Porsche will show off not just its electric prowess at the IAA motor show in Munich this week, but also its ability to create a racing car that has a lighter environmental touch than you might expect.
This is the Mission R concept racer and, with its huge rear wing and futuristic Cayman-like shape, it looks every inch the traditional sports-racer. However, look beneath the bodywork and you'll find it's not quite what you might expect...
Actually, you need to look at the bodywork first, as it's not steel, nor aluminium, nor traditional carbon-fibre. Instead, it's made of natural fibre reinforced plastic (NFRP), and the fibres that give the structure its strength are made from flax. This sourced-from-farm fibre also helps to strengthen other areas, such as the front spoiler lip, the diffuser and the side skirts. NFRP is also used in other areas of the Mission R, such as the interior door panels, the rear bulkhead and the seat.
Inside, there's a stripped-back steering wheel (more of a control yoke, really) that has an integrated information screen. There's another screen on the centre console that shows the view from the side and rear-facing cameras that replace traditional mirrors, and another display that can show useful data, such as the driver's biometric readouts. The interior gets lots of mini-cameras that can be called up individually during a race to provide exciting in-car footage.
'Exoskeleton' safety cage
The safety cage is actually made of carbon fibre, which Porsche says "combines high protection potential for the driver with low weight and a distinctive look." It's actually built in one continuous structure with the roof, an arrangement that Porsche calls an 'exoskeleton.' Oh, and the driver's seat, wheel and screens come in a single module that can also be used as an e-sports simulator rig.
At 4,326 millimetres in length, the Porsche Mission R is slightly shorter than the current 718 series, but it is noticeably wider at 1,990 millimetres and with an external height of 1,190 millimetres is also significantly lower.
Right, onto the proper stuff - the power, which is prodigious. The Mission R is Porsche's first all-electric racing car (if you discount the current Formula E car...) and it has been designed, as have almost all Porsche racers, around being provided to customer teams. In 'qualifying mode' the Mission R's twin motors (435hp at the front, 653hp at the rear) provide a combined 1,088hp, which can shove the little racer to 100km/h in just 2.5 seconds, and on to a top speed of 300km/h. Porsche claims that, on track, the Mission R sets exactly the same lap times as a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, although precisely which track isn't mentioned (we assume that it's Porsche's own Weissach test track).
Fast, and fast charging
The electric motors and the battery cells benefit from a new 'direct oil cooling' system, and this, says Porsche, means that you can run both the battery and the motors hard for extended periods, without them having to be cooled down. In 'Race Mode' the continuous power level is set at 680hp. The 80kWh battery is pretty fast, too, and can be charged at up to 340kW thanks to a 900-volt charging system. Porsche says that it can be recharged from five to 80 per cent in just 15 minutes.
The Mission R also features a further development of Porsche Active Aerodynamics (PAA) with a Drag Reduction System (DRS) on the nose section and rear wing. It comprises three louvres in each of the two side air intakes on the nose as well as an adjustable, two-section rear wing.
"Porsche is the brand for people who fulfil their dreams. This is also true in motorsports. We experience our innovative strength on the race track, demonstrate courage in pursuing new avenues and delight car owners with sporting performance," says Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG. "In addition to our involvement in the Formula E World Championship, we are now taking the next big step forward in electric mobility. The concept study is our vision of all-electric customer motorsports. The Mission R embodies everything that makes Porsche strong: performance, design and sustainability."
While Porsche hasn't quite committed to building a series-production Mission R-based racing car, it is nodding and winking quite heavily in that direction, noting that: "The Porsche Taycan sports saloon and the Taycan Cross Turismo cross-utility vehicle closely resemble the two concept studies in terms of appearance and technology, and have already been successfully launched on the world markets - mission accomplished in other words."