Porsche’s rich racing heritage, and the emotional connection to motorsports that comes with it, have roped in all generations of performance car lovers, whether it be for style, prestige, or simply the sound of a raw flat-six engine.
Times are changing, though. Electrification is the future of motoring, and Porsche knows that. Still, it’s committed to keeping the visceral attachment to its cars that fans have had for decades by being committed to both performance and luxury—and what better way to do that than with a true fully-electric GT racing car?
Last week at the IAA Mobility Auto Show in Munich, Porsche revealed a secret project that it has been working on for some time: the Mission R.
The race-ready concept is a preview of the spirit Porsche believes its upcoming purpose-built EV race cars will embody. (The closest analog of this battery-powered concept car is the automaker’s track-dedicated champion, the 911 GT3 Cup.) For the Mission R, that ethos begins with the two electric motors stationed at the front and rear wheels.
In Qualifying Mode, the Mission R pumps out a wicked 1,073 horsepower—that’s 429 HP at the front axle and 644 HP at the rear. This insane power helps the race car accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in under 2.5 seconds. And if the accelerator is kept pressed to the floor, the Mission R can reach a top speed of 186 MPH.
This extreme power is, in-part, attributed to Porsche’s all-new “permanently excited synchronous machines,” as Porsche describes its next-generation electric motors. Porsche says that the most innovative feature of these motors is the direct cooling of the stator—the stationary magnetic poles that sit along the outside of the rotors. A traditional EV cools the motor by flowing coolant through a surrounding jacket, but Porsche’s method involves flowing the coolant around the copper windings directly, which is significantly more efficient at removing heat. Combined with direct oil cooling of the battery, the combo is meant to withstand the abuse the vehicle will face on race day.
For longer periods of racing, Porsche offers a slightly less powerful Race Mode that trades total power for more sustainable output over a longer period of time. Still, 671 horsepower is enough to sprint around a track for up to 40 minutes with its large 82 kilowatt-hour battery.
When the battery is depleted, racers just need a short break to bring the car back up to a usable charge. The Mission R’s astounding 900-volt system allows the car to charge from zero to 80 percent in just 15 minutes using a 350 kW fast charger.
Porsche knew that its latest race car couldn’t just be fast—it also needed to be nimble. Batteries are often the heaviest component of an electric car, and the Mission R has no shortage of them to support a long period of racing between charges. Despite this, the Mission R tipped the scales at a lean 3,300 pounds, which is about the weight of a modern Toyota Camry. (Meanwhile, the GT3 Cup weighs in at around 2,600 pounds.)
To bring down the weight, Porsche focused on using lightweight composite materials wherever possible. Rather than a full hardened steel roll cage, the German engineers decided to use carbon fiber to form an exoskeleton that extends to the exterior of the car. Many exterior plastics were formed using Natural Fiber Reinforced Plastics (NFRP), a material sourced by using renewable flax fibers obtained from farming. Porsche says that NFRPs are even more environmentally friendly than…