First Look: 2011 Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid

While we knew Porsche was planning a hybrid Porsche Cayenne for the Geneva show, news of a hybrid 911 admittedly caught us a little off guard. But the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid race car, which will join the Cayenne on Porsche's Geneva stand, is a far cry from your conventional hybrid.

Instead of using batteries to store energy, the 911 GT3 R Hybrid will use a flywheel-powered generator that spins at up to 40,000 rpm under deceleration. The kinetic energy generated from the spinning disc will then power a pair of 60-kW electric motors, mounted to the front wheels, turning the conventionally rear-drive (and for-Europe-only) 911 GT3 R into an all-wheel drive racer. The large assembly will sit within the cabin, where the passenger seat once resided. The two motors will provide eight-second bursts of power, supplementing the 480 horsepower from the 4.0-liter flat-six and helping the Porsche explode out of turns.

The system's primary benefit, Porsche says, is in fuel economy gains. Porsche is going to enter its newest creation in the 24-hour Nürburgring endurance race, where better mileage should make a significant impact by requiring fewer pit stops. With the greatest amount of fuel consumption coming from heavy acceleration, the 911 hybrid should be able to manage fuel use much more effectively.

The car was developed by a team of engineers from the Porsche Intelligent Performance program. The new hybrid system is currently in its experimental phase as Porsche fine tunes it, but will we see a road-going version in a production 911? Don't keep your fingers crossed.

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