This is how Porsche gives its new Coupe wings
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The sports car manufacturer is presenting this Porsche, the 918 RSR, at the Detroit Motor Show. The super sports car is a mid-engine coupe.
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The 918 RSR is a synthesis of the 918 Spyder with hybrid drive and the 911 GT3 Hybrid.
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The 918 RSR is actually built as a two-seater coupe. But there is no space for a passenger in this car.
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The 918 RSR has sturdy wheel arches, and the rear spoiler is even more noticeable.
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The 918 RSR is powered by a 563 hp V8 engine. The extremely high-revving motor reaches 10,300 revolutions per minute.
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The V8 is supported by electric motors on the two front wheels, each with 102 hp. Overall, the super sports car has a system output of 767 hp.
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The additional power provided by the electric motors is obtained through braking. The energy is conserved in a flywheel mass storage device that is mounted on the front passenger seat.
One year after the premiere of the 918 Spyder study, Porsche presented a racing version of the hybrid sports car. A look inside the car harbors surprises.
D.etroit is not exactly one of the preferred travel destinations for Porsche employees. They haven’t been seen at the fair in Michigan for three years. "For a small manufacturer like us there were simply too many trade fairs. And our customers are more likely to live in California than Michigan", says a Porsche employee.
A lot has changed again this year. The fair has one "Lighthouse function for the industry", is the motto now at Porsche.
Anyone who wanted to see the premiere and thus the realization of the latest Porsche ideas at the Detroit exhibition center had to get up early. At 6.30 a.m., deafeningly loud music settled like swirling fog over the study of a super sports car, which is supposed to give another indication of the future of such vehicles. Even without consuming ten liters of fuel per kilometer, races will one day be able to take place, that is one of the messages of the Porsche 918 RSR.
The presentation of this environmentally friendly super sports car, which even if it were to be built one day, would probably not be approved for road use, is a demonstrative statement. It is a political issue, especially from the point of view of the new Porsche boss Matthias Muller. For him, Porsche is a sports car brand, one that may one day even have a future in Formula 1. He wants to strengthen and maintain this image. He made a conscious decision to go to Detroit for the premiere of the 918 RSR.
The cross between the 918 Spyder, a hybrid sports car with a consumption of three liters under normal conditions, and the 911 GT3 R Hybrid (with flywheel storage) was developed last summer. It was the time of transition, the handover of responsibility from Michael Macht to Matthias Muller.
At that time, sales of the 911 models in the USA stalled. Not only because of the high prices, but because the reputation of the sports car suffered. Porsche had to act, and the result can now be seen. It is impressive. Above all technically, although this time Porsche does not boast of sensationally low fuel consumption despite immense engine power.
A look inside the car reveals the progress, because a flywheel storage device is installed where the second passenger normally sits in a coupe. When the car brakes, it absorbs energy, stores it and, if necessary, can transfer it to two electric motors on the front axle.
The electric motors produce up to 102 hp each. This means that the racer with the V8 engine in the rear has a power of 563 hp and a system output of 767 hp. The electric motors not only increase performance, they also improve the car’s agility. They have the opposite function of an electronic stability program that brakes individual wheels if the car unintentionally leaves its lane. But they have the same effect. The variable drive torque distribution on the front axle can specifically transfer additional drive forces to individual wheels.
The 918 Spyder, which Porsche showed in Geneva in March 2010 and later also in China, follows technically more well-known principles: It is a plug-in hybrid, the batteries of which can be charged at the socket. The RSR, on the other hand, works without batteries because they are too heavy for a sports car. The Porsche technicians placed the flywheel accumulator between the axles because this is how weight distribution works best.
The principle of the memory is easy to explain: the heart of this electric machine is a rotor that rotates at up to 36,000 revolutions per minute. This creates rotational energy that can be stored. The memory is charged when the driver brakes and the electric motors on the front axle work as generators. The result: Similar to Batman (in the famous Batmobile), the driver can briefly (eight seconds maximum) provide an enormous additional boost at the push of a button, for example to overtake another vehicle in a race.
This power is available to him without using additional fuel. Performing without consuming resources is a fascinating idea. Porsche talks about it "intelligent way of generating performance". And it is intelligent to achieve additional performance from your own dynamism.
This car that Porsche is showing at the Detroit Motor Show is still a solitaire. A racing laboratory that can be used to research the efficiency of new, fascinating drives under tough racing conditions. The 918 RSR is the racing version of the 918 Spyder, which Porsche plans to offer in small series by 2013 at the latest. Both cars carry the message: Even super sports cars can be driven responsibly for the environment. What that costs is another question.
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