Porsche has revealed a new electric race car concept – is this our first look at the next-generation 718 Cayman sports car, with electric power?
Porsche has unveiled its all-electric vision for the future of privateer sports-car racing, with the new Mission R concept – and it could be an ultra-hardcore preview of the next-generation 718 Cayman sports car, widely tipped to go electric in 2024.
Revealed overnight at the 2021 Munich motor show, the new Porsche Mission R concept is envisioned to be a star of a potential future one-make racing series, similar to the Porsche Carrera Cup championships operated by the German brand worldwide, featuring race-prepped versions of its 911 (and 718) sports cars.
Whereas current Porsche series employ high-revving, naturally-aspirated flat-six engines, the Mission R is powered by two electric motors (each with direct oil cooling) and an 80kWh battery, developing 500kW of “constant” power in the car’s long-distance Race mode.
Switch to maximum-attack Qualifying mode and the front and rear motors up their outputs to 320kW and 480kW respectively, for a combined total of 800kW – enabling a 0-100km/h sprint time of under 2.5 seconds, towards a top speed of over 300km/h.
An “innovative recuperation system” allows the peak output to be maintained across a sprint racing session, with no loss of power through to overheating.
A 900-volt fast-charging system and ‘Porsche Turbo Charging’ technology allows DC fast charging at up to 340kW, said to allow a five to 80 per cent recharge in 15 minutes, according to Porsche.
Mirroring the high-performance powertrain is a bold aerodynamics package, with large front air intakes and side skirts, a prominent rear diffuser, and a two-piece ‘swan-neck’ rear wing.
The rear wing and front splitter feature a Formula One-style ‘drag reduction system’ (DRS), which allows them to adjust their positioning at high speed to reduce drag (thus the same) and increase top speed.
While it might look designed solely for the racetrack, the Mission R still retains many styling cues from road-going Porsche models, from four-eye headlights inspired by the all-electric Taycan, and proportions that look remarkably mid-engined – suggesting the concept could be a loose preview of the next-generation 718 Cayman sports car, widely rumoured to be in line for electric power.
The concept measures in at 4326mm long, 1990mm wide and 1190mm high – 53mm shorter in length than the road-going 718 Cayman, but a not-insignificant 99mm wider and 86mm lower.
Carbon-fibre composite is used for the monocoque chassis – reportedly inspired by eSports virtual racing simulators – while a new carbon roof structure incorporates the roof ‘skin’ and main roll cage into one ‘exoskeleton’.
Sustainable materials are used extensively around the Mission R’s body, including natural fibre reinforced plastic – derived from flax fibres from farming – on the front splitter, rear diffuser and side skirts, plus the door panels, rear bulkhead and seat inside the cabin.
Inside, the Mission R hones in on its race-bred intentions with a stripped-out, race-prepped cabin, featuring a winged bucket seat with white padding, a set of small displays on, beside and above the racing steering wheel, “numerous” cameras for live-streamed race broadcasts, digital side and rear-view mirrors, and a smattering of white and red accents.
The Porsche Mission R concept will make its public debut at this week’s 2021 Munich motor show.
While there are no plans to put the exact concept into production, either for road or track use, Porsche’s media materials highlight how the brand’s 2015 Mission E and 2018 Mission E Cross Turismo concepts provided “unmistakeable previews” of the 2019 Taycan and 2021 Taycan Cross Turismo production cars – suggesting the Mission R is more than a flight of motorsport fancy.
Using Porsche’s hints as a guide, expect the Mission R to inspire a future all-electric race car from the Porsche brand over the next few years, at a minimum.
However, rumours in recent months have suggested the 718 Boxster convertible and Cayman coupe family is on the verge of a switch to electric power – indicating the styling themes seen on the Mission R could be bound for showrooms in the coming years.