Excellence: What were the overall goals from the beginning?
Dr. Walliser: Simple. We wanted to keep the design of the show car intact, get fuel consumption to three liters [per 100km] and return a Nürburgring time as fast as the Carrera GT. We hit the others, for sure. Eventually though, the ’Ring time was ten seconds faster than the Carrera GT, so we didn’t just hit this target, it was tremendously better.
Excellence: To what extent did motorsport play a part in the development of the 918 Spyder?
Dr. Walliser: We integrated [the 918 team into] the motorsport department so that [everyone] was in the same area, located where the LMP and GT program is based. We had a family of three: the 918 program, the GT program and the Le Mans program. The workshop is from motorsports, some of the engineers are also from motorsports, and a lot of the designers and engineers from the LMP2 project just came over to the 918 project. So a lot of experience from a variety of motorsports.
Excellence: So you had a lot of motorsport talent working on the 918, but was there anything directly from your racing programs?
Dr. Walliser: The engine. The engine is very, very close to the RS Spyder engine. In fact, it’s a totally new engine, unlike the V8 in our other cars. The ideas behind that design were chief engineered on the Mulsanne.
We learned a lot. We had technical regulations based on a certain restrictor, so we learned a lot on friction reduction in the racing engine. The less friction you have, the more power you get out of the engine. For fuel consumption it’s exactly the same; bring down the friction of the engine and you’ll reduce the consumption and get a lot of power as well.