The Porsche 911 GT3 Hybrid was equipped with a highly efficient flywheel accumulator, and it was one of the most successful in its class at the Nordschleife circuit of the infamous Nürburgring, in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and the International Le Mans Cup (ILMS).
Soon the world realized the potential of the car and the technology behind it. Porsche 911 GT3 Hybrid was internally known as the “Racelab” due to the advanced technologies attributed to it.
Porsche 911 GT3 Hybrid was reliable, fuel-efficient, and delivered an excellent performance. The “Racelab” exceeded the expectations of Porsche Motorsport and the powertrain setup gave them an idea on how to generate additional power intelligently, such as the regenerative braking system.
Porsche decided to use this technology to develop the Porsche 918 RSR coupe, the race-going variant of the Porsche 918 Spyder.
The light and torsion-resistant monocoque chassis is made out of carbon fiber reinforced plastic to save weight. The V8 engine is further tuned to deliver more power with the help of direct fuel injection, now delivering 563hp at 10,300rpm. Two electric motors are combined with the engine to generating 767hp maximum performance. Extra power is delivered to the electric motors that are generated during braking using a special flywheel which serves as an accumulator. The passenger seat is removed to make room for the flywheel.
The flywheel accumulator spins up to 36,000rpm to store kinetic energy. When breaking the two electric motors act as generators that store the energy in the flywheel. The driver can use the stored energy with a push of a button to accelerate quicker, providing a clear competitive edge over the others when overtaking.
The flywheel is electromagnetically charged to deliver a maximum 150Kw extra power to the electric motors. This extra power output is available for eight seconds when the flywheel system is fully charged.
The extra power generated by the two electric motors is then variably distributed over the front wheels via the Porsche Torque Vectoring system. This allows more maneuverability and better steering response. The V8 engine mounted above the rear axle is linked to a racing-oriented advanced six-speed sequential gearbox, operated by the feedback of gearshift paddles behind the steering wheel.
This system further improves fuel efficiency and reduces refueling stops as well.
Porsche 918 Spyder featured a luxurious interior with many creature comforts, but since the Porsche 918 RSR is developed with competition in mind, it features a single brown leather bucket seat, a recovery display on the steering column to provide the driver necessary information.
The Center console of the Porsche 918 RSR features all the necessary switches, a clear departure from the futuristic one of the interiors of the Porsche 918 Spyder.
Since it was designed with track racing in mind, the visible fan between the intake ducts and the rear spoiler further cools the powertrain system.
The air intake on the roof, the air splitter in the front, and tailgate further improves the aerodynamic efficiency and the downforce to improve road holding properties. The antennas are for telemetry and radio communications between the team and the driver.
The muscular wheel arches, dynamic air intakes, and uniquely styled cockpit is still shared with the Porsche 918 Spyder.
The color scheme is a reference to the previous long-distance endurance race cars developed by Porsche, such as the 1969 Porsche 908 Longheck, and the 1971 Porsche Kurzheck. The chrome blue and orange paint job emphasize the beautiful curves of the Porsche’s clear design language.
Number 22 is a reference to the 1971 24 Hours of Le Mans race. The 1971 24 Hours of Le Mans was a swansong of the mighty engines as the incoming regulations for the next racing seasons regulated the engine capacity to just 3-liter. It was also a day with good weather and the long fast track allowed the drivers to break previous records as well as to set up new records that lasted for decades to come. It is widely considered as one of the fastest Le Mans events to date.
12 cars finished the race, and 1st place was won by Gijs van Lennep and Doctor Helmut Marko in their Team Martini Porsche 917. The second place went to Attwood and Muller in their Martini Porsche 917, who had eased off their charge and only three laps behind the first Porsche. The two Porsche cars were the first to cover more than 5000 km in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. The third place went to the Ferrari 512M which was 29 laps behind the winner.
The First Porsche 917 driven by Gijs Van Lennep and Doctor Helmut Marko covered 397 laps. The distance covered 5335,313 km, and the average speed was measured at 222,304 km/h. This distance record stood for 39 years until an Audi covered more distance in 2010. To commemorates the astonishing win, Gijs Van Lennep was awarded the Porsche Oeuvre Award.
The Porsche 917 Kurzheck featured a lightweight magnesium spaceframe and used aerodynamic technologies way ahead of time. Likewise Porsche 918 RSR featured cutting-edge technology and was ahead of its time.