We first heard that Porsche was considering a new mid-engine supercar to take on the likes of the Ferrari [NYSE:RACE] 458 Italia back in 2011. Internally referred to as the 960, the new car was billed as a successor to the legendary 959 and tipped to be launched on the market around 2017.
Recently, it was reported that Porsche was yet to approve the 960 for production, leading to fears the project may have been canceled. Porsche’s R&D chief Wolfgang Hatz has now come out and denied those claims, explaining that the car is still on the company’s wishlist albeit its arrival will need to be delayed in order to free up resources for more urgent projects.
"Canceled is not the right way [to say this]," Hatz told Drive. "We have not finally decided the [start of production], so at the moment we have so many other things to do—to develop some entirely new cars such as Panamera successor and Cayenne successor and the next-generation of our sports cars, and on the other side new engines, transmissions and hybrids as well as the [Le Mans] racing program.”
The 960 is thought to be designed around a new modular sports car platform Porsche is developing for its next-generation Boxster, Cayman and 911 models, with the next 911 getting a unique rear-engine version of the platform. The 960 would use a mid-engine version and be the most potent model based on the platform thanks to a rumored 4.0-liter flat-eight engine.
Although not a direct successor for the 918 Spyder, the 960 would enable Porsche to cater to demand for a super sports car more capable, more exclusive and more exotic than the top-end 911 variants. Hatz also told Drive that all 918 build slots for the 918 Spyder have now been sold, proving that there is significant demand at this end of the market.