Porsche 918 Coupe Design Still a Detroit Surprise *UPDATED

January 5th, 2011

*UPDATE: The Porsche 918 RSR has now appeared in concept form on the stand at Detroit (above) and, as we suggested, it’s different from the renderings—and better. The car is indeed a hybrid, taking its power from a flywheel-based system like the GT3 R Hybrid uses. Short bursts (up to 7 seconds) provide 767 hp. There is also a good deal of Porsche’s great 917 heritage in the car. More photos here.

Porsche has always been good at titillating the public about its new cars. Last week it let slip that it would reveal “something spectacular” at the Detroit Show (NAIAS), opening January 10, and is now leaking more hints to Bloomberg and AutoBild about a racing coupe.

Consensus is now that the car will be a GT coupe based on the 918 Spyder Hybrid concept and—who knows?—it may look something like the above rendering. This was done in March 2010 by an extremely competent and informed 13-year-old (scroll down to read his comment), who is very hip to Porsche racing. More of his stuff is here.

Other design possibilities, like the Martini car, are shown after the break, and of course the 918, when it appears this Friday, may well look like none of them. As our 918 authority tgriffith reported, you can watch the unveiling at www.porsche.com/detroit (site not yet live).

A small but significant part of Porsche’s business has been providing factory-built racecars for privateer customers like Martini. Porsche has come to dominate GT racing around the world with cars like the GT3 RSR.

The Detroit car is now reported to be a race-spec 918 without the electric motors (as our 13-year-old predicted back in May) and with twin-turbo 600-hp V8 power. The 918 platform from the beginning was designed for either hybrid or conventional power.

When it finally appears on the track in 2014, look for this car to replace the Carrera GT and take on the best Ferrari and Mercedes have to offer.

Are you going to watch Porsche’s unveiling in Detroit? Or could you care less?

—jgoods

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