Report Claims Porsche Considering Mid-Engine Ferrari, McLaren Challenger

McLaren and Ferrari have something of a Northern Europe vs Southern Europe rivalry going with their latest supercars, and now we hear Porsche is thinking of getting in on the action.

If there’s one thing every car fan wants to know right now, it’s which car will win the inevitable showdown between the Ferrari 458 Italia and the McLaren MP4-12C. Sure, you could throw the latest Gallardo variant and the R8 into the mix, and someone no doubt will, but everyone wants to know about the latest and greatest cars from the longtime rivals. The only thing that could make this better is another supercar in the mix, and Porsche may be willing to oblige.

If the blokes at Autocar are correct, plans may already be underway. According to the British publication, Porsche is already looking into a new mid-engine exotic that would slot in between the 911 family and the new, limited-production 918 Spyder.

“We’re looking to extend the range,” Porsche head Mathias Muller told Autocar. “We’ve got an idea to do another mid-engined model. We’re thinking above the 911 but below the 918 Spyder. We have ideas on styling and design, which we will continue to develop in the coming months. We’ll also evaluate the economic side and then decide [whether to push ahead].”

Reportedly, the hot rumor is that the new car would be a regular production model, not a limited edition, but would only be slated to sell half as many cars worldwide as the 911 Turbo and related cars. That would, Autocar says, put sales round 2500 to 3000 cars per year worldwide and the price would be expected to fall between $200,000 and $250,000, on par with the Ferrari and McLaren.

The car itself, would follow the precedent set down by the Boxster/Cayman twins and could share some parts with high-end 911s. A rumored proposal to borrow the Audi R8’s aluminum space frame is apparently false and Autocar believes the car could use a lot of carbon fiber and carbon fiber-reinforced plastic to manage weight. Both coupe and roadster variants are reportedly being discussed.

“It is entirely possible that we could use a front end that’s similar but not necessarily the same as the 911’s, including components such as the axle and suspension,” an unnamed source told the publication. “The rear end wouldn’t be unlike that of the Boxster/Cayman in architectural terms, just bigger to accommodate a larger mid-mounted engine and gearbox installation, while providing greater overall length and width than the 911.”

If that anonymous source is correct, it could make for some interesting engine options. Depending on how much larger the engine in question is, it could just as easily be the twin-turbo 620-horsepower flat-six of the GT2 RS as it could be the 550-horsepower 3.4-liter V-8 developed especially for the 918 Spyder. The V-8 would not only compete more directly with the V-8s in the Ferrari and McLaren but would help amortize the cost of the 918 Spyder’s specially-developed engine.

Is a purpose-built Ferrari/McLaren fighter the right project for Porsche right now? Tell us what you think in the comments and we’ll stay on top of this story as it develops.

Source: Autocar

Remember that Porsche knows a thing or two about fashioning cars in carbon fiber. Around 2000 they introduced the Carrera GT that was mostly carbon fiber, and they applied for numerous patents regarding using carbon fiber in car design while working on the Carrera GT. They are far from arriving late to this venue. As ususal, the are cutting rdge.
The segment is moving towards a carbon chassis/tub for these cars. McLaren and Lamborghini have already broken new ground in this area. Ferrari was caught out and is now married to at least one full production lifecycle with an aluminium chassis in the 458 and its future variants. Unless Porsche can develop a competitor with a carbon chassis, it will be viewed as a laggard and obsolete before it is even launched, despite its inevitably awesome performance. Similarly, the McLaren 12C is reportedly capable of 1.7G peak lateral grip on street tires, this due primarily to its innovative hydraulic suspension. Another technology that Porsche may not be ready for, but should be, in order to be seen as competitive.

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