The Top Gear presenter had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to drive the legendary endurance racer around a track.
Top Gear’s Chris Harris was offered an amazing opportunity: drive the Porsche 919 Hybrid around Spain’s Motorland Aragón race track. The 919 is Porsche’s most recent – and as of now, last – endurance racing hero, a car with an unmatched reputation in and out of racing circles.
Before he was allowed a chance behind the wheel, though, Harris first had to spend time in a specially-developed simulator. This high-tech piece of equipment looks like some sort of joint venture between NASA and Gran Turismo. Indeed, Harris was initially excited to take the simulator for a spin – both in the literal and figurative sense.
His feelings were different when he exited the machine, though. “You look at it and think it’s the ultimate game…it’s not,” he says, before adding “I’d rather be drinking a pint of rancid milk right now.” While the simulator does a good job of preparing drivers for the experience of driving the 919 Hybrid, it’s apparently cramped, hot, and disorienting.
Harris has a markedly better time in the real thing, though. The car reaches 185 miles per hour effortlessly on Aragón’s long back stretch, before slowing down for the next corner. The feeling of the massive downforce created by the car to keep it planted must be like what a fighter pilot feels. Then, the massive boost shoots you out of the corner at an incredible rate of speed – Harris describes it as “savage.”
Harris remarks that “it’s more like a bloody spaceship than a car,” in awe of all of the car’s complicated systems working in concert to deliver this incredible level of performance. Later, he says it’s the most complicated car he’s ever driven.
Like an athlete that retires in their prime, the 919 Hybrid’s legend will continue to grow and grow, right up until Porsche decides to return to Le Mans and show the world how it’s done all over again.