Literally going where no other car has gone before, this heavily modified Porsche 911 climbed 6,734 metres (22,093 feet) above sea level. It was originally a Carrera 4S before getting portal axles to boost ground clearance to an impressive 350 millimetres (13.7 inches). To make sure the go-anywhere sports car wouldn't be damaged while climbing over rocks, it was fitted with sturdy underbody protection made from Aramid fibre.
Three-time Le Mans champion Romain Dumas piloted the adventurous 911 equipped with a pair of carbon fibre seats and five-point harnesses. The engineers modified the PDK by giving it shorter gear ratios to make the acceleration easier to control at low speeds. Another major change was the adoption of steer-by-wire, which Porsche says made the handling more precise on the rough terrain.
Porsche 911 sets altitude world record
The car didn't burn any fossil fuel as the tank was filled with synthetic fuel produced from water and carbon dioxide using renewable energy. Reaching the summit of the west ridge of Ojos del Salado in Chile involved a support car. The two teams had to endure freezing temperatures and thin air. Indeed, the air at that altitude was approximately half as dense as at sea level. That six-cylinder engine is rated at 443 bhp from the factory but given the high altitude, the 3.0-litre boxer was likely pushing out a lot less on its way to the top.
Following two weeks of acclimatisation to the high altitudes, the new record-breaking attempt took place last Saturday, 2 December. The two cars started their journey at 3:30 AM and climbed the summit at 3:58 PM. Because of the difficult conditions with freezing temperatures, thin air, and the remoteness of the area, Porsche had two doctors on location.
The high-riding 911s managed to beat the previous record set in 2020 by a pair of Unimog trucks that reached 6,694 metres (21,962 feet) at the same Ojos del Salado volcano in Chile.