It wasn’t that long ago that Porsche was seriously considering a supercar to fill the (wide) gap between its top 911 and the former 918 Spyder hypercar. Rumors of a flat-8 engine and the 960 name (potentially designating the car as a successor to the 959) even surfaced.
It turns out those rumors were credible as a Porsche executive recently revealed the automaker had developed a prototype mid-engine supercar powered by a flat-8.
Marcos Marques, currently Porsche’s project manager for e-fuels, told The Intercooler (via Motor1) in an interview published last week about the car, which he said featured a twin-turbo 5.0-liter flat-8 that developed 750 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque, revved to 9,000 rpm, and was coupled to a manual transmission. While not as powerful as the 918 Spyder, which extracted 887 hp and 940 lb-ft from a 4.6-liter V-8 and a trio of electric motors, it sounds like a purer driving experience.
Porsche built a prototype based on a Cayman chassis and did some on-road testing, but then abruptly pulled the plug on the project. In the interview, Marques said Porsche felt “it wasn’t the right car for that moment in time,” adding that the project’s abrupt cancellation was just part of engineering.
Porsche 904 Living Legend (2013)
“We’re an engineering company at the core and we’re always searching for new answers, different solutions, and sometimes those answers aren’t needed at that time,” he said. “But that’s all part of the engineering process.”
This is far from the only discarded supercar idea from Porsche in recent years. The automaker in 2020 revealed a number of secret concepts, including a road-going version of the Le Mans-winning 919 Hybrid race car, and the 904 Living Legend (shown here), a tribute to the 904 Carrera GTS of the 1960s. It’s worth mentioning that some versions of the 904 used a flat-8 engine.
An actual 918 successor is likely coming at some point, but Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said in 2021 that it probably won’t arrive until after 2025. And it will probably be electric.