Known as the F9, the car is rough around the edges and lighter than most 959s which helps give it modern supercar performance.
April 16, 2023 in 12:05 a.m. ET
An epic supercar battle unfolded in the late 1980s between the Ferrari F40 and Porsche 959. With analog brute force, the F40 competed against computerized 959s on the road and track and in games such as Duel: Test Drive secondly. Ferrari was considered more performance-oriented than Porsche. However, that equation changed with the 959 Sport.
Henry Catchpole recently had the opportunity to drive a Porsche 959 Sport on a loop driver’s seat. Known as the F9, it is one of the first prototypes of the 959 and arguably one of the fastest 959s ever built. Most 959 Sports are around 100 kilograms, or about 220 pounds lighter than 959 Comforts, but the F9 is believed to be 200 kilograms lighter, or about 440 pounds.
In addition to the car’s lighter weight, the 959 Sport received a more powerful version of the twin-turbo flat-six, which saw output increase from 450 bhp to 508 bhp. With the all-wheel drive system, performance has been astonishing even today, including a 0-60mph time of 3.6 seconds and a sprint to 100mph in just 8.3 seconds.
As a prototype, the F9 is a bit rough around the edges. It has been used to test transmissions in climates as diverse as Sweden and Algeria. It lacks the 959’s standard exhaust tailpipes, which deal with the regular twin-exhaust-like pipes of a classic muscle car. There are about a dozen other minor differences, including a differently shaped spoiler, lack of headlight washers, and some distinctly handcrafted parts.
Overall, the jagged edges add character. However, it is a complete car that is easy to take for granted when driving due to the quality of its performance. But what makes it amazing is that the 959 has competed in a wide variety of events, including the Paris-Dakar Rally and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The F9 was recently listed for sale with Girardo & Co at an undisclosed price. Ordinary Porsche 959s rarely come up for sale, and when they do, they fetch between $1.5 and $2.0 million. Special editions like the surviving prototypes commanded a lot of money. As the fastest 959 ever to leave the factory, the F9 is a very special car indeed.
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