After years of absence at the Detroit Auto Show, Porsche returns in a big way with a 918 race car concept.
No Detroit debut was as highly anticipated as Porsche’s, and as was widely speculated, a race version of the 918 hybrid was unveiled. It’s called the 918 RSR. It uses the same compact V8 from the road-going concept and the RS Spyder race car, but ditches the road car’s batteries in favor of the 911 GT3 R Hybrid’s mental flywheel system.
Like the GT3 R Hybrid, the flywheel sits where the passenger seat otherwise would be and powers two electric motors mounted at the front axle. Under braking, the electric motors send regenerative power to the flywheel, where it is stored as kinetic energy. The driver then presses a steering wheel-mounted button at an opportune time, which sends the stored energy back to the electric motors, giving an eight second burst of an extra 204 hp. Combined with the 563 hp V8, this brings maximum output to a staggering 767.
With a few obvious exceptions, not a lot has changed from the road concept. In race form, the 918 sprouts a giant rear wing and a revised front splitter. The hard top also differentiates the RSR from the Spyder, but expect to see a similar hard top on a production 918. Also of note is the 917 inspired fan mounted on the engine cover. Slick tires and a fancy Gulf inspired paint job round out the package.
Porsche announced no specific racing plans for the the 918 RSR, but expect to see it turn up at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring as early as this year. No Le Mans class currently exists in which the 918 RSR would fit, but expect the ACO to get an experimental hybrid class of some sort up and running by next year.