Runway success: launching the 911 Turbo S at Australia's busiest airport

Porsche Cars Australia’s Launch Control event marks one of the most spectacular car launches in recent memory – it took place on a 2.2-kilometre runway

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Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, Sydney Airport was Australia’s busiest airport, hosting 44 million passengers and more than 300,000 flight movements annually across its three runways.

But with passenger traffic down 97 per cent, Porsche Cars Australia managed to wangle one of the runways for the launch of a very special Porsche: the new 911 Turbo S.

Forty eight journalists and guests were given the opportunity to drive along Runway 16L/34R – one of two usually off-limits runways that jut out into Botany Bay. Supervision was provided by Porsche Track Experience instructors, led by Deputy Chief Instructor and Bathurst 1000 champ Luke Youlden.

“I feel like I’ve got the golden ticket to Willy Wonka.” – that’s how one Porsche enthusiast described receiving a ‘boarding pass’ to what may be one of the most exclusive events ever held on four wheels.

The unprecedented launch showcased the all-wheel drive acceleration of the latest iteration of a Porsche legend, in safe and controlled conditions on the expansive 2.2-km stretch of tarmac. With 478kW (911 Turbo S: Fuel consumption* combined 11.1 l/100km, CO2 emissions* combined 254 g/km) from its 3.8-litre twin-turbo boxer six-cylinder, the Turbo S can storm to 100km/h in 2.7 seconds.

While the runway is designed for passenger jets with upwards of 50,000 hp and 300 seats, it also needed to suit a car with 170 kilograms of aerodynamic downforce and suspension designed to lap the Nürburgring.

“We always knew we wanted to do something special to launch the Type 992 911 Turbo S,” explains Belinda Coen, Marketing and Events Manager of Porsche Centre Sydney South, who revealed that more than a dozen stakeholders and months of meticulous preparation went into making sure the event could run safely. “There were numerous site visits before we could all agree it was actually possible. Logistically there are so many things to consider: first and foremost, safety,” she explained.

While the runway is designed for passenger jets with upwards of 50,000 hp and 300 seats, it also needed to suit a car with 170 kilograms of aerodynamic downforce and suspension designed to lap the Nürburgring. “A lot of work went into understanding the length of the runway and the speeds that the vehicle would be able to get to. From there we worked backwards so that we had every situation covered.”

After months of secret work to bring the big idea to life, Launch Control was cleared for take-off. “It was such a unique and special event,” says Coen, “and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that is unlikely to be able to take place ever again.”

911 Turbo S fuel consumption combined: 11.1 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 254 g/km

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Comments (1)

  • That’s a lot of effort for driving on a runway.

    One of the few places to really test a cars potential as it’s way too fast for the road.

    I love it!

      1 month ago
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