With electrification fully present, there’s a lot going on at Porsche right now, whether we’re talking road cars such as the imminent Macan-sized EV crossover and the future hybrid 911 or the now-testing hybrid 2023 LMDh prototype racer. However, with the 918 Spyder halo road car having been retired seven years ago, there’s still no replacement in sight. And this independent rendering seems determined to change that by reviving the 917 motorsport icon from five decades ago.
A fruit of the late 1960s, the 917 racecar, which also received a road equivalent as per the homologation rules, was the machine that brought Porsche its very first Le Mans victory in 1970. Thus, its low-slung silhouette, be it in the long-tail Langheck or the short-tail Kurzheck form, is embedded into Porschephiles’ collective memory.
What is the new Porsche 917 rendering we have here?
And digital artist Valentino Rajan (aka v.r.design) has now extracted that look, using it for a modern-day version of the Zuffenhausen machine, all with a road bias. As explained in the Instagram post below, this is a fresh take on the artists’ previous 917 project, with the Kurzheck being the muse for both efforts.
A graduate of IED Torino (Istituto Europeo Di Design), the enthusiast built on the current design language of the German automaker, which is why the virtual creation is recognizable as a Porsche even if one isn’t familiar with the 917.
Nevertheless, since we’re talking about an effort that aims to portray a future model, the designer extended those styling cues as he saw fit, bringing an angular approach that’s especially visible at the back.
Speaking of the posterior, this is adorned with a pair of tailpipes, which no longer exit the vehicle “above deck”, as was the case with the 918 Spyder. And it’s worth mentioning that the approach falls in line with a hint Porsche dropped in 2020, namely that it’s not willing to enter the EV hypercar segment too soon.
The next Porsche hypercar (918 replacement) is expected to be a hybrid
And that no-full-EV policy, which leads us to believe the release will be a hybrid instead would make sense. Porsche flagships are all about the latest tech, so perhaps the company is waiting for the next major improvement in battery technology before releasing a top dog that relies solely on this form of juice.
This technology focus is one of the reasons for which there’s a considerable time gap between Porsche halo car releases. For one, if we look back, the 918 Spyder came in 2013, the Carrera GT in 2003, and the 959 back in 1986. Of course, the automaker could always return to the days when its range-topper was occupied by a 911 derivative, namely the GT1 introduced in 1996—while rumors pointing out to such a path surfaced last year, Porsche was quick to quash them.
Meanwhile, Porsche is returning to endurance racing, the arena that gave us the 917. Now that the LMP1 and LMP2 classes are kaput, the Germans, which grabbed three LMP1 titles before retiring after the 2017 season, are bound to compete in the LMDh class for 2023.
The 919 racecar that grabbed the said wins, which was joined by a 919 Street concept that never made it into production, came with a hybrid powertrain featuring a V4 internal combustion engine. And while Porsche’s LMDh prototype, which can be seen testing in the Porsche Motorsport Tweet below, also features a gas-electric setup with a combined output of 670 hp, the exact details of the hybrid powertrain have yet to be released.