When I was a kid, I used to dream about spending the night in a department store. I’d hide somewhere, wait for them to turn off the lights and shut the doors. Then I’d rummage through every floor. On Monday night, when everyone else at my local Porsche showroom had gone home, I got to live out that dream better than I could ever have imagined…
Porsche Centre Willoughby in Sydney, Australia, is currently housing the 918 Spyder that Mark Webber drove around Albert Park during the Australian Grand Prix - it’s a development car, build number 000 of 918, so it’s one of the most special 918s in existence. Last weekend PCW hosted an open day and invited anyone who’s interested to come and see the amazing hybrid hypercar, but as expected, the 918 was roped off so that no one could touch it. Like a motor show unveil, it was so packed that hardly any great photos came out of the event.
Enter lady luck.
I got a call from PCW asking if I’d be interested in some after-hours one-on-one time with the 918 Spyder. How could I refuse? I managed to get to north Sydney just after 6pm, and was let loose in a completely empty showroom where all but one staff member had gone home.
I felt like a kid trapped in a candy store after closing time. As the lone PCW staff member excused himself and went back to his office to continue working (or watching the security cameras to make sure I wasn’t up to no good), I was left free to roam the showroom floor.
I left the office and walked out onto a raised platform, and then, over the railing, I spotted her.
I walked downstairs into the deserted showroom and made a bee-line for the 918.
Carbon everything. It’s not every day that you get to sit in a $2 million car (on-the-road price in Australia). Getting into the 918 isn’t easy thanks to the wide sill, and it looked like lots of people had scratched up the carbon on the way out.
I was able to hear all sorts of electronic wizardry as the 918 started up in electric mode. Rolling it around in the showroom was so strange as the car was almost silent. Flick it to race mode though and the engine comes to life. The little ball-like controller on the right changes data in the right gauge from G-Sensor to tyre pressures and even a lap timer.
I got to hear the beast too. I revved it to 4000rpm, which is the highest you can rev to whilst stationary, but I assure you 4k was more than enough to send electricity through my veins.
She’s not a massive car, but she sure has a huge butt, and those exhaust outlets are just amazing.
I wasn’t able to get the engine covers off unfortunately, but this is still a gorgeous view.
Wide tyres and camber, plenty of it!
Insane lines, and you can really see how much wider the rear is than the front.
Huge internally ventilated and perforated ceramic disc brakes.
It’s a wild livery, one that will surely polarise. I’d seen photos and footage of this car and wasn’t a fan, but in all honestly it’s not so bad in real life.
Since I wasn’t able to open the back, I opened the front!
Jurassic tech?! Porsche gives 918 owners a freestanding carbon stick (felt like Harry Potter’s wand, but in carbon), to which you then have to figure out which holes to put it in to keep the bonnet up. Wild.
I could have literally spent all night locked up with the 918, but after a couple of hours my conscience felt guilty for keeping that one PCW staff member from going home to his family. I grabbed him from his office and one more time we fired up the 918, this time in race mode with evil grins on our faces. We gave it a few more happy revs, then parked it up in it’s final resting space by the window and called it a night.
I left with a huge smile on my face, but at the same time a blue balls-like frustration that I didn’t actually get to drive the car… but where would that end? If I drove it around the block I’d surely be left wishing that I could take it to the track, and if I drove this hypercar around a track, surely I’d want to have one in my garage. Before I got too carried away, I contented myself by just being happy that I got to spend some quality one-on-one time with build 000 of the amazing 918 Spyder.