A spark of enthusiasm
On a bright autumn afternoon at the Porsche Experience Centre (PEC) at Hockenheimring, Dennis Retera climbs into the driver’s seat of a black Porsche Taycan, puts his hands on the steering wheel and takes a deep breath. A little under an hour later, both Porsche instructor Retera and the rear-wheel drive Taycan he’s piloting will have entered the record books, setting an incredible new benchmark for the longest drift in an electric vehicle.
It’s an achievement that owes a debt to meticulous planning, collective expertise and attention to detail. Before the record attempt, a surveyor verifies the distance of the 200 metre-long, 80 metre-diameter course, set within the irrigated driving dynamics area at the PEC, with millimetre precision.
Retera won’t be given the thumbs up to start until Denise Ritzmann, from vehicle inspection company DEKRA, checks that the rear-wheel drive Taycan is a standard, roadworthy vehicle. She will also be ensuring that the Taycan remains in a permanent drift throughout the attempt – something that Ritzmann knows plenty about. She was the European drifting champion in both 2018 and 2019.
And we’re off!
Besides Ritzmann, a stopwatch hanging from her neck, is sat Joanne Brent. The official judge for Guinness World Records has a clicker in her hand to help count the laps. Now, it’s all down to Retera and the Taycan. Firstly, he turns off all the driving stability programmes in order to get the car to drift. As the 34-year-old Dutchman pulls away at the start, he immediately flicks the car into an expertly controlled powerslide. The water begins to halo the now drifting Taycan.
It quickly proves to be the perfect vehicle for the world record attempt. Retera expertly maintains control of the drift by concentrating on steering rather than using the accelerator, which can increase the risk of spinning off the course. Some 55 minutes, 210 laps and 42.171 kilometres later, a beaming Retera and the Taycan have secured the world record for the longest continuous drift in an electric vehicle. He admits to being tired having kept his concentration levels high for nearly an hour while drifting a car at an average speed of 46km/h, but he’s full of praise for his car (Taycan Turbo S: Electricity consumption* combined 28.5 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions* combined 0g/km).
The low centre of gravity and the long wheelbase ensure stability, while the precise design of the chassis and steering allows for perfect control at all times
“Sufficient power is always available,” says Retera, chief instructor here at the Porsche Experience Centre. “The low centre of gravity and the long wheelbase ensure stability. The precise design of the chassis and steering allows for perfect control at all times, even when moving sideways.”
Porsche Taycan: the record collector
The drift record is yet another to add to a growing list for the Porsche Taycan. They include a 24-hour endurance run of 3,425km on the high-speed Nardò Ring in Italy, the best-in-class time of 7 minutes 42 seconds on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife and 26 sprints from a standing start to 200km/h at Lahr airfield in Germany.
“We've had some drift records,” says Guinness World Records’ Brent. “But with an electric sports car, it's something very special for us too.”