It’s not every day that an undisguised but as yet still secret new Porsche hits the public roads … Yet, just before its reveal, a Carmine Red Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo was being driven around the streets of Los Angeles, with a crew of six photographers and videographers capturing every detail of every gleaming curve.
To understand why, it is necessary to rewind a little, and get a handle on what has been taking place this week in the Golden State. It’s LA Auto Show time and, in a city known for stars of the silver screen, five four-wheeled ones have just been unveiled on the Porsche stand. The new Sport Turismo is among those that have since been driven by the world’s media on the streets and race tracks of Southern California.
Mayk Wienkötter, Porsche’s Spokesperson for Model Line Taycan and E-Mobility, explains: “There’s an extraordinary Porsche scene here in California, not to mention a huge EV community. When you think of the incredible history that Porsche has here, and how strong a market it is for us, how could we do it anywhere else? And then, in order to support the media who are covering the launch, and whose time is limited, we’ve been out capturing the best images for them, in order to make their lives easier.”
So, here the team is, just after sunrise on a balmy LA morning, doing a bit of precision driving in close formation with a pair of minivans filled with J.F. Musial’s crew of photographers, Marc Urbano and Andi Hedrick, and a video team made up of Sam Rojas and Alex Fuller. “A foot closer. Hold it there. That’s great. Steady. Getting ready to change lanes to the left. Indicate on three. Five. Four. Indicate. Two. One. Action.”
Musial’s calm instructions come over the radio as the low-speed equivalent of air-to-air refuelling is carefully executed. Off-duty LA Police Department officers on motorbikes, contracted for the Downtown LA bit of the job, are there to make sure that everything goes smoothly and safely. It’s not a quick process, despite the feverish work rate of the talented American photographic crew, and hours of intense concentration are required before the team can break and, quite literally, head for the hills.
The Taycan makes effortless work of the coarse surfaces of the freeways, gliding in virtual silence north up to an Electrify America charger in Santa Clarita and a lightning-quick charge from 20 to 80 per cent. Indicated range is back up to north of 320 kilometres – and the team will need it where they’re going.
The Taycan makes effortless work and glides in virtual silence
Up into the mountains they head, past signs warning of the requirement to carry snow chains that seem unlikely to the tourist when you think how recently the crew was in the 35 degree heat of the City of the Angels. More police officers are waiting, this time on-duty and from the California Highway Patrol (better known from TV and film as CHiPs) and in their lights-, radio antennae- and bull bar-equipped – and unmistakeably liveried – patrol cars.
They temporarily close each end of a sinuous ribbon of road, and the speeds of the synchronised driving pick up a little compared to in the city. After each five minute run, waiting traffic is let through as the crews re-set for the next angle. Absolutely consistent line and speed is required as the Taycan closes in on one or other of the tracking vehicles, with the utterly linear power delivery of an EV being a welcome bonus in this case. Close passes are sometimes required for the cameras, which in turn require a “Negative, Ghostrider the pattern is full” exchange over the radio. It’s hard work, but an extraordinary privilege to be driving a car like this on a road like this, with police officers keeping it closed at each end.
Too soon, Musial and his crew indicate they’ve got enough footage and the team heads to Willow Springs Raceway, a fantastically entertaining circuit cut into the side of a hillside just north of the city of Lancaster. It has huge history, having been around since 1953, and visitors can almost hear the echoes of old Porsche 550 and 911 racers, with drivers like James Dean, Steve McQueen and Paul Newman at the wheel, echoing off the walls of the old pink circuit buildings.
Today, however, the horsepower is all-electric, and in abundant supply, and the Taycan GTS sedan, in Crayon (or Chalk if you’re in the US) is being driven by Porsche GT3 Cup racer and racing instructor Tiresa Locklear. Back to Wienkötter, who is there checking everything is in order: “We’re at Willow because it can bring out the capabilities of the new Taycan GTS in a very good way. It’s the first time we’ve launched an electric sports car at a race track. We’ve showcased the Taycan’s range and usability before, because everyone knows that a Porsche will be good on the circuit, but the GTS is the perfect reason to show just how good …”