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People often say, “The more things change, the more things stay the same.” However, in the case of the Porsche 911, it would be fair to say the proverb in reverse, “the more things stay the same, the more they change.” While Porsche had stuck with a rear engine layout for its flagship sports car, traditional Porsche enthusiasts began to feel betrayed as the 911 continued to evolve.
A little more than ten years ago, Porsche introduced an all-new water-cooled engine or the 911. Next, the 911 later received direct-injection and a dual-clutch paddle-shift gearbox. Project manager of the new Porsche 911 Michael Schätzle even expressed the possibility of an end to the manual transmission altogether.
The latest announcement from Porsche board member Bernhard Maier plays with the idea of a hybrid drivetrain 911. Sure to rock a few boats, Maier said, “If the environmental agencies ask us to change our sports cars in terms of power trains, then we will do it.” Maier is addressing the upcoming emissions and efficiency regulations in the United State as well as Europe. Sports car makers like Porsche will likely have a more difficult time meeting these standards, which could result to heavy fines in the future.
Porsche has been engaged in hybrid technology since the development of its radical Porsche 918 hybrid supercar concept and its 911 GT3 R hybrid race car (above). Having competed in a series of endurance races and steadily accumulating racing success, the GT3 R hybrid can help Porsche sell a hybrid system to even the most traditional of Porsche purists by providing the technology with a dash of genuine motorsport pedigree.
At the Geneva Motor Show, Maier gave a response to the recent engine downsizing trend as well. According to Maier, Porsche is not considering downsizing the 911 to a 4-cylinder engine regardless of regulations. A four-cylinder 911 is absolutely not a part of the brand’s forecast.
GALLERY: Porsche 911 GT3 R hybrid 2.o
Porsche is determined to improve their hybrid technologies and the best place to do that is on the race track. For the 2012 race season, Porsche has further developed its 911 GT3 R Hybrid race car, and will be putting it to the test once again. Exactly where or when, however, has not been revealed.
The 911 GT3 R Hybrid is still considered a rolling race lab to Porsche, but the practical experience it gains under racing conditions has become worth it in Porsche’s goal of making hybrid drive more efficient.
Wolfgang Hatz, Board Member for Research and Development, believes that the GT3 R Hybrid project shows how important it is to test future technologies on the race track. Meanwhile, Hatz believes that there’s no way around the hybrid technology in motorsport and Porsche will “determinedly blaze this trail and further develop the hybrid technology.”
Porsche has announced it will enter an LMP1 prototype race car in the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans, and it is believed that car will be a hybrid.
GALLERY: Porsche GT3 R Hybrid
There is plenty of buzz surrounding Porsche‘s upcoming 991-generation 911 models and CAR Magazine out in the United Kingdom has revealed some more details on various 991 future derivatives. There aren’t any overwhelming surprises with the upcoming model announcements, but it’s clear that Porsche will be moving swiftly to launch several models out of their 991 generation in the upcoming years.
Once the standard Carrera and Carrera S models arrive at the end of this year, we’re expected to see the 911 Cabriolet next featuring a stylish soft-top. The end of 2012 should bring Porsche’s next generation Carrera 4, bringing four-wheel-drive to the Carrera and Carrera S models. It’s believed that the C2 and C4 will feature a 3.4L engine with 350-bhp and 280 lb-ft of torque, while the C2S and C4S will pack 400-bhp and 325 lb-ft of torque from a 3.8L.
By 2013, the new 911 Turbo will arrive, featuring a fun-filled 3.8L, 520-bhp power plant. The standard 911 Turbo should be followed up by a soft-top variant in 2014. 2013 should also bring a new GT3 model, featuring a high-revving naturally aspirated flat-six engine.
Way down the road in late 2013 or early 2014 will be Targa and Speedster versions of the 991-generation 911. Rumor has it that Porsche’s product planning department looks to bring back the MkII targa, which featured a folding removable top and a heated glass backlight. Though the Speedster variant hasn’t been confirmed yet, it wouldn’t surprise any of us to see Porsche create a Speedster based on the 991 Cabriolet.
Last but not least, a 911 hybrid should be in the works as well, thanks to Porsche’s success with their 911 GT3 R Hybrid. We’ll stay tuned for upcoming, official releases from Porsche – but for now, we have plenty to look forward to with the new 991 generation.
[Source: Car Magazine]
GALLERY: Porsche 991 Generation 911s
How glorious the Internet can be. With rumors, come renders and here is one we can dig. Recently we reported on a rumor of a possible GT3 RS Special Edition and the rumors have turned into speculation over a Porsche GT3 Hybrid. So naturally, a talented member of TeamSpeed (the forum where the rumor originated) has taken the liberty to render out what this possibly upcoming, mysterious Porsche GT3 RS may be.
The forum member, who goes by porschecarreragtmay6, based his rendering off speculation that Porsche would incorporate KERS into a GT3 model, possibly labeling it as a hybrid. And in his dream world, the GT3 Hybrid would sport a 4.0L RSR engine that pushes out 500-hp. The exterior would feature a larger rear wing, new splitter, new graphics, flared fenders, intakes on the rear fenders, a carbon fiber hood and more.
Could this be a sign of things to come? We’ll just have to wait and see which route Porsche decides to take.
Oh, and make sure to hit the link below to see the GT3 Hybrid in several other color combos.