The 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit just kicked off with a blast as Porsche rolled out its brand new 918 RSR hybrid race car. The Porsche 918 RSR combines the styling of the 918 Spyder concept car, first introduced at the Geneva Auto Show in March 2010, with the flywheel hybrid technology of the successful 911 GT3 R, that competed in several races in 2010. Also, the Porsche 918 RSR won best concept vehicle at the Detroit auto show in the annual Eyes On Design awards.
The 918 RSR is a two-place midengine coupe that is essentially a racing version of the 918 Spyder, fitted with flip-up doors, carbon-fiber body panels and a roof-mounted air intake. The car is painted liquid metal chrome blue with longitudinal stripes, and carries the number 22 — an homage to the Martini-liveried Porsche 917 that dominated the 1971 24 Hours of Le Mans.
A racing V-8 with 563 horsepower and a 10,300 r.p.m. redline is mated to dual electric motors that drive the front wheels, for a combined, crushing 767 horsepower. The Porsche soaks up kinetic energy from its rotating wheels and converts it to electricity in a flywheel accumulator, an evil-looking contraption that sits next to the driver and spins at more than 36,000 r.p.m. The pilot pushes a button to call up the stored energy, providing up to eight seconds of electric boost for acceleration or passing.
Porsche has not stated when and where the new car might first compete. American aficionados can hope for the upcoming 12 Hours of Sebring, though that seems unlikely, as the car has yet to do any long-range testing.