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Porsche 918 Concept Returns With Closed-Top RSR Concept

posted by on 10 January 2011 in 2011 North American International Auto Show Automotive News

And you thought the 918 Concept looked good the first time around. Porsche’s future supercar returns this year with a second concept that imagines the sexy little machine as a closed-roof racing car. With an introduction video of old Le Mans moments and 917 power slides, Porsche wants us to believe this is just the next step in a legendary racing history, and we’re inclined to go along with that.

Under the skin, the 918 RSR packs race-proven but very futuristic (and somewhat proven) hybrid technology, borrowing technology from the 911 GT3 R Hybrid racer. That means, as you’ll see in our photo gallery, that what would normally be space reserved for a passenger seat is instead taken up by a complicated and very sci-fi-looking flywheel accumulator system. Here, the system is hooked to a high-powered V8 and two electric drive motors at the front wheels, all adding up to an amazing 767 horsepower. The V8 comes from the RS Spyder race car, producing 563 hp at a screaming 10,300 rpm.

The numbers displayed on the car, too, have some meaning. The “22” pays homage to the anniversary of a further triumph. Back in the days when overall victories in Le Mans were not yet an entirely routine matter within the Porsche racing department, the pilots Dr. Helmut Marko and Gijs van Lennep were the first to cross the finishing line in 1971’s 24-hour classic. The distance record set by their Porsche 917 short-tail coupé – 5335.313 kilometres (3315.21 miles) at an average speed of 222.304 km/h (138.13 mph) – did not remain unbeaten for an eternity, but for exactly 39 years until 2010. At the time, the 917 in the Martini colours was also an experiment and far ahead of its time: a magnesium space frame set new standards in Porsche’s lightweight construction domain.

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