Blood lines

From Porsche 959 to 918

BACK in 1986 the 911-based 959 was seen as the peak of automobile technology with its 331kW twin-turbo flat-six, six-speed manual gearbox, four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering.

Fast-forward to 2004.

Porsche was in rude health and expressed it with a new mid-engine hypercar, the Carrera GT. The appearance of a nat-atmo 5.7-litre V10 (scored from an abandoned race car) was surprising, as was the manual transmission, just as two-pedal drivelines were taking off. Itís as if Porsche knew this would be its last manual-atmo hypercar chance, the gorgeous woodtopped shifter harking back to the 917 racer of 1970.

The 1380kg Carrera GT of 2004 produced 450kW at a dizzying 8000rpm. Despite early ESP the Carrera GT was difficult to drive; more than one was known to have speared off the road.

For 918, Porsche has taken the Carrera GTís bespoke mid-engine philosophy and welded it to the best of modern technology, using a similar design ethos as the 959ís. Talk about history guiding your future.