This formerly secret concept had an epic engine that deserves a little more time in the spotlight.
The Porsche Museum has given us our best look yet at the 750-horsepower eight-cylinder-powered Porsche Cayman/Boxster-based concept that could've become a supercar without rival.
Three years ago, Porsche revealed several formerly secret concepts and one of them was an extreme road car based on the Cayman. Called the Le Mans Living Legend, this concept was created in 2016 and paid tribute to the Porsche 550 that entered the 1953 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Its looks put one in mind of a 911 more than a 718, but it's also clearly an altogether different animal, with its fuel nozzle in the middle of the front hood, which, like the rear, has a clamshell opening, giving off strong supercar vibes. With looks like these, a run-of-the-mill engine would not do, and Porsche did not disappoint.
Porsche says that it fitted the Le Mans Living Legend with a flat-eight engine but did not go into detail. Thankfully, The Intercooler podcast unearthed many details on this fascinating power plant earlier this year while speaking with Porsche's global e-fuel expert, Marcos Marques.
According to him, Porsche once developed a 5.0-liter flat-eight with two turbochargers, and despite being fitted to a lowly Cayman chassis, Stuttgart extracted a monstrous 750 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque. And despite the choking effect typical of most forced induction engines, it had a 9,000-rpm redline.
Still not impressed? Test drivers waded into battle with a manual gearbox. Unsurprisingly, Marques described the experience as "quite wild."
The engine was meant to find its way to a larger car that would eventually serve as the replacement for the Carrera GT and the 918 Spyder, with a prototype undergoing road testing for more than a year. Even a quad-turbo variant was reportedly under consideration, but with the Dieselgate scandal dominating headlines at the time, Porsche astutely hid its crazy engine from public view and canned the project.
While we'll probably never see the flat-eight in production, Porsche did eventually produce a modern homage to the 550 Coupe, although instead of referencing Le Mans, this special edition - called the GT4 RS Tag Heuer x Porsche - Legends of Panamericana - tips its hat to the 1953 Carrera Panamericana race across Mexico. Sadly, rather than a wild engine or bespoke bodywork, this homage is little more than an appearance package.
Porsche has always innovated with engines. Now, Stuttgart aims to do the same with electricity, and once again, a wild concept is a great place to start.