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High-Desert shootout in a Porsche 911 Dakar

6-figure brutes lose to Stuttgart's off-road rocket-ship

Mad Max meets Burning Man

A little over two decades ago, a bunch of off-roading enthusiasts decided to create the “ultimate off-road challenge” that would test the abilities and capabilities of the entire spectrum of off-roading—from rock crawling to “closed course/stadium racing” to high-speed desert-floor runs. While this event started as a ‘locals only” competition now, some 25+ years later, the King of the Hammers has become an international competition and cultural phenomenon—complete with multi-week events as part of that culture.  One such cultural event is a shootout on one of the nearby dry lakes, ironically named “Soggy Lake”.

Enter the “Nurburg Ringer”

One of the numerous events in this multi-day high-desert “bacchanal” is the annual Battle of Soggy Lake Invitational. This year marked the 2nd anniversary of the dry lake challenge, and several top off-road professionals showed up with their big-buck racing iron.  Also lining up for competition was a spate of Rivians, a 900hp Weistec-tuned Dodge TRX, a smattering of raucous Ford Raptors, race-prepped Razors, and even a pair of Unimogs! But here’s where this gets interesting; a Porsche showed up.

Not just cool graphics

The limited-edition Porsche 911 Dakar is a salute to the first overall Porsche victory at the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally. While it may not have a push-button activated supercharger like Mad Max’s “Pursuit Special,” it is equipped with a sport suspension that incorporates a lift system for off-road travel. Its 3.0-liter twin-turbo Boxer engine makes 473 hp and 420 lb.-ft. of torque, yielding 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds. The engine is paired with an eight-speed-PDK transmission and sophisticated all-wheel drive, including rear-axle steering. The 911 Dakar can tackle sand and loose gravel especially well. Hence, those in the know were watching this German sled.

Let the games begin

The vehicles were lined up in various multiples for numerous rounds of elimination. When the dry lake dust had cleared on the final round, would you believe that Pram and his Porsche had bested all of the “big name” pros and their mega-fortune machines? But it gets better. After a round of congratulations and some cleaning of his windshield, he then drove his Porsche 911 Dakar back home, dust and all. Quite an auspicious and historical outing for the Porsche marque, and certainly one that compliments the great off-road history of the Dakar.

Driver’s feedback

Last year was Pram’s first outing to the King of the Hammers as a spectator, and his exact words were, “This is crazy!” While waiting to take delivery of his Porsche almost a year later, thoughts started to seep through his mind: would the 911 Dakar be up for the Soggy Lake Invitational? Having just taken delivery before this year’s event, Pram did the math and figured Porsche’s recommended 1500 km break-in would be satisfied on his way up to the event, so at that point, it was “all systems go.”

According to Pram, he didn’t use the “Launch control” feature for the first heat and realized he was losing ground off the line compared to some of the high-dollar competitors. Lined up alongside 7 other vehicles for the final round, Pram used Launch Control in “Off-road” mode and literally watched the competition eat his dust. When asked if he would return next year, he uttered, “Oh heck yeah.” Go get’em Pram.