Driving the Porsche 918 Spyder was not what Patrick Long expected. “It just rips,” says the Porsche factory driver, hours after after having driven the million-dollar plug-in hybrid for the first time, at Circuit of the Americas in Austin.
His excitement was palpable.
“It’s loud, it’s high revving, it’s like a sports car from 20 years ago in the sense of emotion,” he says Long. “Because I thought I was going to get into it and it would be like a video game. But I didn’t even think about any of the technology. I was just like, ‘Man, this is good.’”
Porsche brought a group of journalist out to Austin to test the 918 Spyder. We each got five laps, one for each of the car’s different drive modes, which vary the way the two powerful electric motors work in conjunction with the car’s rear-mounted, high-revving V8 engine.
As Long made it clear, the 918 Spyder is stunning to drive. But the real joyride came when he and Porsche test driver Timo Kluck, who provided feedback to engineers during the development of the 918 Spyder, gave hot lops at Circuit of the Americas.
I road shotgun with Long, who recently won the 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race in Porsche 911 RSR with teammates Joerg Bergmeister and Michael Christensen. He and Kluck were driving all-out, getting the cars within inches of each other in some of the turns.
To say it was a thrill wouldn’t do the experience justice. I think I left my soul in the paddock after we blasted from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than three seconds.
The footage I shot of it, which you can watch below, doesn’t really convey the euphoria of it all, but my giggling early in the video kind of does.