Automakers love riling off performance specifications of new models, but comparing lap times is a better measure to prove a new car's capabilities. Take the Porsche 911 GT2 RS, for example. Porsche billed it as the most powerful 911 ever produced, but people really started to take notice when it shattered the Nurburgring production car lap record. Motor Trend uses the Willow Springs circuit as a benchmark, and its latest test of the 2017 Porsche 911 Turbo S shows that it approaches hypercar levels of performance.
While filming an upcoming episode of Ignition, Motor Trend’s Randy Pobst set an impressive time of one minute and 24.26 seconds in the Turbo S at Willow Springs. It shows just how much progress Porsche has made when you compare it to the one minute and 27:81 time posted in the previous Turbo S, or the last GT3 which set a time of one minute and 27.22 seconds. Things get even more interesting when you compare it to the 918 Spyder as the times were less than a second apart. The hybrid hypercar posted a time of one minute and 23.54 seconds at Willow Springs, making it only 0.72 seconds quicker than the Turbo S.
It’s surprising given that, on paper, these cars are in completely different leagues. The 3.8-liter twin-turbo flat-six in the 2017 Porsche Turbo S pumps out 580 horsepower, while the 918 Spyder’s hybrid setup brings the output up to 887-hp. Don’t forget, too, that the $190,700 Turbo S is considerably cheaper than the 918, since used examples will set you back around $2 million. With the 911 setting new performance benchmarks, it now makes sense why Porsche is reluctant to build a successor to the 918 any time soon. No doubt Porsche is waiting for the technology to significantly evolve to justify the costs before bringing out a new halo car.