Porsche in early 2017 started work on a new 6-cylinder engine to power a successor to its unstoppable 919 Hybrid Le Mans prototype. But with its announcement of an exit from the World Endurance Championship made later that year, Porsche started looking at using the engine in Formula One. Yes, Porsche came close to returning to F1, as a power unit supplier.
While an F1 return is no longer in Porsche's crosshairs, all is not lost for the engine. Autocar reported on Tuesday that the engine might feature in Porsche's successor to the 918 Spyder hypercar.
Autocar also reported that the engine could also provide Porsche with a power unit suitable for both the WEC's new Hypercar class and IMSA's Daytona Prototype international class. For the record, Porsche hasn't signalled an interest for either motorsport category just yet.
2015 Porsche 918 Spyder
The engine isn't a done deal for the future hypercar either as senior executives at Porsche are yet to decide whether the 918 successor should be another hybrid or a more radical battery-electric model, according to the British publication.
It seems Porsche was originally in favor of the pure electric route, with solid-state batteries meant to be the showpiece of the new car. However, progress in developing the technology is proceeding more slowly than expected and now a hybrid setup is the preferred option. Porsche wants the car on sale in the first half of the next decade and solid-state batteries for high-performance applications aren't likely to be ready until the second half.
Note, you can already buy a Porsche with an F1 engine, or at least you could have. Lanzante in 2018 announced an 11-car run of 930-generation 911s fitted with original Tag Turbo engines raced in F1 during the 1980s. One of the engines was even driven to victory by Niki Lauda at the 1984 British Grand Prix.