WATCH: Unprecedented access to Porsche designs that will blow your mind

By Pritesh Ruthun Time of article published Nov 13, 2020

Share this article:

JOHANNESBURG - Porsche invited us to a unique virtual event this week, Porsche Unseen, where it showcased some of its design studies and projects that are usually hidden from the public eye.

These are cars the company planned to build in one form or another and in some cases these cars were ready for market, but as they are design studies and usually one-off bespoke pieces of engineering you can't walk into you local Porsche Centre and place you order just yet.

Here are some of my favourite cars that Porsche showcased at Porsche Unseen 2020:

PORSCHE 919 STREET

Year created: 2017

Development stage: 1:1 clay model

One of the fastest and most successful racing cars of the 21st century and the latest chapter of success in the great motorsport history of Porsche, the Porsche 919 Hybrid won the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times in succession - from 2015 to 2017.

To pay tribute this achievement, in 2018, racing driver Timo Bernhard lapped the Nürburgring Nordschleife in an Evo version of the Le Mans-winning car in just 5:19.55 minutes, which was a new lap record.

The Porsche 919 Street was developed on the basis of the existing technology, promising to make the exhilarating driving experience of the LMP1 race car available to amateur drivers for the road.

Under the outer shell are the carbon monocoque and powerful 662kW/2000Nm electrified hybrid racing drivetrain that helped the Porsche 919 to achieve victory at Le Mans.

The dimensions and wheelbase were also the same as on the race car. For a short while, it looked like it might be possible to build customer cars without road approval as a limited edition. However, the high-performance racing technology was extraordinarily complex – a team of mechanics needed around 45 minutes just to start the LMP1 engine.

Porsche say it would have been necessary to send a team of “flying doctors” to race tracks all over the world. For the time being, the idea of a Le Mans winner for gentleman drivers, therefore, remains a beautiful dream but that's not to say we won't see something like this hypercar from Stuttgart very soon.

PORSCHE VISION SPYDER

Year: 2019

Development stage: 1:1 hard model

Eternal rebel James Dean is, arguably, one of the greatest heroes of Porsche’s history. His silver Porsche 550 Spyder, to which he lovingly gave the nickname “Little Bastard”, remains in our collective memory up to the present day.

However, when the Weissach wizards came up with the Porsche Vision Spyder, the design team was not just harking back to James Dean and his sports car.

The Porsche 550-1500 RS Spyder also served as a further source of inspiration for the volumes, dimensions and formal design elements. Hans Herrmann had driven this racing car for more than 3000km, north to south through Mexico, in the legendary Carrera Panamericana in 1954 – achieving a class victory and third place overall for Porsche.

With its spartan cockpit, flat radiator grilles over its mid-mounted engine, red racing stripes and the suggested fins at the rear, this compact sports car quite clearly calls to mind the Carrera Panamericana racer.

At the same time, and perhaps most importantly, the Porsche Vision Spyder study presents to us the basis for further development of the design identity for combustion-engined Porsche sports cars: the vertical arrangement of the headlights at the front as well as other aerodynamic and functional elements such as the angular roll bar was adopted as part of the Porsche design language. Could this be the new Boxster?

We aren't sure, and Porsche won't confirm anything, but looking at the pictures we certainly can see this as a fitting replacement to the 718 range of Porsche sports cars in the near future.

PORSCHE VISION Renndienst (Race Service)

Year: 2018:

Development stage: 1:1 hard model

Perhaps the car that excited me the most in Porsche's presentation was the new mom's taxi that they deny is coming. The question was asked, what can a Porsche look like where the focus is on the experience of space? Is such a car even compatible with Porsche's brand values? Michael Mauer and his team answered these questions in 2018 already with an unusual automotive vision. The Porsche Vision “Renndienst”.

It is a variation of a family-friendly van for up to six people that can already be found in many garages today standing directly next to a sports car from Zuffenhausen. It even has an ancestor in Porsche’s brand history: the legendary VW race service van. However, it was clear to the design team right from the start that a van from Porsche should not be conceived and designed as a puritan and practical bus, but had to step out into new territory.

They designed a futuristic “space shuttle” with “high-tension" proportions that combines sportiness and comfortable travel in a completely new way, but which is still immediately recognisable as a Porsche. Its seamless, flat-fronted body, powerfully flared wheel arches and asymmetrical window design mean that all conventional categories can be forgotten.

In the interior, passengers are said to find an extremely comfortable and modular travel cabin. The driver of the Porsche Vision “Renndienst” sits in a central lounge chair - Hello McLaren F1. The single-seat provides a sporty driving experience, gives the rear passengers a clear view to the front and takes up less space than a conventional seat row in autonomous driving mode. The all-electric drive technology is also located in the underbody to save space.

Of course, Porsche says the Vision “Renndienst” is still only an idea, but such experimental visions are of essential importance for the brand.

In fact, Mauer said in the video engagement: "They help to explore new possibilities and question accustomed ways of thinking and conventions. Only in this way is it possible to repeatedly reinvent the wheel."

PORSCHE VISION 916

Year: 2016

Development stage: 1:1 clay model

How minimalist can a Porsche be in current times? An intern from the Porsche design team in Weissach answered the question with this appealing little vehicle concept. The stylistic inspiration for the pigeon-blue study was the compact Porsche 916, which was developed as a prototype at the beginning of the 1970s but never went into series production.

The Porsche Vision 916 is powered all-electrically by four wheel-hub motors – a tribute to the first all-wheel-drive Lohner-Porsche race car, which automobile designer Ferdinand Porsche developed all the way back in 1900.

In combination with its low weight, the technology of this minimalist sports car promised plenty of driving pleasure and just cried out to be tested on the Grossglockner or the Stelvio Pass – just like the first prototypes of the Porsche 356 and 911.

A car like this seems ideal for the future and considering the leaps that the company has made in electric vehicle technology since 2016, it seems like a perfect fit for people who want sportiness in a compact, emission-free platform.

PORSCHE VISION E

Year: 2019

Development stage: 1:1 hard model

Formula E is arguably the most innovative racing championship in the world at the moment. In it, the technology of the future is put to the test under high-performance conditions, taken to its limits, and then tuned for power, efficiency and sustainability. Porsche has participated in the all-electric road races since 2019. The Porsche 99X Electric joins the long line of innovative racing cars that can be described as Made in Weissach. The independently developed drivetrain could also serve as a basis for future all-electric sports cars for the race track and road.

Porsche jumped on the idea of further expanding the area of customer motorsport and the idea of offering private individuals a car-for-the-race-track that would come as close as possible to a modern Formula E racer in terms of performance and driving dynamics. The Porsche Vision E has been designed as a radically lightweight, single-seater race car for the race track. With its central seat position and 800-volt technology, it would, without doubt, offer privateer drivers an otherwise unattainable driving experience.

MORE UNSEEN CARS

If you would like to more fascinating cars from the Porsche Weissach team, you can purchase a new book, Porsche Unseen. Ask your local Porsche Centre how you can secure a copy for your Porsche Collection.

DRIVE360

Share this article:

Related Articles