Porsche promised a surprise debut for the Munich Motor Show and it delivered in electrifying form, the German sports car company unveiling the Mission R concept — a show car that will influence both its future racers and production vehicles.
The prototype is capable of making “over 1,000 horsepower” in qualifying mode and running at speeds up to 300 kmh, or 186 mph, for up to 30 minutes on a charge. The all-electric racer is meant to provide not only a glimpse at where the company’s motorsports program is heading but also some insight into what future production Porsches will look like, company officials said during a Munich event.
“Motorsports is becoming more electric and more sustainable and we want to remain a part of that,” said Porsche CEO Oliver Blume during a news conference that was also webcast to fans around the world. Motorsports has been a Porsche benchmark, he emphasized,” while also a “proving grounds” for technology the automaker later brings to its retail products.
It has to look like a Porsche
Porsche has long been a force to be reckoned with in racing. And it has begun getting its wheels wet in electric motorsports as part of the Formula E series. But the unveiling of the Mission R concept was clearly designed to signal an even broader effort is in development.
The presence of racer/actor Patrick Dempsey and Timo Bernhard, a two-time Le Mans winner and Porsche test driver, at the event emphasized the Mission R is more than just a show car. Some are speculating it could provide a green alternative to the old 911 GT3 Cup race series — though Porsche officials didn’t outline specific plans during their Monday event.
The sleek Mission R concept picks up on classic Porsche design cues, with clear links to the automaker’s first production battery-electric vehicle, the Taycan. It measures 170.5 inches in length, about 75 inches in height and about 47 inches in height.
“It was very important that it looks like a Porsche,” said the automaker’s design chief Michael Mauer, “so we worked very closely with our colleagues from the motorsports department.”
Sustainable materials, inside and out
One of the more distinctive features is a virtually all glass roof. The body and underpinnings use carbon fiber composites, though, Porsche also switched to natural, renewable fibers, where possible, including flax fiber reinforced plastic.
Inside, it’s a decidedly driver-oriented layout and one of the more innovative features is the use of a video screen layout mounted directly in the center of the steering wheel. There’s also a helmet dryer for after a tough race.
The package is propelled by twin electric motors. The one on the front axle can make up to 435 hp, the one on the rear a maximum 653 hp. At a combined 1,088 horsepower, that’s about twice what a 911 GT3 Cup car produces. It’s also a figure reserved for qualifying, said Blume. Otherwise, it will be limited to around 680 hp combined.
Even then, that’s enough to launch the Mission R from 0-100 kmh, or 0-62 mph, in just 2.5 seconds, with a top speed of around 300 kmh.
Quick on the track, quick to charge
The two motors draw power from an 80 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. The Porsche Taycan was the first production vehicle to upgrade to an 800-volt electric architecture, twice what most battery-electric cars operate at. The Mission R bumps that up to 900 volts which makes it easier to send current to the motors.
That also shortens charging times. Using a 340 kilowatt quick-charger, the Mission R can go from a 5% to 80% state-of-charge in just 15 minutes, Porsche claims.
“Racing electric cars is a whole new world,” said Le Mans winner Bernhard, and one that will take some drivers and motorsports fans time to adapt to. But there is plenty of “emotion” to the experience thanks to the instant torque that electric motorsports can deliver.
An electrifying future
Porsche plans to invest about $18 billion in electrification during the next five years, Blume noting that the company intends to be carbon neutral by 2030 and already uses solar power to produce the batteries in its Taycan model. Porsche has confirmed plans for several more BEVs, starting with an all-electric version of the Macan SUV.
As for the Mission R, Porsche officials tiptoed around specific production plans but did everything but confirm some version will show up on the track in the near future.
And, as is the norm for the German manufacturer, it won’t end there.
“Stay tuned,” said design chief Mauer, “and you will see how some of the design elements will show up in a production car.”