Not exactly a production 918 Spyder, but this Detroit show car is widely believed to be close to the real thing. The Porsche 918 RSR is described as a race car that combines the “technology fitted in the 911 GT3 R hybrid and the design of the 918 Spyder” from last year’s Geneva show.

The RSR’s V8 is a development of the direct injection unit from the RS Spyder race car, now offering 563 hp at 10,300 rpm. There are two electric motors that offer torque vectoring on the front axle, and each contributes 75 kW for a total of 150 kW. All in, the 918 RSR’s pilot has 767 hp at his disposal. A six-speed constant-mesh gearbox with longitudinally mounted shafts and straight-toothed spur gears is operated via steering wheel shift paddles.

Additional power generated during braking is stored in an optimised flywheel accumulator, located at where a passenger seat normally is, and rotating at up to 36,000 rpm. At the push of a button, the pilot is able to call up the energy stored in the charged accumulator and use it during acceleration or overtaking manoeuvres. This “power boost” is available for around eight seconds.

Already used in the 911 GT3 R Hybrid, this system’s additional power can also be used as a consumption aid, whether to delay pit stops or reduce the fuel tank volume, and weight. The GT3 R Hybrid did brilliantly to lead for more than eight hours in its Le Mans debut last year, and we won’t be surprised to see Porsche campaign this 918 RSR, this year perhaps?

Other interesting points are doors which open obliquely upwards, the air intake in the roof between the wing doors, quick-action locks on the front and rear CFRP lids, two roof-mounted aerials for pit radio and telemetry, RS Spyder-like small, lateral front flics and air splitters beneath the front lip. Porsche calls this an “experimental racing laboratory”.

Why No. 22? The number pays homage to the 1971 Porsche 917 short-tail coupé piloted by Dr. Helmut Marko and Gijs van Lennep. Their Le Mans winning distance record of 5335.313 km at an average speed of 222.304 km/h was unbeaten for 39 years until 2010. That Martini liveried experimental racer was groundbreaking for its magnesium space frame.

Gallery after the jump.

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