Well, it was fun while it lasted. Patent images of a sleek Porsche hypercar emerged onto the Internet a couple of weeks ago to show what many believed at that point was an early look at the 918 Spyder successor. As it turns out, it’s not. Car and Driver found better versions of those images from the German Patent and Trademark Office and they too first had the impression it was a design to preview a new flagship Porsche.

The mid-engined, low-slung machine is actually something we’ve seen already. The patent images are depicting a slightly modified version of the 917 Living Legend, a concept unveiled by Porsche a little over a year ago to celebrate the race car’s 50th anniversary. We saw the connection between the two cars when the images surfaced online, but we were hoping these would be a window into the future of a 918 Spyder replacement.

Gallery: Porsche 917 Living Legend patent images

Contacted by Car and Driver, a Porsche representative said: “There is no connection with a potential future sports car.” As far as the differences between the car in the patent images and the actual concept, the former has headlights and wheels that aren’t borrowed from the 918 Spyder. Overall, they’re both pretty similar, but one is more track-focused with aggressive aero and the other is a more road-friendly derivative.

To refresh your memory, we’ve also attached images of the concept.

Gallery: Porsche 917 Living Legend concept

As far as an actual 918 Spyder replacement, it’s expected to come around the middle of the decade in a best-case scenario with some form of electrification. Whether it will still have a combustion engine remains to be seen, but regardless of the powertrain, Porsche is already targeting a lap time of 6 minutes and 30 seconds at the Nürburgring. As a side note, the 918 Spyder is a former record holder for the fastest street-legal production car at the Green Hell, a title obtained in 2013 when the hybrid hypercar lapped the track in 6:57.

In terms of styling, Porsche’s chief designer Michael Mauer told Autocar a year ago the company could either go with a retro look or start from scratch and opt for a futuristic appearance. We certainly wouldn’t mind seeing the 917 Living Legend on the road, but at the same time, we’re wondering what the design team can do to top the 918 Spyder. The Carrera GT’s spiritual successor hasn’t aged at all, even though the concept was unveiled a decade ago to preview a strikingly similar production version that followed in 2013.

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