The initial plan was to make it electric, but it appears it'll have a combustion engine of F1 origins.
As reported by our colleagues at Motorsport.com, Porsche developed an engine hoping it would join Formula 1 from the 2021 season as an engine supplier. However, things went south as not only did the Volkswagen Group decided to focus on Formula E instead, but the prospects of simplified and more affordable F1 engine regulations were axed.
The six-cylinder engine that was supposed to power a Formula 1 car was developed by a team of 40 people from Porsche’s LMP1 project and would’ve been the company’s return to the competition following its failed engine program in 1991 with the Footwork team. It now seems all these efforts to develop a new engine from the ground up haven’t been in vain after all as it might be repurposed for a road-going hypercar, according to a report from Autocar magazine.
While the 918 Spyder’s successor was initially supposed to be fully electric with solid-state batteries, an internal study at Porsche showed that technology is not advancing quickly enough to have it ready in a few years. The company has now apparently switched to plan B by using as a foundation the F1-derived engine, much like the Mercedes-AMG One hypercar will be equipped with a 1.6-liter V6 engine adapted from Lewis Hamilton’s title-winning cars.
According to the same report, Porsche continued to develop the six-cylinder engine even after plans to enter F1 were dropped and focus was put on Formula E and the 99X electric race car. The internal combustion engine could work together with a powerful electric motor that might benefit from technology developed by Rimac, the Croatian hypercar in which Porsche has a 15.5% stake.
Little else is known about the car, but it’s expected to arrive by the middle of the next decade and feature retro-inspired styling. Porsche has made it clear it wants to lap the Nürburgring in 6 minutes and 30 seconds, which would make it 27 seconds quicker than the 918 Spyder lap record from six years ago. As a side note, the company claimed the outright record with the 919 Hybrid Evo last year with a time of 5:19.54.