Supercar required super-engineering

The entire load-bearing structure of the Porsche 918 Spyder is made of carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer that gives the car its extreme torsional rigidity. In addition, the crash elements at the front and rear were designed to absorb and reduce the energy of a collision. The high performance hybrid vehicle weight is 1685 kg.

To develop the chassis an innovastive approach to the materials, manufacture and development were needed, so engineers used a multi-part aerodynamic simulation on the underbody (front, middle, first and second rear). The challenge was to find a balance between cost and technical requirements and weight targets. The main requirement was to achieve optimum aerodynamic flow.

The underbody front section was processed by press moulding using a carbon SMC material. The underbody middle section was made from UD carbon prepregs, balsa wood and glass fibre prepregs, using a prepreg compression moulding process with a core steel mould. The first and second rear sections were made from carbon prepregs and a Rohacell core in a prepreg autoclave.

The result was almost unparallel refinement and performance. The 918 Spyder is a limited edition and only 918 units will be manufactured.

Justin Cunningham

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