April 19, 2024


Automotive to Us

Porsche’s GT4 ePerformance concept previews an electric motorsport to come

Porsche, more than any other car company in the world, truly understands what EV performance can be. Not only has the company brought a truly great electric sports sedan to market in the form of the Taycan, but it has jumped head-first into the Formula E open wheel racing arena, and launched more than a few electric sports car prototypes. Most recently, the Mission R electric concept shows exactly what the future of electric-propulsion racing can look like. In the interest of moving things forward and proving to consumers that EVs are and can be cool and fast, Porsche built two electric-powered Cayman GT4 Clubsports powered by electric motors, essentially moving the Mission R powertrain over into an existing and relatable performance car benchmark. Not only did the electric propulsion make the car more future-forward, but it made it faster at the track, to boot. And it built the whole thing in secret!

The GT4 Clubsport is already a pretty impressive car with a 425 horsepower flat six and a 6-speed PDK powering the rear wheels. For the ePerformance model, Porsche ditched all of the gasoline gubbins in favor of a pair of electric motors, one at each axle, making this the first all-wheel drive Cayman. Those motors are good for around 1000 horsepower in qualifying mode, and about 625 ponies in race-ready trim. The car has about 85 kWh of battery onboard, which is good for around 30 minutes of on-track time in race mode. Coincidentally, the average Carrera Cup race is 30 minutes long. Porsche won’t come out and say it, but a car like this could be an excellent replacement for the company’s ancient one-make series, or perhaps even an addition to it. The GT4 ePerformance even turns about the same kinds of lap times as a GT3 Cup does today. Even better, the car can charge from 5 to 80 percent in just 15 minutes, meaning you could theoretically take a car like this to a track day and not be forced to sit out any sessions. It’s pretty trick!

“With the Mission R, we’ve shown how Porsche envisages sustainable customer motor racing in the future. The 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance now demonstrates that this vision works impressively on the racetrack,” states Matthias Scholz, GT racing vehicle project manager. “We’re very excited about the response because a one-make cup with electric racing cars would be an important addition to our existing customer racing program.”

“The integration of oil cooling has significantly impacted the vehicle concept,” explains Björn Förster, GT4 ePerformance project manager. “With experts in the fields of aerodynamics and thermodynamics as well as high-voltage and bodywork specialists, the development team created an architecture to tap the full potential of the battery cells for the first time, since there is no thermal derating. In this way, the power output in racing mode remains constant for half an hour.”

“The 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance blazes a trail to Porsche customer racing with electrically-powered racing cars. As a first step, we will unveil this concept to our global partners,” says Oliver Schwab, Project Manager Sales of the 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance. “With drivers, teams, organisers, authorities and other interested parties, we’re also gathering ideas for Porsche racing formats in the future.”

In theory, the GT4 ePerformance could be made available as an ultra-low production toy for well-heeled Porsche enthusiasts in a matter of months. Many times automakers will unveil a totally wild electric-vehicle concept and it’ll be little more than a shell, and can’t make production for several years, or meet quoted performance figures. Porsche, meanwhile, is a put up or shut up kind of company. This is a race-ready machine, and would probably be ready for consumers to purchase by the end of the year if Porsche decided it wanted to make that a priority. Every little bit of this machine is fully fleshed out, and it’s totally fast and totally ridiculous. For everyone who bought a 935 when they built those a few years ago, there are surely a dozen who would be interested in buying a testbed of electric motorsport future tech! Here’s hoping the GT4 ePerformance actually gets built, and then gets improved upon in future generations for decades to come!