Porsche debuts the 918 RSR concept vehicle at 2011 NAIAS

 
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Porsche Cars North America, Inc. revealed the all-new 918 RSR concept car at the 2011 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). Don’t look for it on public days, because it was only shown during the first two media days of the auto show. However, it is a high-performance hybrid race car. The 918 RSR made its world premiere as Porsche returned to Detroit after skipping the NAIAS for three years in a row. Porsche’s sales have increased so the automaker decided to come back to the Motor City.

“It’s basically a concept of a racing laboratory for some future Porsche race cars,” said Steve Janisse, manager of media relations for Porsche Cars North America, Inc. “It features a very innovative hybrid system that has a V8 engine from a normal racecar, the RS Spyder, but it has also a flywheel that generates electric power to the front wheels as well.”

The 918 RSR is equipped with a V8 engine, which produces 563 hp. The electric motors on the two front wheels add a total of 150 kW or 204 hp for a total driving power of 767 hp.

“It’s unique because it’s the only one of a kind that does this,” Janisse added. “Earlier this year, we started testing this technology in the 911 race car. It did extremely well. It raced in three races this year. We had a 918 Spyder, this is a 918 coupe to show what a future race car could look like. We’ll see if this spawns some future race cars. But the 918 Spyder, which will go into production, we have not said how many we will build. Stay tuned.”

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While the Porsche 918 RSR is a race car, a plug-in hybrid electric version (the 918 Spyder) will be made produced for the public. In the next few weeks, the timing of production and the sticker price will be announced.

“It’s very low and wide and sleek, it’s really built for the race track,” the manager of media relations explained. “The Spyder is the opentop version of this, which we will build for customers to buy. That one is super high-tech, it’s a plug-in hybrid electric system. You can run all-electric or with the race engine or drive it on the street as well. It also recharges when you drive. It’s about 78 mpg in normal driving. It’s spectacular.”

This is Porsche’s first display at the NAIAS in four years. The automaker skipped the Detroit show for the last three years in a row.

“We’re glad to be back, we missed Detroit,” Janisse said. “Detroit is the biggest automotive show in North America. The U.S. is the biggest market for Porsche. It makes sense to be back. We had to leave for a few economic reasons. The markets returned, Porsche’s sales are up. We’re introducing a lot of new models so it makes sense to be in Detroit.”

The 918 RSR won the Best in Show Award from the AutoWeek Editor’s Choice Awards and the Best Concept Car Award from the EyesOn Design Awards. Both are announced during the run of the 2011 NAIAS in Detroit.