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Porsche Boxster 981 Bergspyder is a sublime racecar tribute

By Chris Thompson, 03 Jun 2019 News

Porsche Boxster 981 Bergspyder racecar tribute feature

Open-top driving nirvana in the form of a modernised Bergspyder

A naturally aspirated flat six, a manual gearbox, a 1099kg kerb weight, and 289kW to propel it. Is the Porsche 981 Boxster Bergspyder the ultimate open-top enthusiasts machine? Surely it’s not far off.

Porsche has now let the world in on the details of its one-off experimental tribute to the original Porsche 909 ‘Bergspyder’, a 384kg racer that remains the lightest car ever raced by the Stuttgart brand.

Four years ago, Porsche’s board told a handful of engineers and designers to create 981-based sports car with a focus on being “as light and minimalist as possible.”

“For the engineers, the name for the project was obvious: 981 Bergspyder.  Deciding on the choice of colour was also quick: white with green touches.”

The team took a 981 Boxster and used the 1968 racer as inspiration in more ways than just the name, with a single-seat configuration and low wrap-around windshield being the most obvious nods to the past.

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Details from the 918 Spyder also made their way into the 981 Bergspider, with dash elements and the seat originating from the hybrid hypercar.

But it’s the weight and mechanical aspects of the 981 Bergspyder that make it such a hypothetical driving dream, with a kerb-weight to rival an ND MX-5, a 3.8-litre flat six providing 263kW-per-tonne… and of course a six-speed manual ‘box. Its tacho would also suggest a 9000rpm redline.

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Porsche says the Bergspyder would have been able to lap the Nürburgring in 7:30 but, unfortunately, Porsche’s frustratingly sensible bean-counters put a halt to any further development of the Bergspyder project.

“A major question mark remained as to whether the car would be eligible for registration in some countries, which would have an impact on potential sales. As a result, the project was not pursued and the prototype remained a one-off.”