When Porsche unveiled the 918
Spyder concept at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show it was
a shock. Porsche's designers had actually come up with
something entirely new! Then when it was revealed that
the car might make it to production it was a cause for
The next step on the road to development was, naturally,
to make a coupe version of the 918. And that's exactly
what Porsche did for the 2011 North American International
The Porsche 918 RSR is a single-seat mid-engined coupe
that combines the stunning, svelte lines of the 918 Spyder,
with the potent drivetrain of the 911 GT3 R Hybrid race
And don't let the word 'hybrid' fool you. The 918 RSR
is a serious bit of high-performance kit. The V8 engine
is a further development of the direct injection engine
from the successful RS Spyder race car, but for the 918
RSR it has been tuned to deliver an output of 563 hp at
10,300 rpm. The electric motors on the two front wheels
each contribute 102 hp (75 kW), to the overall power output
- meaning that a maximum of 767 hp is on tap. This additional
power, which is generated during braking, is stored in
an optimized flywheel accumulator.
This flywheel accumulator is an electric motor whose rotor
rotates at up to 36,000 rpm to store rotation energy.
Charging takes place when the two electric motors on the
front axle reverse their function during braking processes
and operate as generators. At the push of a button, the
driver is able to use the energy stored in the charged
flywheel accumulator during acceleration or overtaking
This additional boost in power is available for around
eight seconds when the system is fully charged. In the
911 GT3 R Hybrid race car, drivers also used this additional
electrical power to reduce fuel consumption.
In the Porsche 918 RSR, the two electric motors offer
a torque vectoring function with variable torque distribution
to the front axle. This feature improves the car's agility
and speeds up the steering response. Mounted ahead of
the rear axle, the engine is coupled to a racing transmission
that is also based on that from the RS Spyder. This six-speed
constant-mesh transmission is actuated using two shift
paddles mounted behind the steering wheel.
One quick glance at the Porsche 918 RSR tells you two
things instantly. Firstly it's clearly based on the 918
Spyder, and secondly it's not for road use.
The lines of the 918 RSR are almost identical to those
found on the Spyder, in fact the only noticeable changes
are the fixed roof, and the racing modifications which
include small winglets on either side of the front bumper,
and a large rear spoiler for improved downforce over the
Racing features of the 918 RSR include integrated tow
hooks, quick-release fasteners for the front and rear
bodywork, roof-mounted aerials for pit radio and telemetry,
two-piece center-lock racing wheels coupled with slick
rubber, and the array of graphics which are laid over
the unique 'liquid metal chrome blue' paintwork.
The number 22 plastered all over the car pays homage to
the 40th anniversary 1971 Le Mans race where drivers Dr.
Helmut Marko and Gijs van Lennep were the first to cross
the finishing line in their Porsche 917 short-tail coupé.
The distance record set by their car - 3315.21 miles (5335.313
km) at an average speed of 138.13 (222.304 km/h) - remained
unbroken for 39 years.
The interior of the Porsche 918 Spyder is an intriguing
mix of high-end sports car, race car and science fiction.
The odd-looking piece of kit which sits where the passenger
seat normally resides is the flywheel accumulator, quietly
humming away at 36,000 rpm.
Next to that is the driver's seat, neatly upholstered
in brown leather. The center console houses an array of
race-style rocker switches and buttons. The minimalist
steering wheel features an LED rev counter and shift light
mounted along the top, behind the steering wheel are the
paddles for operating the transmission.
There is a small gauge cluster directly behind the steering
wheel, and to the right of that is a telemetry display
which also shows the position of the car on the circuit.
Similar and related vehicles:
Porsche 918 Spyder
Porsche Cayman S
Porsche Sebring Spyder