A new Porsche 911 variant is on the horizon, but this won’t be another track special, instead, it's built to keep going when the pavement ends. After watching the aftermarket capitalize on the Porsche 911 “Safari” trend for decades, Porsche is finally building an off-road capable 911 you can purchase from the factory. Rumors state that instead of calling this new trim the 911 Safari, Porsche may choose to call their off-road creation the 911 Dakar instead.
Rally racing is embedded in Porsche’s DNA. In the early days of Porsche and especially the 911, rally racing was the brand’s forte where it would send lightly modified cars to take on the toughest races on earth. One such event was the East African Safari Rally. In 1972 Polish rally driver Sobieslaw Zasada piloted a lightly modified Porsche 911s to second place in this incredibly harsh environment. Zasada only had one support mechanic and many onlookers thought the Porsche 911 didn’t stand a chance to finish let alone place on the podium. Instead, this tenacious 911 became an icon.
Porsche’s rally excellence extended to the creation of the 959 Supercar which was built for the Group B rally. The Porsche 959 Dakar was built to take on the grueling Paris-Dakar rally that extends for over 8,000 miles and covers some of the most inhospitable places on earth. In 1986 the Porsche 959 finished first and second at the Paris-Dakar rally with a third 959 finishing in sixth place.
When it comes to building an off-road capable 911 that pays homage to Porsche’s rally past, it’s hard to really care about the name since the car itself is so exciting. 911 Safari or 911 Dakar? To us, it hardly matters as Porsche has enough racing heritage to warrant bot names for the separate model if it wanted.