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9 months ago
Carrera GT 2.0 is here - Porsche 918 Spyder
Porsche Carrera GT is a beautiful car of timeless design. It looks as good today as it looked in distant 2003 when it was introduced.
Technology, however, is never timeless. Carrera GT held Nurburgring Nordschleife production car record for a long time, but recently it has been pushed down the rankings by many much more affordable sports cars by competitors as well as Porsche's own models.
It's not the general concept - mid engine lightweight, rear wheel drive - that let down Carrera GT in laptime charts. It's, rather, the technological advancements in tyre design, transmissions and computer controlled 4 wheel drive that allowed for cars like Nissan GT-R to challenge the slightly aged GT.
So, naturally, it was time for a brand new flagship supercar.
Two year ago Porsche presented the 918 concept car which became one of Geneva 2010 main attractions. It featured a combination of petrol V8 engine driving rear wheels and two electric motors for the from. Many industry experts immediately knew that 918 design concept was an accurate representation of what Porsche's Carrera GT replacement will look like.
A year later Porsche presented a racing version of 918 concept - 918 RSR. It looked the same but technologically was very different.
Instead of there being a battery feeding feeding the electric drive, RSR used a spinning disk which would store the electricity generated by regenerative braking generators in form of kinetic energy. Porsche had already used it in it's GT3 RSR endurence racer.
The benefit of this very unorthodox energy storage mechanism was that it enabled for benefits of regenerative braking system, without the penalty of extra weight of a Li-ion battery pack.
Concept cars and race cars are great, but what we, car fans at FastestLaps.com, mostly care about are road cars. So, luckaly for us, the decision was made to proceed with a road-legal, production 918, with all the goodies of the initial concept car.
So, just as with the concept, production 918 will have a V8 engine in combination with two electric motors driving front wheels. Combined power output will be 795 horsepower, which is a good number, but not as staggering as it seemed in 2010. You have to consider that Lamborghini and Ferrari both have their flagship cars making 700+ horsepower.
Production car will, of course, use batteries to power electric drive. The kinetic energy storage device used in RSR wouldn't allow for plug-in charging, would make too much noise and take up too much space - in 911 GT3 RSR and 918 RSR this device was planted in place of passenger seat.
Overall this new hybrid drivetrain is a fundamental improvement compared to Carrera GT's V10. Not only it makes more power (when there is charge available in battery), but it also used a lot, and I mean A LOT, less fuel. Porsche estimates fantastic 3 liters per 100 kilometers! I am not sure how this economy figure is calculated, I can only assume that they came up with this number assuming a fully charged battery. I don't think there is any chance of achieving such economy in a long distance trip or with agressive driving. On a racetrack this figure would probably be at least 3 times higher.
Only downside with the powertrain is that instead of going "mooooiiii" it will go "rrrriiii", due to the V8...
For those who prefer "rrrriii" this will actually be an advantege. For the rest of us "moooiii" lovers there are still cars like Lexus LF-A...
Probably the biggest attraction of Carrera GT was it's beauty. With 918 they've done it again.
Public is divided on looks of Cayenne or Panamera. For Porsche's flagship supercar, however, the concensus was that it was a truly beautiful car. It is good to know that this won't change with the introduction of 918.
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