Porsche 911 Turbo Test Mule With Massive Wheels Leaves Us With More Questions Than Answers

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This doesn't look like the usual Porsche Nurburgring prototypes.

We're not quite sure where to start with this Porsche 911 Turbo. Rather obviously, it's a test mule of some sort, first seen by our spies over in Germany at the Nurburgring. But, as is pretty plain to see, this is no standard 911 Turbo. Not only is it sporting rudimentary fender flares at both the front and rear, but it also has what looks like a fixed rear wing, lifted suspension, and absolutely ginormous wheels and tires.

If this mule had been spied a year ago, we'd have immediately thought it was a prototype for the upcoming 911 Safari - which may be called the 911 Dakar if rumors are to be believed. But those prototypes are now in late developmental stages ahead of a reveal next month. More importantly, there are some anomalies with this test mule that leaves us with more questions than answers.

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First, the license plates are Munich plates rather than Porsche's typical prototypes which start with LB or S plates. Secondly, this mule was spied testing with a wearing similar plates.

But the plot thickens. While trying to fin some answers as to what this mule is for, our spies were told that the engineers running the car had stopped at Apex Nurburg - one of the many Ring Taxi companies operating at the Green Hell asking for brake parts. While the car was accompanied by a van full of laptops and other equipment, the fact that they went to a private garage for spares rather than having their own suggests that this prototype doesn't belong to Porsche at all.

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So if this is a tuner car, then who could it belong to? Our biggest clue comes from the wheels themselves, which aren't items we recognize from the Porsche catalog.

We've seen them before though, on the Marc Phillipp Gemballa Marsien - an 830-horsepower 911 Turbo-based tribute to the 959 Paris-Dakar that was revealed last year. While the Marsien has been fully revealed, it stands to reason that the company is still ironing out the technical aspects of the build like the suspension tuning, and instead of risking damage to expensive carbon fiber bodywork, it's using this mule instead.

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Just 40 units of the Marsien are to be built, each wearing bespoke carbon fiber bodywork inspired by the 959. Under the rear decklid will be a RUF twin-turbo flat-six with 750 hp in standard trim and the option of 830 hp with a second-stage upgrade package, singing through an Akrapovic titanium exhaust system. The Marsien's raised suspension features KW suspension, which is likely one of the systems being tested by this mule, which appears to be wearing the 19-/20-inch staggered off-road wheels with all-terrain tires.

Nurburgring spy photography is an interesting game, especially as it's not just regular automakers that use the facilities for testing and development. Time will tell if our assumptions are right, but we're pretty certain they are.

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