Just a few short days before sweeping the top two podium steps at the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans, Porsche posted an interesting photo on its Facebook page, depicting the white No. 19 2015 Porsche 919 Hybrid P1 racer sitting next to a mysterious, low-slung sports car with a cover over it. The silhouette doesn’t resemble anything in the current Porsche lineup, and the cover reads “Mission: Future Sportscar.” It’s the third picture in a series that also includes the red 919 next to a red 917 and a black 919 next to a black 918 Spyder — the idea being that the colors represent Porsche’s past, present and future.
So what’s under the cover? In reality, probably just a foam mockup, but it likely represents Porsche’s first hint that the much-rumored 988 supercar is on the way. Porsche boss Matthias Müller announced in 2011 that such a car was in development, and, as far as we know, that’s still the case. We were recently led to believe that progress has been slow, but this photo, along the text on the cover, seems to be tacit confirmation that it’s still very much in Porsche’s product pipeline.
The 988 will be positioned above the 911 in Porsche’s lineup as a German alternative to the 2016 Ferrari 488 GTB and cost significantly less than halo models like the 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder and 2004-2007 Porsche Carrera GT. Rumors suggest it will use a new mid-mounted, 4.0-liter, flat-eight engine based on the same architecture as Porsche’s current flat-six. With as many as four turbochargers, the new engine should produce well over 600 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. Expect styling to take a page from the 918, as our rendering from 2014 shows. It will initially be available as a hardtop, but a Spyder variant is almost a foregone conclusion.
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