its wings – but with the majority of the country still labouring under border restrictions, the wings metaphor was taken more literally. Far more.

The sense that today is going to be a bit special is obvious by the sheer number of motor noters assembled at gate 16 – and they're all early, too.

Visible past a wall of wire and a veritable sea of high-viz lays 2438m of 50m-wide tarmac, and there isn’t an aeroplane in sight.

MORE The 911 Turbo S at PCOTY

2020’s impact on travel is no more obvious than at Sydney Airport, with flight movements cut by 90 percent. “There are usually a thousand operations a day," said Matt Duffy, GM of operations and the man charged with ensuring the ground-bound missiles didn’t wreck things for everyone else. "Now there's about 100."

Duffy's job is to ensure that what's taken onto the runway - known as 'airside' - comes back off. That means no phones, no GoPros... not even loose change.

“A two-dollar coin is enough to kill a jet aircraft engine,” he tells us, adding that his team will sweep the entire runway for foreign objects once we’re done.

Today’s event is a brief taste of the heroics that the Turbo S is capable of. It’s got more of everything in 992 guise; more tech, more power and more torque, and the flight mission today is a simple one; crack 300km/h on a flying 1000m (and a bit) flyby.

Bathurst winner Luke Youlden leads a who’s-who band of top-gun race drivers who’ll each take one for the team and saddle up with us hacks for the attempts.

“It’s a bit wind-dependent,” he tells us during a recce. “A headwind really knocks the pace out.”

How fast has he managed to go during recce and set-up? “Oh, about 320,” comes the casual reply. Jeepers.

I strap in with Toyota 86 Series champion and Supercars racer Tim Brook, who runs me through the procedure. For a car with so much raw potential, it’s surprisingly simple.

“Okay, so Sport Plus Mode, and really hold the brake,” he tells me. “Then hit the overboost button as you quickly floor it, and that’ll give you more boost for 20 seconds. When you’re ready, hop off the brake.”

‘More?’ I quietly wonder to myself, before my stream of consciousness is utterly shattered by the full-blooded departure of the car ahead of us in the queue. 

As the air is rent with an anguished wolverine howl, the rear of the Turbo S explodes into agitated life, the huge rear tyres momentarily shifting the car to the left as it squats on its fat haunches and exits stage-forward like it’s been shot from an aircraft carrier’s catapult. I mean… it just got the hell out of there.

I’m already swearing, we haven't even nudged onto the horizontally grooved blacktop (designed to prevent water sitting on the surface), and I'm wondering just what the next ten seconds will bring.

MORE Performance testing the Porsche 992 911

It’s a lot to take in, and the environment is one I’ve only seen as I gaze idly out the window of 14A, wondering whether I should Uber home or catch a train.

The sheer width and the uniformity of the runway means it’s harder to use visual cues, while its sheer length means it looks like it goes on forever. Which it doesn’t.

Tim walks me through the steps again, and I dutifully comply. Throttle pinned, the 911’s 3.8-litre flat-six holds steady at 5000rpm, building boost like floodwaters at a levy wall, before…

PHWOOOAAAFF.

Honestly… I can’t wrap my head around a metaphor that perfectly describes the silken, relentless viciousness that pummels my neck, back and guts as the Turbo S’s brutal wave of pure thrust effortlessly flings us toward the other side of the world.

Several swear words slip my lips as we missile at the 400m board, which we pass in the snap of the fingers. Even Tim, whose body will be subjected to these 1.3G launches all day, is grinning.

“Okay, loop around here and we’ll go for 300,” he says, as I gather my wits and try to take it all in.

The $473,500 Porsche 911 Turbo S is a power monster, packing 51 more kilowatts and 50 more Newton-metres than the previous one – and that was batshit crazy enough.

With 478kW (more than a modern Supercar racer) and 800Nm up its 3.8-litre twin-turbo sleeves, the Turbo S now does the 100km/h dash in 2.7 seconds every day of the week and as many times as you need on a Sunday.

Unfortunately, the high-vizzers have banned our Vbox from the cockpit, but my neck is telling me we did that and more.

“Okay, we’re going to roll around to the start of the runway again, and I want you to come onto the track at about 60km/h,” says Tim. “Once we get the okay, give it the berries.”

Deep breath. Eyes forward. And… thwack. We’re up and away. The scenery whips by and the 992’s digital speedo ratchets up in tens, whirling numbers like a Vegas slot machine.

The 200km/h mark passes in what seems like no time, and Tim shouts – the engine noise has been replaced by a chilling, whistling scream from the grooved tar – “stay in it! Stay in it!” as 280km/h, then 290km/h roll up.

Then it’s 300km/h and up to 306km/h before I brake firmly, the Turbo S hunkers in – thanks, ironically, to the rear wing and front splitter acting as air brakes - and we take Charlie 4 to exit the fun zone.

And that’s it. But… Jesus. What a rush.

I can’t tell you much at all about the way the 992 Turbo S drives, other than it’s no more complex to interact with than a 911 Carrera.

The 420mm/390mm carbon brakes work just brilliantly, and the engine is astonishingly strong.

The eight-speed PDK gearbox did its own thing, too… and aside than its otherworldly pace, you’re going to have to wait until we get one into the garage to explore this incredible machine's potential further.

Me? Not sure I’ll need to have another go. My glimpse into its monumental abilities has been a privileged one, and if i need to leave it right there, then I'll be happy with that.