Porsche commemorated the highly-successful 917's 50th anniversary by unveiling a retro-inspired concept in 2019 and displaying it in its official museum. It was never a candidate for production, but it's not the only hypercar its designers created during the 2010s. It detailed four additional models to confirm that, while Porsche out of the segment, it's not leaving it behind. Its well of ideas on how to move performance forward hasn't run dry.
Like the 917, and like most of the prototypes the firm recently shared with its fans, these one-offs are life-sized models not equipped with a powertrain. In some cases, the men and women who designed them had a precise idea of what they should be powered by; the 917 was developed around the 918 Spyder's basic platform. In other cases, technical specifications are open to interpretation. Although we don't think the models highlighted below will see the light at the end of a production line, they show Porsche is already thinking about its next hypercar.
Porsche left top-tier endurance racing after the 2017 season, but its 19 victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans continue to inspired its designers. Built in 2019, the Vision 920 blends elements from the company's current design language with some of the more extreme styling cues seen on the 919 Hybrid. It was envisioned as either a super sports car for the road, so something along the lines of the Mercedes-AMG One, or as a race car for privateers. It could also conceivably have catered to both groups. Interior photos haven't been released, but peeking through the windshield reveals the driver sits in the middle of the cabin, like in an LMP1 car.
"The Vision 920 is without a doubt one of the most extreme visions of a super sports car that has been developed in recent years in Weissach," Porsche said.
906 Living Legend
Built in 1966, the 906 coupe was a mid-engined race car that helped cement Porsche's reputation as a force to be reckoned with on the track. It notably won that year's edition of the grueling Targa Florio race. Thirty-nine years later, the German firm set out to design a 21st century version of the car without going full retro. Vertical headlights integrated into air intakes and a pair of wings beneath the front end create a visual link between the 906 and the 906 Living Legend, but the new car's body is far sleeker than its predecessor's, and designers gave it a more modern-looking rear end. They notably ditched the original 906's round rear lights and added vertical fins.
Michael Mauer, the head of Porsche's design department, pointed out the 906 Living Legend's body consists of two main parts. Designers intentionally left a gap between the two pieces, clearly visible in the gallery above, and they transformed it into an intake that channels cooling air to the mid-mounted engine.
Porsche joined Formula E in 2019, and the lessons it's learning are gradually trickling down into its growing range of electric cars. Naturally, its motorsport department explored the possibility of putting some of the technology that powers the 99X Electric race car into a single-seater model that privateers can enter in a wide variety of events.
Built in 2019, the Vision E illustrates what this race car could look like. It's equipped with 800-volt technology, and it benefits from a wide range of weight-saving materials that partially offset the battery pack's weight.
Vision 918 RS
918 Spyder production ended in July 2015, but no one at Porsche has forgotten this ground-breaking model. It stood proud as one of the first cars that leveraged hybrid technology to deliver better performance, not just to save fuel, and Porsche noted it was also the first street-legal car to lap the Nürburgring track in less than seven minutes. Built in 2019, the Vision 918 RS shows how this technological flagship could have evolved if production had continued through the 2010s. Its design is sharper and much more aggressive, its front end is characterized by vertical lights while its rear wears a giant diffuser, and the roof fin is reminiscent of the 919 Hybrid.
Porsche focused on design, so how the 918 would have evolved mechanically is up in the air. Our crystal ball tells us it would have received improvements in battery and motor technology while gaining a whole lot more power.
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