Porsche’s Engineering chief Dr Wolfgang Hatz reveals secrets of the forthcoming 918 Spyder to Glenn Brooks in this, the third of a three-part series of exclusive interviews.
j-a: The 918 Spyder is due out late next year. What is the thinking behind this car? Is it purely a technology showcase?
WH: Absolutely. The Spyder will be the most advanced project in the automotive industry.
j-a: That’s quite a claim.
WH: If you look only at the figures, this is clearly an extreme car. Extreme performance, and extreme efficiency.
j-a: Will the 918 make money?
WH: I think with such a small number of cars and the cost of engineering, it might be difficult, but it’s possible. The 918 is an investment in the future. What we are learning with this car, we will get back many times with the technology advantage we will have. You will see some components on other, future vehicles later in the decade.
j-a: Which types of components?
WH: For example, we have made an innovative transmission with an integrated hybrid module, and also a very strong e-motor on the front axle.
j-a: Did you develop these internally or are you working with suppliers?
WH: We have developed them ourselves but we have some suppliers assisting us too.
j-a: Which suppliers?
WH: For the hybrid module we are working with ZF. And for the e-motor, we won’t be building that so that will also come from a supplier. But the combustion engine and all the software development, we are doing these ourselves. I think you will also see from how we have packaged the components in this car, that is also why we call this such an advanced model. And then there are some things regarding the suspension system which will be unique.
j-a: Are you seeking to repeat the impact which the 959 made in the 1980s?
WH: I was in Weissach at that time so I know a lot about the 959. As you say, the 918 will be a lot like the 959 was back then. That car was so advanced for its time – downsized turbo engine, four-wheel drive, performance that no competitor could match.
j-a: What is the 918 Spyder like to drive?
WH: (a broad grin appears) Unbelievable. That is all I can say for now.