Porsche is showcasing the future production version of its 918 hybrid project — and stealing the limelight at this week’s Detroit motor show — with this 756bhp race car, called 918 RSR.
The new model takes the powerplant originally showcased in the 918 Spyder at the 2010 Geneva show and builds on its power and efficiency. Its V8 motor (Porsche hasn’t revealed its capacity yet but acknowledges that it’s a development of the RS Spyder racer’s 3.4-litre unit) produces an extra 55bhp, taking it to 555bhp at a heady 10,300rpm.
That grunt is fed through the rear wheels via a six-speed paddle-shift transmission, while a pair of front-mounted electric motors contribute an additional 201bhp to give a total of 756bhp. They use energy stored during braking in a flywheel spinning at up to 36,000rpm, and their power is called up manually by the driver pushing a button.
The flywheel system, which has potential weight benefits over heavy battery cells, is a development of the set-up already used by Porsche’s current hybrid racer, the 911 GT3 R Hybrid. It uses technology commissioned by Porsche and built by a division of the Williams F1 team.
Porsche claims the system can provide up to eight seconds of continuous supply when fully charged, and that it offers a torque vectoring ability to improve agility and steering response. However, in the 911 GT3 R Hybrid, the electric motors can also be used to help reduce fuel consumption, cutting the number of pitstops required or allowing the vehicle to run with less fuel on board.