Porsche Mission R concept shows a future for electric GT racing

Porsche would not be what it is today without its long history of production car racing. The Mission R concept finally gives us a preview of its promising future.

Tim Stevens Former editor at large for CNET Cars
Tim Stevens got his start writing professionally while still in school in the mid '90s, and since then has covered topics ranging from business process management to video game development to automotive technology.
Tim Stevens
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The future looks bright.

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Whether you hope to field a car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race or are lucky enough to run a smaller-scale GT4 event, Porsche has a track-ready sports car for you, caged and certified and ready to race -- just add decals. The company's experience in customer racing makes it one of the most common marques on the grid. Now, with electrification sweeping the industry it looks to be leading the pack on that front, too.

Though just a concept, the Porsche Mission R that makes its debut Monday is pitched as what "customer motorsports could be in the future." How far in the future? 2025 or so is the target. The Mission R is a low, finessed but aggressive shape wrapped around a pair of electric motors and approximately 85 kilowatt-hours worth of batteries to match. That, Porsche says, is enough to drive the car through a typical 30- to 40-minute race without stopping.

Yes, that means even conceptually we're a long way from being able to run a proper endurance race emissions-free, but that range is plenty enough for a Porsche Supercup event. The Mission R will be plenty quick, too, with up to 1,073 horsepower on tap in qualifying mode, though that'll be reduced to 603 in race mode, about 200 more than a roadgoing 718 Cayman GT4. Total weight? Approximately 3,300 pounds, or about 100 more than the GT4. But the Mission R uses all-wheel drive.

Porsche's Mission R concept is the future of EV racing

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I'm using the 718 Cayman as a reference because Porsche told me the Mission R is roughly Cayman-sized. And while nobody would confirm this, you can bet this is meant to preview a next-gen, electrified 718. Sure, it'll lose the more gratuitous aerodynamic appendages on its way to production, but given how smoothly the Mission E concept made its way to Taycan, I'm expecting good things.

I am, however, not expecting the integrated roll cage to stay. Like most modern EVs, the Mission R's battery pack is in the floor. That means the seat must be mounted higher than otherwise desirable. To keep the car's overall profile as low as possible, the designers integrated a carbon-fiber roll cage into the roof, rather than installing it underneath like you might on a typical car. The triangular gaps between the cage segments are filled with what look to be Lexan panels, creating a striking, open effect unlike any production hardtop racer I've ever seen. That's partly because carbon-fiber roll cages aren't allowed in any major race series out there, but Porsche hopes that'll change by 2025.


I want to go to there.


As a concept car, the Mission R wouldn't be complete without a few oddball features. Drivers will find a helmet dryer integrated into the bulkhead behind where the passenger seat would be on a production car. Additionally, rails in that roll cage feature repositionable GoPro-style action cameras for livestreaming in-cockpit antics.

And now, brace yourself, because this is the part of the article where I remind you that this is just a concept. It's anyone's guess whether we'll ever actually see something like the Mission R available for sale by Porsche. But then again, once upon a time the Taycan was Mission E -- and I'd say that all turned out pretty well. Bring on the all-electric 718, and don't make me wait until 2025.