The Porsche 919 Evo is still on its tribute tour through America, with the latest installment in the video series showing it drive up the Pacific Coast Highway. What’s more interesting, though, is that it took a van full of computers, a giant antenna and a team of over 25 people just to get the car rolling.
Here’s the video in question, which mostly plays as an unassuming brief of Porsche’s racing history in California, dating back to 1954:
The interesting part of the video, for me at least, is what was playing out behind the scenes.
The ad was shot using the very same Porsche 919 Evo that blitzed the Nürburgring on the stretch of the PCH between Bixby Bridge and Big Sur, according to Porsche, one of the prettiest stretch of road on what’s already a famously gorgeous route. The catch was that the production team was only allowed to shut down the road for three minutes at a time, before having to stop and make way for regular traffic, and they had to do a total of five runs to get all of the footage they needed.
That isn’t even the biggest pain in the ass. Take a look at this photo:
See that Dodge Durango over to the right with all of the wires coming out of it? All of those computers replace most of the onboard computers that you’d typically see in the actual body of a car in an effort to save weight. But in a ‘roided-up race car like the 919 Evo (and, in fact, a lot of LMP1 cars) they’re outside the car entirely. The way it works involves a 50-foot antenna hooked up to the computers, which you can see as the yellow stick to the right of the image above, that beams all of the functional information, like telemetry and whatnot, to the car with a radio signal.
Drive too far away and, well, the car doesn’t like it. To run properly it needs a constant connection.
And that’s assuming you can even get it going. It takes about 25 people to just turn the car on, because the Porsche 919 Evo is more race car than race car.
The final major challenge was handled by the driver on the shoot, Neel Jani. The 919 is a nutjob machine made for the fastest drivers in the world, so it’s not exactly engineered to drive slow very well. Apparently, the car struggles to run under 40 mph, so Jani had to essentially ride the clutch to get it to drive any slower on hybrid power.
The last run of the day, however, was done in all-electric mode, which helped drain the battery so the car could be safely prepared for transport on a plane.
All of this effort to get some beautiful shots and a nice little film, just for you. It’s much nicer to get a behind-the-scenes look at how demanding one of the best WEC champions is to deal with in the real world.