On 9th November 2017 a solitary Cayenne S rolled slowly out of Montevideo on the southern shore of Uruguay, heading east along the coast road towards Punta Del Este. Ahead of it lay an unprecedented adventure involving almost 12,000 miles of challenging driving through no fewer than 15 countries, traversing both South and Central America to a final rendezvous in Mexico.
A full two months later, in a caravan of Porsche cars from across the ages, it rolled into the Porsche Centre Interlomas a few miles west of downtown Mexico City, its red, white and black motorsport livery filthy beneath a thick layer of grime and dust. And behind the wheel, filthy beneath another thick layer of grime and dust, was none other than urban outlaw Magnus Walker.
How did this all begin? Latin America is a notoriously difficult place to drive, with extremes of heat, rain and altitude all playing their part on the trails and highways, over the volcanic mountains, pampas and deserts that link the numerous countries and their differing, demanding topographies. What better a place, then, to say farewell to the second generation Cayenne, just as its latest evolution rolls out into global markets?
The Cayenne S chosen for the challenge would weave its way through Uruguay towards Buenos Aires in Argentina, before heading south to the idyllic Bariloche. From there, the car crossed the Andean Mountain Range to Temuco, in Chile, where it witnessed the last race of the Cayman GT4 Challenge.
Next up, was a journey north, to Santiago de Chile, before the Andean Mountain Range was crossed again before a stop in the wine region of Mendoza (Argentina). Later, the expedition would move on to Paraguay and Bolivia, where it reached its highest point of 3,812 metres at Lake Titicaca.
Multiple engagements had to be met along the way, with national media lined up for both conferences and driving legs on the route itself, for photo calls and filming opportunities. The schedule was tight and delays impossible. Some parts of the journey would take the Cayenne so far from civilization, with so little time to spare, that the team onboard were simply forced to sleep in their seats.
The men and women behind this epic journey faced bureaucratic challenges of a similarly monumental nature to the physical, struggling to arrange border permits and plot a route with sufficient access to high-grade fuel, or just fuel of any description. They also had to organise countless meetings along the way with members of local Porsche Clubs, creating extraordinary and improbable convoys along some of the remotest driving roads in the world.
The Cayenne’s V6 bi-turbo never missed a beat, however, taking the heat, altitude and occasional tank of less-than-ideal fuel in its stride. Rough going on broken trails and unmade roads was equally well met, with the team of drivers at the helm always assured of their car’s remarkable depths of capability and peerless build.
The route snaked on through Peru and Ecuador, meeting friends of the Porsche family at every stop, finding incredible hospitality along the inhospitable roads that pierce through rough deserts or wind around snow-capped mountains.
Magnus Walker participated for the first time in the Cayenne Expedition driving in Colombia from Bogota to Medellin. In Cartagena, on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, a container was met to ferry the Cayenne to Colon in Panama, where it would pick up the road once more through the cultural kaleidoscope of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
After over two months of solid, faultless driving through some of the most stunning and challenging landscapes the world has to offer, the team finally climbed into Mexico City, to a hero’s welcome.
"We were very confident that the Cayenne S would achieve the goals we set for ourselves with this expedition," said George Wills, President and CEO of Porsche Latin America, “and now we are happy to have written another page in the success story of our sports car in the premium SUV segment.”
What began as a challenge for the Cayenne became a unifying journey for Porsche itself, connecting disparate members of the family across borders, obstacles and time zones. A life-changing journey through the unknown, on which car and crew never felt more at home.