Low, wide and stunningly attractive, we might actually be looking at the next-generation 718 Cayman, or at least an early prototype of its general shape. Porsche has yet to divulge how the new Mission R Concept might fit into future production plans, but being that it was designed as a possible customer race car, potentially filling the role now held by Porsche’s entry-level sports coupe in 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport guise (along with various 718 Boxster and 911 models), it does cause the imagination to wander.
It doesn’t help matters that the Mission R occupies approximately the same real estate as the 718 Cayman, although it’s wider and quite a bit lower than today’s road-going car. The concept also eschews the 718’s range of combustion engines for a pair of purely electric motors and a sizeable 80.0-kWh battery, the one twisting the front axle good for 429 horsepower at max boost, and the one at the rear making up to 644 unbridled ponies. This combines for a total of 1,073 horsepower in Qualifying mode, or a more modest 671 hp in Race mode, which Porsche claims will deliver between 30 and 45 minutes of fast-paced laps, depending on just how fast it’s pacing.
For those more interested in drag racing, take note the Mission R will catapult from standstill to 100 km/h in just 2.5 seconds, before attaining a top track speed of 299 km/h (186 mph), while its road course performance is said to be capable of matching one of today’s 911 GT3 Cup cars around a single lap.
“Porsche is the brand for people who fulfil their dreams,” said Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG. “This is also true in motorsports. We experience our innovative strength on the race track, demonstrate courage in pursuing new avenues and delight car owners with sporting performance. In addition to our involvement in the Formula E World Championship, we are now taking the next big step forward in electric mobility. The concept study is our vision of all-electric customer motorsports. The Mission R embodies everything that makes Porsche strong: performance, design and sustainability.”
It’s not only fast around a racetrack, but the Mission R’s 900-volt electrical system and the Porsche Turbo Charging system makes it blisteringly quick to charge. In fact, a nearly depleted battery takes a mere 15 minutes to fill from 5 to 80 percent, which makes it even faster than the superbly short 22.5-minute duration needed to recharge a Porsche Taycan from 5 to 80 percent via its 800-volt system.
The Mission R, introduced earlier this month at the IAA auto show in Munich, was built from the ground up for track purposes, as evidenced by its exposed cage-like carbon-fibre composite exoskeleton, which is wholly integrated into the structure of the car to aid rigidity and overall strength. The engineering team worked together with the design team from the onset too, the lead of the latter having also been instrumental in shaping the Vision Spyder concept, which we covered late last year as part of the Porsche Unseen series of concept car stories.
Unusual for an electric car, the Mission R’s design incorporates a lot of cooling ducts up front and down each side. In fact, this EV required the same level of cooling as a conventional gasoline-powered spec-racing model, such as a GT3 Cup car, because maintaining stable battery temperatures are so vitally important when pushing an electrical system as hard as the Mission R’s would be used on race day. Therefore, within with the big, gaping grille up front, the Mission R includes active aerodynamics like louvred front air intakes that can open and close dependant on cooling requirements. These work together with the rear wing, helping to minimize downforce when its Drag Reduction System (DRS) is open to increase speed on straights.
Of course, sustainability is the overarching theme of the new Mission R, so together with its zero-emissions powertrain the car’s body, including the front spoiler lip, side skirts and diffuser, is constructed from natural fibre reinforced plastic (NFRP) created from farmed flax fibres. This method was also used for much of the interior, the latter featuring special 3D-printed foam components too, while yet more intelligent tech includes a digital display for primary functions directly on the steering wheel hub, plus above and behind that, an additional screen for monitoring side and central/rear camera views. What’s more, remotely adjustable cameras have been integrated inside the Mission R so that fans can watch the driver in action during livestreams. Additionally, a touch display next to the driver’s seat can be used for driver biometric data information, plus more.
Even better news is the Mission R isn’t just a design study, but Porsche is currently running a prototype on their test track in order to develop it before an actually customer car may hit the road in 2025 or 2026. To clarify, the Mission R hasn’t been confirmed for production just yet, but the concept certainly lines up with Porsche’s future EV product strategy, plus its long history of producing customer race cars for spec series.
Of note, Porsche’s motorsports division has produced and delivered more than 4,400 Cup cars from its Weissach facility in the last three decades, ever since the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland began some 31 years ago. Today, 30 one-make Porsche cup series are held around the world, with the latest 911 GT3 Cup having just been initiated for the 2021 season using 992-series cars. If the Mission R is what we have to look forward to, Porsche’s motorsport future indeed looks rosy.
While Porsche doesn’t have a production-ready Mission R available for weekend racers just yet, it does have the all-electric four-door coupe and crossover duo that might fit your lifestyle even better. To find out more, contact Porsche Centre Vancouver at (604) 736-7911 to arrange a test drive of the fabulous new Taycan and Taycan Cross Turismo, or just drop by our showroom at 688 Terminal Ave, Vancouver.
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Date: September 2021
Photo credits: Porsche