Porsche is testing the technology components of the Mission R with the 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance. We were able to try out the electrically powered racing car for a one-make cup at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia. With the equivalent of up to 1,000 hp, but without ABS, it's a more than impressive experience.
A dive, why not? Because of the spring-like weather in the Region of Valencia? No. There is only a little time left on the start-finish straight of the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, which the Porsche GT4 ePerformance already pretty much vaporizes with wild howling at the 450 kW power level, so a quick dive into the mothball of motorsport. The BMW M1 Procar series, what was that again? Formula 1 drivers who, before their actual race, get into identical racing cars to prove their qualities as steering wheel artists to the spectators - not a bad idea. ,
Possibly also for the Porsche motorsport squad, who don't really know where to go with their concept of an electrically powered GT racing car. It is in the widened body of a 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport, whose nose is now diving towards curve one. No, don't let the top left knob on the steering wheel irritate you. Even if the setting options for the ABS are false – the ePerformance has none. The steering wheel comes from the 911 RSR. On the other hand, the lower right knob works, three clicks, and the competition mode is active.
1.6 tons of pure sport
Now please brake the approximately 1.6 ton Porsche, but with enough feeling that the LEDs on the left and right above the instrument cluster do not light up purple. If that were the case: stationary wheels, followed by smoke and possibly angular Michelins. ugly. The pit crew told me before the start that it would light up before I noticed the wheels were locking, so release the brakes right away. Now the boys sit in front of six monitors and see every mistake I make on the steering wheel and pedals in real time. But now nothing lights up. Take a lot of speed, a little over 140 km/h, then back on the gas pedal, slight increase, which the GT4 ignores and accelerates relentlessly. ,
Turn two, brake again, now it's purple, it's already smoking, release the brake a little, hey presto, you're driving around a meter and a half off the ideal line. The danger with electric racing cars: Estimating the speed, adapting the braking points. Why? The acoustic guidance that the internal combustion engine drive train hammered into you is missing. It doesn't even have to be the traditional shifting and clutching with which the Procar warriors distinguished themselves.
On the Sirr way?
No, even automated transmissions in modern touring cars give corresponding feedback, supported by the fact that the driver triggers the shifting process by tugging on the steering wheel paddles. None of that there. Sounded, yes, it does. Voluminous whirring and howling, not artificial, but real, quite okay even, but linear with the speed. And the speed is always there. Immediately. Also because: grip. Four-wheel drive because of the two motors, ultra-fast and precise power distribution to the fat slicks. So a bit of a lift before the next left turn, then full speed for a moment, back on the brakes, off into the tight right-hand bend.
Of course, the GT4 doesn't feel light here, but drives depressingly agile, forces itself into the corners, seems settled, stable, tells you clearly: Now back on the right pedal! That's OK! And how to do it. To make it work: Two motors and an 82 kWh battery (net: 65 kWh). Whereby "one" battery is not quite right, because it does not fit in the position where the combustion engine was previously: in the middle of the vehicle. ,
So 25 percent each park under a huge carbon hood in the passenger footwell and under the front hood. By the way: There is a second prototype that does without the two smaller battery packs. Weighs around 250 kg less. Appears even livelier in the corners, but only manages 210 km/h on the straights, otherwise the energy would be wasted too quickly. But that's just by the way.
Now: mode nine
Whether it is a completely new battery? No, rather 52 Ah cells of the type NMC 622 VDA. The special feature: the oil cooling. Compared to Porsche's flagship Taycan, it reduces the thermal resistance from 1.8 watts per Kelvin to less than 0.2 W/K. This increases the power density from 1,257 to 1,707 W/kg – with an almost identical energy density from 216 to 217 Wh/kg. Load? With up to 350 kW.
In any case, compared to the production car, the cell not only tolerates around 35 degrees Celsius, but twice as much. It doesn't have to last that long either. Well, the GT4 ePerformance should hold up. The grand finale is yet to come, you know it, as you juggle the Porsche through the infield. Turn 13, a mean, just before start-finish. An eternal left that is slowly closing. Finding the optimum braking point here immediately would be like winning the Spanish Christmas lottery. ,
Now in the box, quick check. "Now: mode nine," is the command over the radio. Means: Six more clicks on the lower right rotary switch in the middle of the steering wheel. Mode nine unleashes the 700 kW. Why not 800, which was still mentioned in the Mission R? went too. With the components from the rear axle.
Added value fire
But their additional weight could not overcompensate for the additional performance, but it would put too much strain on the battery. So: 700 kW. Or in Deutsche Mark: 952.That's too much, I'm already sure at that moment when the Porsche rolls out of the pit lane at a speed of 60 km/h limited by the pit limiter. It's getting warm. I get fresh air blown in front of my helmet from two snorkels on the left and right of the instrument panel.
In general, you sit here quite comfortably, adjustable shell, adjustable steering column, enough space under the roof for large helmets. Stop, don't digress. 700kW. The Procar guys were already busy with almost half the power. Alright. Eyes shut and go for it. Moment. Open eyes! Open eyes. High towards turn 2, over 200 km/h, hell one more. Brakes, no purple lights, please. Everything fits. give in. Down, bend left, lop, of course. Every step on the accelerator: Jericho. Without fanfare. Just the power. The feeling as if the bucket seat were about to push through you and you just slammed your butt onto the asphalt while the Porsche continued to accelerate unmoved. Is the Curva de la Afición (as it sounds!) still going full, like it did earlier with 450 kW? Possibly. But I can't imagine. ,
But who knows, because until now I couldn't imagine that this plane would also be fun with 700 kW. Fear eats soul, and such. But it fits, at least to the extent that you want to get used to the pace. Then. The GT4 keeps to itself, then oversteers when it is to be expected, for example when accelerating too quickly, secured a little by the driven front wheels. If you enter a tight corner too quickly with too much steering angle, the front wheels will push. The same applies when there is too much gas... electricity... smoke and too much steering angle. Performance understeer, so to speak - in short: with too high a level of amateurism. Then turn 14 spits out the Porsche rattling over the curbs onto the start-finish straight, shortly after the start of the new lap it shreds into the limiter at two hundred and sixty. Braking, picking up momentum, come on, dare, there's still something going on. It actually works, just not for too long. The 700 kW level is considered qualifying mode, for a 30-minute race the 450 kW must be enough. for now.
Porsche is being cautious anyway, doesn't want to hold a one-make cup until 2026 at the earliest. In what framework? Be silent. Assumption: Formula 1. Incidentally, the Procar era only lasted two years. Ferrari and Renault didn't let their drivers play along, after all they build road sports cars themselves. Maybe not such a good example after all. So: Emerging from motorsport's mothballs. time for something new. ,
Politicians call for electromobility for everyone. Did she also mean motorsport? Doesn't matter. In any case, racing cars like the GT4 ePerformance could be a lot of fun, especially because of the insane performance. And for all traditionalists: motorsport is like road traffic – it will still be a while before e-technology replaces combustion engines. Longing.