Over the last few months we’ve heard a lot about Porsche’s first all-electric car, the Taycan. Prototypes have been spotted a fair bit in 2019 (and in Andrew Frankel’s case, driven), and then a near-production prototype was seen at the Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard in July. In September it was revealed in full, and since then we’ve driven the Taycan Turbo S and clapped eyes on the less powerful but less expensive Taycan 4S. But that Taycan’s existence, to a certain extent, has to be credited to one car: the 918 Spyder.
The 918 Spyder was Porsche’s first foray into the world of electrification, and without its development it’s hard to imagine the Taycan would have arrived when it did – it was the stepping stone from petrol and diesel power to the battery-powered world we’re drawing ever closer to.
With that in mind we thought we’d take a trip down memory lane with an on board of the 918 Spyder at the Circuit of the Americas, Texas, being hustled by Porsche factory driver and two-time Le Mans class winner Patrick Long. As someone who’s contested Le Mans in Stuttgart’s finest racing machines for the last 16 years, he knows a thing or two about track driving.
The 918’s performance is still staggering: 0-62mph in 2.6 seconds, 0-124mph in 7.2 seconds, 0-186mph in 19.9 seconds and a top speed of 214mph. All of that courtesy of a naturally aspirated 4.6-litre V8 with an electric motor at each front wheel, meaning a total of 875 horsepower and 1,279Nm (944lb ft). What a noise. What a car.