Driving Porsche’s Top-Secret Prototype Electric Race Car!

May 14 2022


Speaker 1: Porsche built a 1000 horsepower, all electric race car in complete secrecy. And today we get to drive it. It's not too often that we see a fully functional, completely secret car roll up at a racetrack, but that's exactly what we have here.

A vision for Porsche's future GT racing in a private session for me at one of the world's great international circuits, it's circuit Ricardo Tomo in Valencia, Spain, a long flowing track [00:00:30] with plenty of off camera turns, tricky elevation changes, and a long enough straight to see what this thing can really do. But before we hit that track, let's dive a little deeper into the card itself. From a drivetrain perspective, the GT four E performance shares a lot with the mission R concept.

I was lucky enough to drive a couple of months ago, but from a design standpoint, the mission R was definitely more of a vision toward what the future race car could look like or is this is more of a development test platform to figure out how the thing is gonna actually drive. Speaker 1: So this looks somewhat [00:01:00] similar in terms of silhouettes, but pretty radically different in terms of overall design. Don't get me wrong though.

This thing still looks wildly incredibly good. It's got the overall shape of a seven 18, of course, and you can kind of see where the seven 18 body is in here below, but you get up to these fenders and there's these massive goals and fences and big swells to cover the giant racing slicks that are on this thing for today. Now, in terms of the drivetrain layout, this is based on the seven 18 club sport chassis, but of course the engine, the six that's in the back normally is gone [00:01:30] and that's been replaced by one of the three separate battery packs that are situated in this car.

There's about 82 kilowat hours of a total battery pack inside the GT four here split into three different battery packs where the engine would typically be. Speaker 1: We've got about 40 kilowat hours of battery there on the floor next to the driver. There's a second battery pack.

That's roughly 20 kilowat hours. And then up front where the fuel cell would typically be that's again about another 20 kilowat hours that gives you the total 82 kilowat hour capacity for this thing, which Porsche says would allow it to [00:02:00] run in race mode somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes long, which is about how long a typical nine 11 cup race runs these days. In addition to that, of course, we actually need something to make the thing go, something for those batteries to connect to.

And for that, we have two electric motors, one up front, and one in the back that gives this thing a total horsepower somewhere north of 1000 horsepower in qualifying mode. But interestingly, Porsche engineers told me that they don't really need that front motor to get the maximum performance out of it. What they need it for is for regeneration, which helps this thing drive longer [00:02:30] on a given charge.

So that's the look and the layout of the thing, but more importantly is how it drives and to find out well, it's time to get in the cock. Speaker 2: All right, here we go out onto the track in, oh, the GT four First time out there. [00:03:00] This is in mode three, which is race mode. And I've heard of variety of different power figures sorted for this car in this mode.

But, uh, it sounds like I'm somewhere in the ballpark of 600 horsepower, excuse me, quite a bit more than the original nine. Excuse me, the original seven 18 G4 club sport, And a little bit more weight to do it too.

600 horsepower and no control. I do have Volvo wheel drive, thankfully, but we're out here doing a little car [00:03:30] to car shooting before I was tires.

I came to a stop and went to accelerate The car didn't move, but those four tires lit up nice little smokey on the front, which I hadn't meant to do. So I'm what this towers like, we get speed Oven to temperature. So I also need a little of time to get myself at the temperature, which is a new track for me and [00:04:00] a tricky, a lot of corners off.

Just start to get power little bit. So yeah, gotta out track. Now you can hear me, right?

You got the microphone up here in my helmet here. A lot of people decry the oncoming era of electric race cars and electric racing series as if there's gonna be no more sound, but I hope you agree that this car sounds really remarkably good, especially on the outside. We [00:04:30] get up to speed on the, you'll hear this thing sounds Speaker 2: Get temp and brakes And all here.

We first time down the front [00:05:00] All 82 30. All right, I'm gonna right here just to take the first Very stable, very smooth fast turn one. <laugh> it's actually feels really nice. The power delivery is very nice and smooth talking with, uh, force factory Dar team Behar earlier, who suggested that [00:05:30] smooth is really the way to go.

No abrupt breaking, no abrupt steering that the car has a lot of grips, but it reacts best to smooth, steady input. So that be my focus for now. Again, we somewhere in the ballpark, 600 horsepower through all four wheels, But really the front motor isn't helping that much when it comes to acceleration and overall lap time, it's really there more at help for the regenerative braking.

This car door weighs more than the normal seven 18 club sport [00:06:00] actually has. Smaller breaks, weighs more, has more power, but as smaller breaks, it's not usually the way, uh, things work in motor sports. Usually you heavier car that goes faster.

You want big breaks. The reason you get away with smallers this of course has regenerative breaking and through all four wheels has regenerative braking. One of the horses engineers told me that though, this thing could put down up to a thousand horsepower acceleration.

