Porsche looks at F1 powertrain secret for new hypercar

porsche hypercar render

What Porsche's upcoming hypercar could look like, according to Autocar

Unformed F1 hybrid powertrain could be translated into power in new Porsche hypercar

Porsche has confirmed hypercar plans to crown its line and, in an effort to provide a clear link between motorsport activities and road cars, it may use a hybrid powertrain developed in the aborted Formula 1 engine program.

However, the Aston Martin Valkyrie rival remains at the conceptual stage, with an introduction unlikely until 2023 at the earliest.

As per comments by Porsche Chairman Oliver Blume this year, senior sources at the German automaker Weissach Technical Center confirm the final production go-ahead for the successor to the 918 Spyder depends on a decision from Porsche board members on whether to commit to pure-electric or hybrid powertrain technology for the new hypercar. .

Initial plans for the car, first hinted by Bloom at the Geneva Motor Show in March, were based on an advanced pure-electric powertrain with the potential to vastly outperform Porsche's recently introduced 99X Formula E race car.

However, these plans apparently were wounded on the back. This is because an internal study has shown that solid-state battery technology, which has been cited by Porsche's future flagship with what is described as "new standards in EV weight, efficiency and range of capabilities," is not advancing as quickly as initially expected.

As a result, this technology won't be available in the sort of production volume needed to support the new model until the second half of the next decade.

Instead, Porsche is now pursuing an alternate plan for its next hypercar. The revised variant is based on an advanced plug-in petrol-electric hybrid powertrain, originally developed by Porsche Motorsport for its aborted return to the F1 grid as an engine supplier.

If the alternative powertrain plan comes to fruition, the new Porsche hypercar will compete with the Mercedes-AMG one, which also relies on F1 powertrain technology.

There are also speculations that it could provide Porsche with a modern driveline package for both Le Mans' new hypercar and Eames Doi Rules.

Earlier this year, Porsche motorsports, Fritz Enzinger, revealed that the company had committed a 40-horsepower engineering team from its LMP1 class to operations in a development program for the six-cylinder engine and related hybrid drive systems as long ago as 2017 – two years after the 918 Spider has been discontinued.

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The new Porsche engine was originally conceived around a 2,0 liter capacity as a replacement for the Group B4 used by the Porsche Le Mans 919 race car. However, the focus of the development program was later included in the F1 specification with a displacement of 1,6 liters, the car can confirm.

Although Porsche eventually decided to bypass F1 and enter Formula E, the development of the six-cylinder engine continues to this day. This is because, according to Enzinger, the F1 engine is adapted for the durability needed for road use and without the complex and expensive MGU-h (motor heat generator) that is used to generate electrical power from heat from the exhaust system, would “and be interesting for super sports cars”.

He said: “At the end of 2017, we were ordered to continue developing the high-performance six-cylinder engine despite leaving the LMP1 – not only on paper, but also as equipment.”

Enzinger said Porsche's new six-cylinder engine is "finished and running on the test bench." It also authenticates reports that it is used for “analysis as applied to mass production relevance”.

Secrecy surrounds the specification for the new powertrain's hybrid component, though it was intended to use a powerful electric motor.

Speaking about Porsche's hypercar plans at the recent Frankfurt Motor Show, the brand's head of electric vehicle projects, Stefan Weckbach, said: "Our goal is always, no matter what the cars we make, to have the sportiest car in the segment."

Weckbach also suggested that the new Porsche's electric side-by-side powertrain could benefit from technologies being developed through a partnership between the German automaker and Rimac.

After selling the first 10% stake to a Croatian-based electric supercar maker in 2018, Porsche recently increased its stake in Rimac to 15,5%, indicating that it plans to work more closely with the company for praising the concept and C_Two hypercars.

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“We see potential for future collaboration with this company. That's why we raised our stakes,” Weckbach said. Rimac, whose latest C_Two hypercar features an electric drive system that delivers up to 1888bhp, has quickly made a name for itself as a leader in electric motor and power engineering.

As well as with Porsche, Rimac also has established technical programs with Aston Martin, Jaguar and Renault in particular.

In May, Hyundai and Kia jointly invested 80m euros (£69m) in Rimak's internet, which will mean the three companies are collaborating on the development of electric vehicles.

Whether Porsche plans to apply Rimac technology to pure-electric powertrains and hybrid powertrains with a number of hypercars remains to be seen.

“If it's all electric, that might be the approach, although it might be a Porsche engine,” said Weckbach, who said his personal choice would be a hybrid powertrain.

EV Hypercar: 'Will it work?'

Skepticism about the all-electric halo model is rampant at Porsche and its sports car executive, Frank-Steffen Waliser, made his feelings clear at the car show in Frankfurt in September.

Asked if he welcomed the influx of electric hypercar projects last year, Walizer (above) said: “We've seen a lot of research on electric hypercars. For me, the proof is when she's outside with a license plate. With studies, I don't have to show you that it really works, on the street, homologated.”

Then Waliser is a more philosophical line. “Don't ev hypercar work?” - he asked.

“For me, it's like saying that a drag is any sports car. Sure, it's perfect from 0 to 100. But there are other things out there that make a sports car: everyday use, a few laps of the Nürburgring, a repeatable performance. I don't think it will work with the technology in its current state."


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