Interview: Dr. Frank Walliser

The project leader of the 918 tells us about Porsche's new supercar

December 5, 2013
Interview: Dr. Frank Walliser 1
Interview: Dr. Frank Walliser 2

Excellence: The 918 represents the pinnacle of Porsche technology right now. How will that transfer to more accessible Porsche models?

Dr. Walliser: Yes, that’s right, it’s the pinnacle. Definitely the most advanced car in the Porsche fleet. I would even say it’s the most advanced car in the automotive industry at the moment.

It has already trickled down, as the Panamera SE Hybrid is also on the market as a plug-in hybrid. Those projects walked along together. The 918 definitely had more engineering freedom and was our interpretation of a hybrid for a sports car, which was so far not solved.

What we learned on the electric motors and the integration of the hybrid drivetrain and the advantages of a hybrid drivetrain in a sports car, it will come down. On the sports car side it will not come down that fast; it will come on the front-engine models like Panamera and Cayenne. It will be faster. Sports cars, especially 911, it’s a challenge for the packaging, but for sure next generation we will have a very close look at a hybrid.

Excellence: Certainly one of the challenges must have been making all of these separate drive components behave as one “team.” Do you feel you’ve succeeded in making the 918 not just fast, which we now know it certainly is, but also dynamically pure as a Porsche?

Dr. Walliser: Yes, it drives like a Porsche. It was always a target, not just making it only fast. Day to day usability was always very important to us. Whether it’s in E-mode, or hybrid or sport or race, it always behaves like a Porsche. It’s easy driving and a very honest car, very direct. The usability of the performance is unbelievable.

Excellence: How do you make that happen with so much electronic technology? How do you keep it pure like that?

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