Porsche will be lifting the covers on its 911 GT3 R Hybrid at the Geneva Motor Show next month.
The vehicle, which is of course developed especially for racing, features an innovative hybrid drive system, with an electrical front axle drive with two electric motors, each developing 60kW, supplementing the familiar 480bhp 4.0l flat-six pot at the rear.
And, instead of the usual batteries of a conventional hybrid-powered road car, this 911 features an electric flywheel power generator - mounted inside the cockpit beside the driver - that delivers energy to the electric motors on the front axle.
The flywheel generator itself is an electric motor - with its rotor capable of spinning at speeds of up to 40,000rpm - and stores energy mechanically as rotation, or kinetic, energy.
The flywheel generator is charged-up whenever the driver applies the brakes, with the two electric motors reversing their function on the front axle and acting themselves as generators.
|1. and 5. Power electronics. 2. Portal shaft with two electric motors. 3. High voltage cable. 4. Electrical flywheel battery.
The driver is able to call upon this extra energy from the charged flywheel generator at his command for competitive advantage, such as when accelerating out of a bend or overtaking.
The flywheel generator is slowed down electromagnetically in the generator mode, and is able to supply up to 120kW to the two electric motors; this additional power is available to the driver after each charge process for approximately six to eight seconds.
After its debut in Geneva, the 911 GT3 R Hybrid will be tested in long-distance races around the Nurburgring, with the highlight of the test programme being the 24 Hours race around the Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit on May 15-16.
The focus, of course, is for the vehicle to be a "racing laboratory" and provide invaluable knowledge and insight on the subsequent use of hybrid technology in road-going Porsche sports cars.