“It started as a ‘what if’”, says J.F. Musial, looking at a record-breaking Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo. “We wanted to drive from the lowest point in America to one of the highest, Pikes Peak - where we’ve spent countless hours filming the famous hill climb.”
Cut to the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo 4S in a deep mine in Michigan, where specialist mining vehicles are usually only allowed to go. You can’t descend 541 metres below sea level in a nickel and copper mine in any vehicle; it has to be electric, to not pollute the tunnels and the workers within them, and it has to be all-wheel drive with sufficient ground clearance. The Taycan achieved these stipulations without any modifications, and even completed the trip on OE road tyres.
Dawn broke just as the Porsche left the mine behind, with the finish line laying over 2000km and six states ahead at the top of Pikes Peak. The summit sits 4302m above sea level so, if the team completed the trip, they’d have travelled over 4800m (three miles) upwards.
The run was measured by Guinness World Record-approved telemetry equipment, so the route and altitude couldn’t be in doubt. Three teams of drivers took turns behind the wheel of Porsche’s 563bhp estate car, including Dai Yoshihara, class winner at Pikes Peak in 2020.
With Yoshihara in the hot seat for the final run up the hill, the pressure was building. Snow was coming in and the mountain road would soon be closed; in the end, the team had a window of just 45 minutes to reach the summit. If anything went wrong, they’d be stuck as the bad weather closed in. And the Porsche was likely running on reduced power by the end, as there’s 40 percent less oxygen at such a high altitude.
The final stats would be impressive in a petrol car, let alone in an EV that needs longer recharge times. The team took 33 hours and 48 minutes, drove 2274km (1413 miles) and ascended 4842.97m. It’s a new world record for the greatest altitude change ever achieved by an electric car. Hey, a record’s a record, even if it is pretty obscure.
“It was among the hardest things I’ve ever done, but I guess that’s why it’s a record!” Musial adds: “Thank you to the teams at Eagle Mine and Pikes Peak, and at Guinness World Records, for supporting what started out as a daydream and ended up being something none of us will ever forget. Now, I need to sleep for a week…”