► Zero-emission race car concept
► 1073bhp weapon intended for one-making racing
► A sneak preview of the electric Cayman?
It's hard to imagine a much peachier brief for Porsche's designers and engineers.
'Folks, we're after a great-looking concept combining all the coolest bits of our existing customer race cars with the wild, futuristic stuff you have skulking around in your sketchbooks. Oh, and we're going to drop some unsubtle hints about what the pure-electric Cayman and Boxster will look like when they arrive, cool?'
This, then, is the Mission R, a concept designed to take Porsche's long involvement in customer racing into the electric age. And while it is just a concept, it's one likely to enjoy a bright future – Porsche is already running prototypes to validate the powertrain, and you tend not to do that unless you've plans for the car beyond your motor show stand. Stuttgart's track record for turning concepts into electrified road cars is also second-to-none (think 918 Spyder and the two Mission E bodystyles, all three of which debuted as show cars and went on sale).
Okay, gimme the long and short of it
Sure. Like most cars in the Taycan range, the Mission R uses twin e-motors (the front rated at 429bhp, the rear at 626bhp) for four-wheel drive and an impressive bunch of numbers: 1073bhp in qualifying trim or 671bhp in race trim. The R promises to launch 0-62mph in just 2.5sec (eek) and power on past a barely audible 186mph...
Able to accept 340kW charging, it can be charged from 5% to 80% in just 15 minutes between races, as you tie your racesuit around your waist and grab an energy drink... While Porsche cedes that these figures are based on another step forward in battery development, this isn't pie-in-the-sky stuff. Oil-cooling for the motors and battery pack mean they're able to run hard without thermal degradation, while 900-volt electrics (the Taycan is 800 volt) bring rapid charging and improved efficiency.
Any clever stuff?
Active aero and a drag-reduction system feature, to boost efficiency (reducing drag between corners) and yet still yield a tonne of grip when you need it. At the same time the car's bodywork makes extensive use of ultra-light yet renewable materials, notably plastics reinforced with natural fibres, rather than carbon. This is the sexy face of sustainability.
Inside, you sit within a protective module that could also be offered as an eSports simulator, blurring the lines between real racing and its online avatar. Displays offer views behind and to the sides of the car, so you can put up a textbook defence of your hard-won lead, and a neatly integrated roof-top air vent feeds a cool breeze to your fevered brow.
The steering wheel is a deadly-serious prototype-style design, while a touchscreen to the side allows access to system controls and your biometric readouts, so you can see just how worryingly high your heartrate is. Multiple cameras stream the action to an online audience.
Is it as dainty as it looks?
It is. At 4.3 metres long, the Mission R is slightly shorter than the current 718 Cayman but noticeably wider (1990mm) and, at 1190mm, significantly lower. So, it's essentially a Cayman in terms of proportions. Anything to be read into that, given we know an electric version of Porsche's mid-engined icon is in the works?
'I mean, dimension-wise it's very similar to the current Cayman and Boxster. It looks bigger because usually concept cars are on huge 24-inch wheels – these are just 18 inches, proper racing wheels,' says Ingo Bauer-Scheinhütte, manager at Porsche's advanced design studio.
'Of course, at the same time as working on this car, we are also working on production cars as well. It's actually the same team that that is working on both. So, no matter what exactly us underneath the car, you will see definitely very, very similar design cues on many of our future production cars.'
Best news we've had all week.