Porsche at the TransSyberia Rally
At a length of over 7,000 kilometres from Moscow to Mongolia via the Urals and Siberia, the TransSyberia Rally served as an endurance test for the Porsche Cayenne S.
The endless expanse of the Siberian taiga flew past the windows of the Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia models in a blur. The rally teams pushed the heavy off-roaders to the extreme, zooming along dirt roads, overcoming muddy water crossings and navigating across the dusty Mongolian steppe. The 7,000-plus kilometre route of the TransSyberia Rally extended from Moscow, the Russian capital, across the Urals and through southern Siberia all the way to Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia: a true endurance test for man and machine. A fleet of 26 Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia cars were among the field in summer 2007, with the two-week rally consistently pushing the drivers to the limit.
For Porsche, the rally adventure from Moscow to Ulaanbaatar was a welcome challenge. The engineers responsible wanted to demonstrate that the Cayenne was not only ideal for city driving, but also that it was a real off-roader at heart. They built a small series of 26 cars that were based on the Cayenne S and featured its 4.8-litre, 385-horsepower V8 engine. Known as the Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia, this model was fitted with a roll cage made from steel tubing and also included bucket seats. In order to cope with water crossings, the air intake was extended up to the height of the roof via a snorkel. The technicians removed the back seats to make room for spare wheels and toolboxes. Instead of a foot-operated parking brake, the Cayenne featured a handbrake located between the front seats. Variable map-controlled ignition ensured that the high-torque V8 was able to take on low-octane Russian fuel without a hitch, and active stabilisers reduced the roll behaviour of the body. In this way, Porsche took advantage of the very tough conditions to test technology for subsequent use in series production.
All three podium places at the 2007 TransSyberia Rally went to Porsche teams, with Rod Millen and Richard Kelsey taking the top spot. In 2008, the Cayenne S Transsyberia even accounted for the first six places – including overall winners Christian Lavieille and Francois Borsotto. At the end of that year, Porsche introduced the Cayenne S Transsyberia special model featuring the 405-horsepower drive from the Cayenne GTS.