Although just a concept car, Porsche decided to make the Mission R a fully functional vehicle that was tested at its internal test track before even having a body. According to the automaker, it’s already a capable race car.
“That’s the Porsche philosophy,” says Michael Behr, the technical project manager behind the Mission R. “This prototype is, of course, a show car at this point, yet it also meets the highest technical standards.”
Porsche says it poured in the same attention to detail as it would with a production car when it carried out the CAD design process for the electric racer. It even considered new techniques to make the electric motors capable of racing long distances.
A directly cooled stator (the stationary element of the motor in which the rotor spins) means that the Mission R can deliver continuous power on the race track. The two motors and the batteries are oil-cooled, a trick the brand learned while racing the 919 Hybrid at Le Mans.
In order to keep to the concept’s 1,500 kg (3,306 lbs) target weight, the team also used 3D printing extensively. The single-speed transmission case, for instance, weighs 30 percent less than a cast one.
Fancy materials aren’t the only way to save weight, though. Porsche considered the nature of the project deeply, taking 12 kg off the braking system that it could save thanks to the EV’s regenerative braking technology.
Indeed, before the design team had even come up with the body, which is also lightweight and sustainable thanks to a combination of natural and carbon fiber, they were testing the chassis on track. With just a steel subframe to drive, test driver Lars Kern drove the car on a cold spring morning months ahead of its debut.
“What surprised me the most was how advanced the car already was,” said Kern. “And of course the immediate availability of tremendous torque and overall driving dynamics. At that point it was clear: what’s being created here is going to be a lot of fun.”
Porsche said it doesn’t often create such a complete prototype, but pointed to a few of its other similar projects. The list includes the prototypes for the Boxster, the Carrera GT, the 918 Spyder, and the Mission E, which previewed the Taycan. Moreover, Michael Mauer, Porsche’s design boss, said that “…in the case of the Mission R, the car is packed to the gills with signs that hint of a future production model,” which could be the next-gen 718 Cayman/Boxster duo.