Porsche Working on Mid-Engined, V-8 Sports Car, Rival Ferrari 458 and McLaren MP4-12C

Porsche has been expanding its model lineup in the past decade past its core sports cars, displeasing many brand loyalists; but here is something that they could get on board with: we are hearing reports that Porsche is planning on introducing a mid-engined, V-8-powered sports car to sit between the 911 and the 918 Spyder. Maybe it is time for the Ferrari 458 Italia and the McLaren MP4-12C to watch their backs.

We reported on this same rumor a few months ago, but now we have more details on what the possible car may be. Auto Express says that the new $280,000 sports car will wear the 961 moniker, recalling the 1980s Group B racecar based on the 959. Lightweight engineering techniques from the 911 GT2 RS and a carbon fiber, monocoque chassis are also in store for Stuttgart’s new range-topper.

Powering the 961 will be a V-8 powerplant, although which one is still a mystery. It is expected that a detuned version of the 500-hp, 4.8-liter turborcharged V-8 from the Panamera Turbo and Cayenne Turbo could find its way between the new car’s axels. However, the sleuths at Auto Express say that engine could be too heavy, and we could see a turbocharged version of the 3.4-liter V-8 found in the RS Syder racecar instead. No matter the engine, expect output to be around 600 hp, with a very favorable power-to-weight ratio.

The look of the 961 will draw heavily from the current Panamera and Cayman, but also from the next-generation 911 due out next year, and will probably look fairly close to the 918 RSR racecar from this year’s Detroit auto show. As of now, there are only plans to make a hardtop version of the car, but a roadster is not off the table. Auto Express says that the 961 could hit dealerships as soon as 2013.

Source: Auto Express

While we're indulging in fantasy allow me to add air cooled cylinders and a flat fan on the rear deck....
Why not put a flat 8 in the Cayman or a twin turbo? Simple.
I understand why Porsche would use the small displacement flatplane-crank V8 from the RS Spyder and 918, but what would make it really unique is if they built a modern 8-cylinder boxer engine. Seems like it would not take a huge amount of development to add two more cylinders to the existing 3.6-liter flat 6, making it a 4.8-liter flat 8. It would have the benefit of low center of gravity, and would not require any balance shafts or heavy counterweights that are characteristic of V8s. And of course with the flat-8 804 GP car, the 907s, and the legendary 908s of the late 60s and early 70s, Porsche already has quite a bit of history and experiences with flat eights.

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