Watch: Porsche breaks towing world record
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As world record attempts go it may strike many as plane bonkers.
But a British driver has accelerated into the Guinness Book of Records by successfully towing a 285-tonne Airbus A380 superjumbo - the biggest passenger aeroplane on the planet – using a standard Porsche Cayenne sports utility vehicle (SUV).
And that was after the UK Porsche team behind the record-breaking attempt drove the car – more usually seen on school runs - from London to Paris to carry out the feat.
The German 4X4 , driven by Porsche GB technician Richard Payne, towed the giant Air France double-decker aircraft over a distance of 42-metres at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, to set a new Guinness World Records title for ‘Heaviest aircraft pull by a production car’.
It beat the previous record by a margin of 115-tonnes.
The new Guinness World Records title was set by a 252kph Cayenne S Diesel costing $181,500 whose 4.1litre V8 engine produced 385hp of pulling power – the equivalent of around four Ford Fiestas. The exercise was then repeated using a 283kph Porsche Cayenne Turbo S costing $307,000.
A far cry from towing the standard caravan, trailer or horse-box, the Porsche Cayenne was connected to the Airbus A380 via a special attachment that sat on the vehicle’s standard tow bar.
Slowly but surely as Porsche’s Mr Payne pressed down on the accelerator, the Cayenne carefully pulled away with the giant passenger plane edging forward inch by inch behind it and then gradually picking up the pace as both car and aircraft gained in momentum.
Mr Payne, a technician at Porsche GB, who drove the record breaking car said: ‘It did it – I’m so relieved! We don’t usually go this far to test the limits of our cars but I think today we got pretty close. I could tell that it was working hard but the Cayenne didn’t complain and just got on with it. My mirrors were quite full of Airbus, which was interesting.
‘Our cars can go a bit beyond what our customers might expect – they’re designed to be tough. But even so, what the Cayenne did today was remarkable.
‘We drove the car here from London – and I plan to drive it home again, having towed an A380 in between.’
But while the attempt was primarily a British achievement, Mr Payne also praised colleagues at his parent company in Southern Germany. He said: ‘Credit should go to the team in Stuttgart who developed the car – they did a thorough job. I’m also very grateful to Air France and its engineers for their generosity in allowing me to tow their beautiful aircraft’.
The project was carried using one of Air France’s fleet of ten A380 aircraft and the airline’s 60,000 square metre state-of-the-art engineering hangar which is big enough to house one superjumbo or 3,000 Porsche Cayennes. The hangar is usually home to all the engineering and maintenance activity for the Air France fleet.
Pravin Patel, adjudicator, Guinness World Records said: ‘I’ve verified some amazing record attempts during my time as a Guinness World Records adjudicator – watching a Porsche Cayenne tow one of the largest aircraft in the world definitely ranks as among the most spectacular. My congratulations go out to all those involved in achieving this remarkable feat.’
Porsche said: ‘In accordance with the rules applied by Guinness World Records, the test was overseen by independent engineers. After the record was set, performance testing and scrutiny of every major component and electronic system on the vehicle was carried out in order to provide certification that the car was to production standard.’
Gery Mortreux, executive vice president Air France Industries said: ‘It was an honour to host Porsche at our hangar at Charles de Gaulle. It is usually home to our engineers working on our fleet of 10 Airbus A380 – one of the most sophisticated aircraft in the world.'
'It was fun and exciting to watch the two machines together – our engineers were intrigued and impressed. Congratulations to Porsche on a remarkable achievement.’
‘It shows the passion we put on every challenge we take. Like Porsche, we thrive on excellence and pushing engineering boundaries.’
The previous world record, broken by the Porsche Cayenne, was set in August 2013 when an unmodified Nissan Patrol pulled an Russian Ilyushin Il-76 cargo plane weighing 170.9 tonnes inclusive of fuel, at Sharjah International Airport in the United Arab Emirates.