It’s been four years since Porsche set the Nürburgring lap record with the 918 Spyder, and nearly two years since the model ended its limited production run. So it raised a few eyebrows when the German automaker brought one back to the Nordschleife recently during an industry pool testing day.
The car in question appears to be equipped with the Weissach package and seems to be running pretty flat out. Though it’s wearing a different license plate, it looks like it could be the very same one that set the record in the first place. The question is: what is it doing there?
The possible answers that come most immediately to mind is that either Porsche is trying to recapture the lap record from sister-brand Lamborghini’s Huracan Performante, which recently clocked a time of 6:52 (beating the 918’s 6:57), or that Zuffenhausen is preparing a new version to succeed it.
Road & Track reached out to the manufacturer, which said that the hybrid hypercar is being used to benchmark against another new model. Just which that model would be, it didn’t say. Porsche has several new models under development, including a new 911 GT2 and GT3 RS, as well as the new Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid. Any of those could be the impetus for the 918’s return to the ‘Ring, or it could be something else altogether. Or maybe, just maybe, the company spokesman’s blowing smoke and there’s a new 918 under development. One can only hope.