Last March Porsche stunned the world with the 918 hybrid supercar. Now the firm has done it again at Detroit, pulling the wraps off a racing version, named the 918 RSR.
Think of it as a cross between last year’s Geneva show concept (see video here) and the 911 GT3 R Hybrid that ran so well for so long at last year’s Nurburgring 24hr race. It uses a direct injection V8 derived from the RS Spyder and tuned to develop 555bhp at 10,300rpm, but adds to that with a pair of electric motors on the front wheels that each contribute a further 101bhp, bringing the 918 RSR’s total power output to 757bhp.
As with the GT3 R Hybrid, energy is harvested under braking and stored in a flywheel spinning at up to 36,000rpm and mounted where you’d usually find the passenger seat. A button on the steering wheel then allows the driver to use the power in eight second bursts. The two electric motors are linked, allowing the 918 RSR to vector the torque between the front wheels, improving traction.
Porsche has also kitted the 918 RSR out with a fan on the rear deck between the intakes – though hasn’t revealed if it actually serves any purpose. Safe to assume the rear spoiler (identically dimensioned to that of the RS Spyder) does serve a purpose, though.
Porsche claims the colour (liquid metal chrome blue) is new, but it’s hard to avoid the feeling that the scheme has been chosen to replicate the classic Gulf colours. The number 22 is important, too – it’s shared with the 1971 917 short tail that won Le Mans having covered a record distance of 3315.21 miles – an achievement that was only bettered last year.
Boasting a carbon fibre reinforced moncoque and racing sequential gearbox from the RS Spyder, the 918 RSR is expected to follow the lead of the GT3 R Hybrid and complete a race program that should include the Nurburgring 24hrs this year.