Porsche has given the strongest hint yet that it intends to pursue hybrid technology with the unveiling of a new concept at the North American International Auto Show.

The company, which is making a high-profile return to the Detroit show after a four year hiatus, launched the 918 RSR January 10, a motorsports version of the 918 Spyder hybrid concept car first shown in Geneva last year.

It features a V8 engine which contributes 563 hp, backed by an electric motor on each front wheel which add 150 kW of power to take the 918 RSR's total up to 767 hp.

Like most hybrids, the model features regenerative breaking, although instead of charging batteries it stores the power to provide an eight-second boost which can be activated by the driver from the "minimalistic" cockpit, which is designed as a counterpoint to the futuristic, touch-screen console used on the 918 Spyder concept.

As a racing car, it can't carry any passengers unfortunately - in the place of a passenger seat is the flywheel accumulator that provides the power boost on request.

Although no details were provided on a possible production version, Porsche's board approved the production of the 918 Spyder in 2010, underlining its belief in a market for hybrid supercars.

Three months later, some of the exhibits at the Paris Motor Show appeared to prove them right, with Jaguar showing the C-X75 turbine hybrid concept and Lotus showcasing its Lotus Elite, a hybrid planned for 2014.

The North American International Auto Show runs January 15 - 23 in Detroit, Michigan.

http://www.naias.com

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