In its second showing of its hybrid-powered supercar, the 918 Spyder, Porsche has gone from the street directly to the track. Instead of showing the rumored road-going coupe version of this high-end two seater, Porsche has infused this mid-engine V-8 hybrid exotic with a racing pedigree by transplanting the flywheel energy storage system from the 911 GT3 Hybrid racer to supplant the open car’s lithium ion battery pack, taking performance to even higher levels.
The Spyder concept translates well into a coupe—the car’s flowing lines are enhanced by the squat greenhouse that houses butterfly-opening doors. The doors themselves have huge roof cutouts similar to the Ford GT to ease ingress/egress. A large rear wing and the paint scheme are part of the race-ready appearance suggested by the RSR designation. The car, which features carbon fiber monocoque construction, is painted liquid metal chrome blue offset by orange brake calipers and striping similar to the Porsche 911 GT3 Hybrid racer.
At the heart of this concept is a 3.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 developed for the Porsche RS Spyder LMP2 racer, which is tuned to produced 563 b hp at 10,300 rpm. Two 75 kW electric motors, each powering one of the front wheels, boosts peak power of the package to 767 bhp.
Flywheel hybrid power offers greater performance
These auxiliary electric motors are driven by power generated in a 36,000 rpm flywheel assembly from the GT3 Hybrid, which is mounted in place of a passenger seat. It provides a maximum boost of power for eight seconds when fully charged and is designed to help the car get off a corner quicker thanks to the extra front wheel torque, which can be vectored from side-to-side, increasing agility and steering response. Also, the added power reduces overall fuel consumption extending the car’s range between pit stops.
The driver summons the extra power from the flywheel system by actuating a steering-wheel mounted button, either for overtaking maneuvers, acceleration from the pits or as a boost in getting off a corner quickly.
Unlike the more luxurious 918 Spyder, the RSR has a simple, performance-oriented interior clad in brown leather. The center console uses toggle switches instead of a touch screen and the steering wheel is equipped with sequential engine speed lights to signal gear changes. Also mounted on the steering wheel is a display that measures the amount of energy recouped through regenerative vehicle forces, letting the driver know when the flywheel system is at full charge.
The car’s number 22, pays homage to Porsche’s first overall win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1971. The winning car, also numbered 22, was a 917 driven by Dr. Helmut Marko and Gijs van Lennep. The distance and speed (3,315.2 miles and 138.1 mph) record stood for 39 years and was only surpassed last year.
Porsche indicates the RSR is a only concept at this point, but its clear that racing figures prominently in the future of this supercar.