It also has enough torque [00:06:30] to effectively generate the same amount of force under breaking without even relying on those physical breaks at all. Speaker 2: So that's a huge part of what's gonna make this car work in an endurance racing series is regenerating all of that power and bringing it back to the battery. You've got about again, about an 82 kilowat hour battery pack here, but this car would regenerate about 20, 30 kilowatt of battery, which a pack [00:07:00] longer, hard, a little harder now, Tiny formula style steering wheel positioned really high almost at The, the steering wheel, pretty lighting doing reasonably comfortable, [00:07:30] but man, it's maybe 90 degrees each way to Means take of the tighter turns like this that's coming Without my should to come.

The Really does feel very nicely planted. Plenty of Having to really about [00:08:00] Feathering Ronald coming out tighters So far so too, but, uh, downhill breaking sounds like this one are a little Arrow Now [00:08:30] we're I'm, This car is quicker than nine 11 And everybody feels pretty quick. I was running some practice labs in R two coming up to this in and nine 11 GT three cup.

And, uh, I think I'm already running quicker than this. [00:09:00] They've got the curve really nicely in the accelerator. So, you know, has really quick acceleration and really instant response, despite that I don't really like, I need to careful. I really right.

Pretty much getting my right foot apex Speaker 2: NCIA [00:09:30] Out really sets up good passing, especially motors, motor, But breaking just [00:10:00] That I math I can do right now, Buts getting unsettled [00:10:30] Way. Still The itself is This kind lot of EVs. You had this kind mushy brake pedal where you have this really vague transition between the phase and actually engaging the physical breaking.

But this thing, the pedal is very firm and [00:11:00] very co all the through his travel. So whenever I do get through the It's a nice, steady, consistent, really nice, really good Things down a little bit rush Speaker 1: Between sessions. I was able to look [00:11:30] at some of my telemetry and see just how I was doing here.

I learned why the brake pedal feels as good as it does that's because it has zero connection to either the physical or the regenerative breaking systems. This car relies entirely under rig by wire. And so the pedal feel is entirely artificial.

The car itself decides how much region to provide based on how hard you're stomping on the pedal and when to call in those physical breaks to help that division of labor, along with thousands of other channels of data is all logged for every [00:12:00] single lap on the track. With that knowledge, I headed back out for another run and promptly found the limits of those breaks. Speaker 2: All right, heading out for session two, I'm gonna talk a little less this time, focus a little more on getting my lines, right, learning this track and getting the feel for the car.

I spent a there, holy cow, pretty sure I got, [00:12:30] I found the breaking limit. Let's get through it over it. That felt a little better.

Put a lot better, a lot, a lot better. Now it's got for quality mode Speaker 1: Before quality mode. The car went back on the charger in an ideal world charging at 350 kilowats the car will go from 5% to 85% state of charge in just 15 minutes.

And that's enough juice for [00:13:00] roughly 30 minutes of on track action here. We're only charging about one third that rate. So the recharges took a little bit longer, but even so it seemed like by the time I'd gotten myself a drink and a little bit of extra coaching, it was time to strap back in.

Again, this time I was told to be a little more careful with the throttle and of course, to go out and have a good time, but not for a long time with the extra electrical consumption that comes with the additional power in quality mode. This would be a shorter session. I only had a few labs to get my qualifying time in.

Speaker 2: [00:13:30] All right, we're heading back out on the track and quality mode dialed up to mode nine, That superinten fans One thousandpower no trash control. [00:14:00] So the fun thing, dial power like arrow. Hasn't bringing zones at [00:14:30] Ad Running the risk of doing anything stupid. It Higher speeds.

Of course, to the point of doing something more quickly, We'll to do that And interesting. This [00:15:00] doesn't, this doesn't like nine 11 race or the seven 18 club sports Soly balanced with a nine. This so evenly balanced at nine 11.

When you're driving that hard on the track, you always gotta be thinking about what rear there's so much hanging out, back that coming in after you. Well, literally after you, you don't have the, the wrapped [00:15:30] around horsepower. We [00:16:00] The Much higher speeds coming into Thess.

I gotta take a little more easily [00:16:30] reacting Morely to just little switch Asper. So like [00:17:00] Shut up, enjoy it. Forgive me. <laugh> So much violent in this mode.

Speaker 1: It's really impressive.

Not only that Porsche to develop this thing in complete secrecy, but now that they've got this car as good as it is, and it's really just kind of bolted together from a seven 18 club sport with a lot of batteries and stuff thrown in here as they can, Porsche [00:17:30] expects to have a consumer ready version of this car by somewhere about 2026.

So if you run a racetrack means you've got about four years to bring charging to pit lane.