If you’re expecting the successor to the Porsche 918 to look like a spaceship, you might be disappointed. Speaking with Autocar, Porsche design boss Michael Mauer revealed that the automaker is debating whether it should go futuristic or nostalgic for the design of its next hypercar. The news comes right as Porsche celebrates the 50th anniversary of the 917 race car’s global debut. You may recall that Porsche revealed a 917 concept design study for the first time last month. The brand has dropped more photos of that glorious concept car, and Mauer hints that it could serve as inspiration for Porsche’s next hypercar.
“If you launch a new hypercar then you can go extremely modern in your thinking or maybe just go back to our sports-car roots and take inspiration from some of the many icons in our history,” Mauer to Autocar. “When you look at the 917 concept then, personally, I love it. You look at it and you immediately make the connections. But as a designer who believes that the next hypercar should point to the future, I’m not so sure. There is always the option to look into history, but sometimes you can also take the option to create some history.”
Porsche CEO Oliver Blume has confirmed that the automaker is well into planning its next hypercar, but he says they’re still deciding on the direction of the powertrain. “If we want it to be [fully] electric then we must wait, because battery performance is not where we need it to be yet in order to meet our performance targets,” Blume said. “It is not decided though that the car will be fully electric. There are opportunities with hybrid, too. We will make a decision when the time is right.”
As we previously reported, the 917 design study actually dates back to 2014. But Porsche’s decision to publicly unveil it now is interesting. Is the Stuttgart brand chumming the waters to see how a retro look for its 918 successor would be received? We can’t say for sure, but we hope so. All we know is we can’t get enough of this gorgeous P-car.
The 917 concept will be on display at the Porsche Museum from May 14 to September 15 in the “Colours of Speed—50 Years of the 917” exhibit, which pays tribute to Porsche’s 1970 Le Mans victory.