Porsche Gives Us a Taste of the Future: Mission R Concept Revealed
Performance, Design, & Sustainability
^ that’s what Porsche CEO Oliver Blume says makes Porsche strong – and they’re no stranger to building cars that embody all three of those qualities. With racing pedigree and a history of producing uncompromised sports cars, their long celebrated lineup sets benchmark after benchmark for others to measure against. So what has the Stuttgart giant come up with now when we’re seeing new production electric street cars hitting 0-60 mph in under 2 seconds and running 9 second quarter mile times? A new race car… and it’s electric to boot.
Let’s talk design
It’s a beaut, ain’t it? Looking like a cross between a Taycan and a 718 Cayman, the Mission R concept boasts a compact and purposeful design that looks fast when it’s standing still. Being fully electric, Porsche designers were given free rein to build the car around aerodynamics and cooling. The front fascia has three large openings that feed air to the oil cooler and Porsche’s Active Aerodynamics (PAA) in their Drag Reduction System (DRS). Air gets directed through the two side intakes, out the front fenders, and under the adjustable two-section rear wing. The front hood vent acts as an air-tunnel, exhausting hot air and creating more downforce as air flows out, over the roof, and again to the rear wing. The massive rear diffuser smooths the transition of air passing under the car, improving airflow and downforce while reducing turbulence and drag. All design elements come together to slice the car through the air and keep it glued to the ground. A few words come to mind: magnificent, brilliant, and tasty (yes, good aero is delicious).
The Mission R’s power plant isn’t the only sustainable feature on the car – the body is made largely of natural fiber reinforced plastic (NFRP), which finds its origins in flax fibers obtained from farming. NFRP is also used throughout the car, from its interior door panels to the front lip and diffuser. Although the material is strong and versatile, it does have its limits. For the car’s structural safety system, a carbon fiber composite exoskeleton that doubles as the safety cage and roof skin encapsulates the cockpit. Porsche has also designed a failsafe for the high-voltage systems that disconnects battery connections in the event of a collision. The overall result is a lightweight and safe race car ready to set lap records at blistering speeds.
On par with the 911 GT3 Cup
Electric cars have been famously called “one lap wonders” due to running out of juice after a single flat out lap on the race track. That single lap is usually insanely fast, but race cars need to endure punishing lap after punishing lap in order to be competitive. Porsche has managed to engineer their way out of this debacle by providing two drive modes for the Mission R concept: one for the qualifying lap and another for the race.
The aptly named qualifying mode is the car’s peak performance attack setting, pushing out more than 800 kW (1,088 PS or about 1,073 hp). Designed to set the car up for a swift qualifying lap and better position on the grid, qualifying mode sacrifices continuous system power for an insane burst of speed.
The instant torque of the powerful electric motors, paired with the Mission R’s advanced aerodynamics, results in an absolute track monster. Timo Bernhard, Porsche Brand Ambassador and former works driver, says, “It’s indescribable; the immediate surge of power from the two electric motors is something you simply have to experience for yourself. The only time I’ve ever experienced such an amazingly powerful boost was in the Le Mans-winning Porsche 919 Hybrid car.”
After setting a qualifying lap, race mode comes into play. It reduces the power to 500 kW (680 PS or about 671 hp), but is able to maintain it reliably lap after lap. To accomplish this, Porsche is using 2 newly designed electric motors with direct oil cooling – a major advantage over the standard EV formula. Top speed in race mode is just over 186 mph, and with a weight of around 3300 lb., the Mission R rockets from 0-62 mph in under 2.5 seconds.
To put all that power down, the two electric motors drive both the front and rear wheels through straight-toothed input gearboxes and mechanical limited-slip differentials. The electric motor driving the front axle produces 320 kW (435 PS / 430 hp) while the one in the rear pushes out 480 kW (635 PS / 644 hp). Porsche has customer motorsports in mind here and has developed the drive system to be modular – reducing operating costs by allowing for replacing individual components over the entire system. Cost efficiency is further amplified by the fact that the electric motors, gearbox, and pulse-controlled inverters (PCI) are identical on both axles. Porsche, being who they are, have even incorporated over-the-air technology in the Mission R – potentially allowing for Porsche Motorsport experts to provide troubleshooting and support remotely. The entire package seems incredibly desirable for race teams and displays Porsche’s commitment to motorsports in general.
Porsche says they’ve designed the Mission R’s 82 kWh battery capacity for sprint racing and have incorporated high-end cells with direct oil cooling as well. A general sprint race format has cars running for periods of 25 to 40 minutes, so thermal dissipation and endurance of these batteries is pivotal to competition. The high power density of these cells paired with directly cooling their entire surfaces allows for the Mission R to perform at 100% without any reduction in the battery’s power output for the entirety of the sprint.
To recharge during race breaks, the Mission R utilizes fast charging with 900-volt technology to fill the battery from five to 80 percent SoC (State of Charge) in about 15 minutes. It also has an insanely high recuperation output (also known as regenerative braking) of up to 800 kW – further increasing its range. To provide some context on what 900-volt technology means for the EV industry, most EVs today use a system voltage around 400 volts. The Porsche Taycan upped the game by using 800-volt technology derived from the three-time Le Mans winning 919 Hybrid race car, and the Mission R further improves continuous power output, time to charge, and weight with 900-volt technology.
On a side note, if you guys and gals have noticed, power figures are being reported in kW – a standard metric unit and much more scientific way of measuring power output (for gasoline powered cars as well). Hagerty’s Jason Camisa has a fantastic video explaining the measurement if you’re interested in a quick lesson on kW and the history of horsepower.
With the new Mission R concept car, Porsche is exercising the idea that racing, a sport that has historically been about performance at all costs, can be sustainable too. The picture it paints on the future of sports cars is a bright one – one where enthusiasts can have their cake and eat it too. As the technology seen on the Mission R concept gets put into production for customer race teams to purchase, it’ll soon after trickle down into Porsche’s street car lineup as well. As an enthusiast and diehard petrolhead, it’s hard to see our internal combustion cars on their way out; however, companies like Porsche give hope that the future isn’t as sterile and passionless as we had feared.