Porsche Centre Sydney South's workshop was the after-hours venue for the first Australian preview of the all-electric prototype racer. The event offered local media guests the first opportunity to inspect the Porsche GT4 e-Performance, alongside Project Manager, Björn Förster, as he explained how Porsche envisages sustainable customer motor racing in the future. 

The car’s recent Sydney visit was the latest destination during its multi-year world tour, which began in 2022 following its public world premiere at the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed. The advanced prototype racer has since visited and performed at some of the world’s greatest circuits and motorsport events.

Björn Förster, Project Manager of the Porsche Cayman GT4 e-Performance

“The Porsche GT4 e-Performance is the company’s clear commitment to enter the market of electric customer racing,” said Björn Förster, Project Manager of the Porsche Cayman GT4 e-Performance, who accompanied the special prototype vehicle to Sydney. “The GT4 e-Performance follows Porsche’s overall vehicle electrification and sustainability strategies. It also showcases a number of ground-breaking technologies relevant to motor sport, many of which could potentially make their way to future Porsche road cars.”

The GT4 e-Performance has been created to be used in different motorsport events, from circuit racing to hill climbs on mountain roads, and even drift races in the snow.

The Sydney event was the latest in a series of intensive discussions and interactions with customers, partners, decision-makers and leaders from the motorsport scene. Information and feedback from these events are contributing to the development of this future racing car.

Into the future: the Porsche GT4 e-Performance

The GT4 e-Performance is a prototype all-wheel-drive racer built around the chassis of the high-performance Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport. Despite its resemblance to the popular sports car, the GT4 e-Performance is 14 centimetres wider and uses about 6,000 unique parts designed from scratch.

Power is provided by an electric motor and battery first shown in the IAA concept study Mission R, an all-electric competition car Porsche revealed at the IAA MOBILITY 2021 exhibition in Munich, Germany.

The electric drivetrain in the GT4 e-Performance has a variable power delivery. It can produce a maximum output of more than 735 kW (1,000 HP). Racing simulations show a steady 450 kW (612 PS) is available for up to 30 minutes, enough for a sprint race in the Porsche Cup one-make racing series.

The GT4 e-Performance can sprint from 0 – 200 km/h on a closed racing circuit in 5.6 seconds.

The car’s 900-volt technology means the battery’s state of charge (SoC) can go from 5 percent to 80 percent in about 15 minutes.

Among the car’s many other technology highlights is the direct oil cooling system built into its e-motors and battery pack. Porsche achieved this technical breakthrough in its quest to counteract thermally induced derating of the electric drive system. This technology ensures power output remains constant for the duration of a race.

The body of the GT4 e-Performance benefits from experts in the fields of aerodynamics as well as thermodynamics. It uses natural fibre composite materials. Its production is intended to generate fewer emissions compared to producing it in synthetic materials.

“The Porsche GT4 e-Performance is the company’s clear commitment to enter the market of electric customer racing.” Björn Förster, Project Manager of the Porsche Cayman GT4 e-Performance

The car’s flared wheel arches accommodate wide 18-inch racing tyres, which Michelin developed specifically for the GT4 e-Performance. These tyres use bio-based or recycled materials in 63 percent of their construction. These sustainably sourced raw materials also include natural rubber and soot, both of which are recovered from used tyres using a special processing method implemented by partner company Enviro. Orange and lemon peel, pine resin and sunflower oil as well as metallic residual waste are also used in the tyres’ construction.

The Porsche GT4 e-Performance Tour

The GT4 e-Performance test car has spent the last two years gathering valuable data and insights by demonstrating its incredible motorsport abilities at racetracks and events in different countries.   

“It’s one thing to develop a prototype, but to have it run all over the world in different conditions – such as in circuit racing, hill climbing and even on ice, and ensure the correct recharging infrastructure – takes a substantial effort to realise,” said Förster. “But this work is necessary to create a future racing format that will give our customers the same success and fun they enjoy with our current one-make racing series that uses combustion engines.”

Following its public premiere at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed, the GT4 e-Performance has appeared in the USA at the world-famous Concours d’Elegance at Pebble Beach and starred at the Rennsport Reunion in Laguna Seca.

During two show runs at the Watkins Glen circuit in New York state, the car achieved a fastest lap of 1:47.7 with Porsche brand ambassador and test development driver Jörg Bergmeister at the wheel. By comparison, the fastest Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in Porsche Carrera Cup North America at the same circuit that weekend posted a qualifying time of 1:47.695.

The car has appeared at Germany’s famous Hockenheimring racing circuit and participated in festivities celebrating 75 Years of Porsche Sports Cars.

It travelled to Asia before arriving in Sydney last week for its first Australian appearance.

Björn Förster: “We’ve chosen the car’s tour stops wisely. It’s not only about racing the car on different tracks, it is also about showcasing it to various markets and relevant stakeholders.”

The response has exceeded expectations.  

“For teams and competitors it’s not only about the car’s impressive performance, but also about the running costs and technical management. The GT4 e-Performance world tour is valuable homework so we can develop and build an electric customer racing car for the future.”

The Porsche GT4 e-Performance will be displayed at the 2024 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne between 21 – 24 March.

Images: Dan Allen

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