Porsche race car uses hybrid technology for power boost

Associated Press

A new race car concept from Porsche is using hybrid technology to boost power as the automaker said Monday it was looking to 2011 for continued sales growth.

The German automaker unveiled the Porsche 918 RSR at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It has an eight-cylinder engine that puts out an already hefty 563 horsepower. With the push of a button, electric motors on the front wheels can boost it to 767 hp.

Instead of a passenger seat, an electric motor sits next to the driver that stores energy from braking. Porsche said the motor can provide the more than 200 hp boost for about 8 seconds.

“We are researching methods for further efficiency improvements under extreme conditions,” Matthias Muller, Porsche’s president and CEO, told reporters as the company returned to the Detroit show for the first time in four years.

Stuttgart-based Porsche AG said Monday it delivered more than 95,000 vehicles worldwide last year, up 25 percent. Last week, the company said 2010 sales in the U.S. — its biggest market — topped 25,000, up 29 percent from 2009.

Porsche is planning diesel and hybrid versions of its Panamera four-door sedan in the coming year and has “confidence” in 2011 for growth, Muller said. And he said the company is looking at the possibility of building a smaller sport utility vehicle than the Cayenne.

Photo: The Porsche 918 RSR is unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Monday, Jan. 10, 2011. (AP/Carlos Osorio)