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The Church of the Lightweight Porsche

Porsche Weight Reduction

If your planning to modify your Porsche for performance or how it looks then its best to ensure that all the new parts provide a weight saving opportunity to maximise speed and handling potential. In fact many Porsche modifiers inadvertently often add in extra weight when modifying, this is especially evident when larger intercoolers, spoilers and in-car entertainment components are fitted.

If you can remove 70kg of mass from your car you will effectively provide yourself with better handling and a theoretical 7HP gain through a reduction of inertia.

Let's look at the science Part. Mass Matters!

People often miss understand the concept of weight. Weight is the measure of the earth's gravitational pull on an object. Mass is a measure of the amount of matter in an object. Put our Porsches on the moon and its weight changes; it's mass however does not. Inertia is a measure of an object's resistance to a change in direction or acceleration; mass affects inertia, weight does not, though the distinction matters little when racing on planet earth. However, the more mass, the more inertia--and the more inertia, the more the resistance to acceleration, and the reduction in the performance of your Porsche.

So what does it all mean?
Porsche Weight Reduction

Having a quick look at science we find that the effect of inertia on your Porsche is therefore your worst enemy at speed. The tendency of your Porsche is to resist changes under acceleration, braking and cornering whilst in a state of motion, this is inertia and its effects can be reduced in a vehicle through its weight and therefore mass as already discussed.

It is by this basic understanding that Porsche weight reduction is identified as an important part in improving both handling and overall speed.

So what are the weight saving opportunities quickly available to us Porsche owners?

Here are a few straight forward things that can easily be replaced or removed and can offer some immediate gains:

  • Battery replaced for a compact light weight version;
  • Fibreglass, aluminium or carbon fibre body panels. Front wings, bonnet, engine lid, front and rear bumpers. If budget allows, Carbon fibre weighs a fraction of its steel counterpart but at the same time is approximately 10 times stronger;
  • Factory fitted seats are normally very heavy and can be replaced with lightweight bucket seats;
  • Luxury carpets are great but are a premium in weight. Thinner carpets can provide significant savings;
  • Soundproofing really does weigh a lot. This is going to a matter of taste for most people. A noisy Porsche wont make for a comfortable long journey, but for shorter occasional use could be perfect route to loosing a few Kilo's;
  • Accessories like car stereo, speakers, disc changers, electric windows and air-conditioning all add significant weight;
  • There are many other areas were weight reduction can be achieved including wheels, Tyres, spare wheels, starter motor, differential and glass.
The effects of your Porsche Diet

you've removed a lot of weight from your Porsche. What gains can you expect to see. Well, removing weight and therefore mass from your Porsche will improve overall performance of the car in three main areas:

  • performance - lighter Porsche means faster acceleration;
  • braking - you are stopping less mass and therefore braking efficiency will be much improved;
  • turning - you are turning less mass and there will be less resistance to change of direction. The car will feel more sprightly in the corners and handling much improved.
  • Fuel Economy - The US EPA says that for every 100 pounds or 45.35 kilo's taken out of the vehicle, the fuel economy is increased by 1-2 percent.
All Weight Reduction is not Created Equal

Before you go on a weight/mass reduction programme, 'where' you remove the weight is more important than the 'total' weight removed. A few kilo's removed from the ends of your Porsche are going to be more noticeably beneficial than a few Kilo's from the Center of Mass. The hierarchy of importance of weight reduction goes something like this:

  • unsprung and rotating mass;
  • mass from the front or back;
  • The roof;
  • The middle of the Porsche near its center of mass.

If you own a Porsche 911 then approximately 60% of the cars mass it at the rear of the car. So removing or lightening the front in isolation will ultimately adversely effect handling performance. In this case removing weight from the rear will be the optimal course of action.

This has been a general over view of some of the considerations for improving performance with weight loss. Inevitably there will be other considerations, but one thing is for certain: Putting you Porsche is on a diet is definitely a case of 'Less is More'.


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Haha. I like it. Put the car and the driver on a diet

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I cant take any more out !

To improve performance of my car

I will have to jog every day and eat more fruit :)


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If you can get a 3.2 Carrera down to 1000kg I think your doing really welll.  So a standard car would be then producing 231bhp per metric ton which is pretty damn good.


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Light weight is definitely best.  A cheap way for an equivilent BHP performance increase agreement01


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Great article.  Way too many people forget te benefits of weight loss and rather spend money on adding more bhp.  Best to loose weight at extreme distances from the center of mass.  Then there's the whole argument of sprung versus unsprung mass.


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Great article Pete.  Way too many people only focus only on adding BHP.  Lossing weight is just as good as a power gain mod, if not better as you get all the benefits of a more sprightly Porsche !!!! 


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Great read.  All very true.  I think everyone focusses on more power, when reduction can give you the same boost - for less.  Has to be the way to go.  Also, I could go on a diet and increase my Porsche's performane frown


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Great article.  I couldnt agree more with everyting you say.  Weight is so vital to performance - not just the straight line stuff either, corning, breaking is all effected by the cars weight as well as where the weight is.


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I imagine the glass must weigh a fair amaount.  I wonder how much weight could be saved by changing the side glass and rear screen?  I assume you cant change the windscreen for safety/legal reasons?


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I couldnt agree more with the points you make regarding all weight loss isn't equal.  Too many people blindly remove all weight where they can with no thought about potential impact on handling.  Great article!


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