Porsche ambassador Mark Webber on being a fanboy of the new 911

The retired Formula One Grand Prix racer shares his experience of driving the new Porsche.

Mark Webber pushed the new Porsche 911 to its limits on a final trial around the test track (Photo: Porsche)

First things first: What do you think of the new car?
I’ve driven it on the track and on the street, and I’ve done quite a few test drives with [911 product director] August Achleitner, who is really a bit of a legend, to be quite honest. Porsche continues to defy the odds in finding more stability. The base power is rally high, wider track, longer wheelbase, yet the driving experience is definitely very 911, which is very important. The software and mapping are another big step again. I think it’s the right time to have them and it’s a healthy step forward for the 911.

It feels like this car is an amalgamation of what the 911 once was as well as the kind of engineering and automotive technology that has come out of late.
Definitely. You can see a twist of lemon in there with the nod to the 1970s, keeping the analogue going along with the screens. We wanted to retain a visceral content — the RPM needle with counter is something a lot of people can relate to the 911, for example.

The 911 has always been the car that you can take on track and on the streets. Does that still apply?
Well, yes, but because of the base power it’s really well suited for the track and has tested very well. It’s not a car that hangs around. At Porsche, we never design cars just for the streets as our racing heritage has to stand out very solidly. It is important that we can take it to the track, and many of our owners actually do that. With the Porsche, you run out of fuel and tyres a lot, but not anything else, because all the parts are so tough and last a long time.

What’s your take on Porsche’s Southeast Asian footprint?
It’s a market we really enjoy being in. It’s quite interesting to see more women buying the 911 in that part of the world, too — which shows the versatility of this car, I think.



You must have been to many car shows. Do you have a favourite?
It’s funny you ask that. I’ve been to the Geneva Motor Show quite a few times and, of course, the Los Angeles Show. There’s definitely something cool about being all together in a single venue, that’s for sure. I mean, brands can bring the show to the customers through online presentations, but digital can only go so far — to smell the carburation of a car when you rev it, like we did just now at the world premiere of the 911, is not an experience that you can translate onto a digital platform. Plus, you want to feel the seats and the steering, and really get a feel of your chemistry with the car.

What other marques will you be visiting at the show?
I got into trouble in Geneva for not visiting any other marque apart from Porsche. I’m ferociously loyal, like I am to my wife (laughs).


This article first appeared on Dec 17, 2018 in The Edge Malaysia.


Follow us on Instagram