Geneva preview: Porsche 911 GT3 Hybrid

February 11, 2010 § Leave a comment

Ferdinand Porsche actually built the first hybrid petrol-electric car recognised as such, so it’s appropriate that 110 years later his company has finally developed another one. The 911 GT3 R Hybrid is a racetrack-only test-lab for the new tech, which is as much about improving performance than saving fuel, though making fewer pitstops has got to be beneficial in races like the Nurburgring 24 Hours, which it will contest in May.

The GT3 R Hybrid keeps its 480bhp flat-six petrol engine at the back, but adds two 60kW motors to drive its front axle, making it four-wheel drive. In place of batteries is a flywheel power generator – mounted in the cockpit, though this would have to be changed for production cars – which stores kinetic energy captured under deceleration and channelled from the motors, which themselves act as generators. The energy at the spinning flywheel can supply up to 120kw in quick bursts, kicking in to supplement acceleration on demand for up to eight seconds. Waste heat energy is also collected under braking. The car can’t run in an electric propulsion-only mode, however.

If the racer runs well, Porsche is considering the fitment of such technology in its road cars.

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