Interview: August Achleitner on the Future of the Porsche 911


We are thinking of a 919 [hybrid Le Mans racer] because this is the combination that is embracing a 911. A 911 must be attractive from the sports driver point of view. It must produce fun in the car and the car has to be fast.

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You had responsibility for the 718 cars as well. Do you ever daydream about putting the biggest, best 911 engines in the 718?

This would not work. In very powerful Boxster cars like the GTS we see some thermodynamic limitations of the car coming with the exhaust system and the special layout, which is a disadvantage for the series production car. Also, the strut rear axle in the 718 works perfectly for up to, let me say, GT4 S in the past, but to install more power in this car, would create really big changes in the rear part of the car to make it suitable and also really fast. You know, if you look at the RSR for example, the racing version of the 911, we changed the concept and made a mid-engine car. But this mid-engine layout was just a necessity of the race tracks, which gave a little bit of an advantage to having a better rear diffuser. So this car is a little bit better in competitiveness compared to the rear-engine car. For the standard 911 production series we will not change it to a mid-engine layout.

Porsche is on record vowing to keep the GT3 models naturally aspirated. How much more power can these engines develop?

Let me just say, we are hard at work on improving it again, but the situation right now is not so easy fulfilling emissions requirements—especially in Europe with a particulate filter. So I expect a small increase in power for the next generation.

Can displacement increase?

Today’s relationship between bore and stroke is optimum. Maybe we try it, but the masses become even bigger with more displacement. So this 4.0-liter today is quite optimum.

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Your competitors are dropping manual transmissions. Might the 911 soon follow?

We will introduce the manual around the end of this year in the 992, and right now, we plan that for the future. Maybe it’s a little more influenced by legal requirements for emissions noise and so on, but for now we don’t want to stop it. The customers want it—especially in the U.S.

Where do you see the 911 fitting in to the electric/autonomous future?

If I compare the situation in 2019 with 2009, I think the future is not so clear. Of course we want to keep the combustion engine as long as possible, especially with the flat-six. I don’t expect the future to be too dark, because I have had several opportunities to test drive the Taycan. And in my opinion, it is one of the sportiest Porsches we have seen. So if you would have asked me two years ago if I could imagine a 911 that was completely electrically driven I would have said no. After several test rides with the Taycan I say it is not impossible.

Might autonomy allow Porsches to show a driver how your own pros would attack a circuit?

Well of course we have some assisted systems, and the Track Precision app, which we will improve for the future. We plan for some interesting next steps. Maybe we’ll go in this way as you described it. And with recommendations of different drivers—for example, Mark Weber. We always look for good solutions which are interesting and fit our sports cars. That is the most important thing.

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