Porsche's development boss says that the Detroit auto show-stopping 918 RSR hybrid racecar will be developed alongside the open-topped Spyder road project, instead of replacing the 2010 Geneva concept.
The 756hp RSR mixes the hybrid systems from Porsche's 911 GT3 R hybrid project, the engine from the RS Spyder racecar and the bodywork of the 918 Spyder, modified for vertically opening doors and a roof.
The RSR's launch at Detroit – marking Porsche's return to the show after a four-year gap – prompted speculation that the 918 project as a whole had evolved into a hard top. But Porsche's outgoing board member for development, Wolfgang Durheimer, insisted that the hard-top development would be focused on motorsports.
“The road application of this car is the 918 Spyder,” he told Autocar. “There is no decision taken that the coupe type will be available on the Spyder. We learned from the Carrera GT that the driving pleasure of the car is enhanced when you have the possibility to drive open or closed.
“We have always told people interested in the 918 Spyder that it will have a roof concept similar to the Carrera GT's, with a lightweight carbon fiber panel. A closed car is better for motorsport, though.”
Porsche is said to be in talks with race series organizers about making the car eligible, although sources suggest it could struggle to gain entry to a major event in 2011.
Durheimer – who leaves Porsche to assume control of Bentley, Bugatti and VW Group motorsport on Feb. 1 – also said the company is preparing to offer hybrids across its entire range in the near future.