It’s official, the gauntlet has been thrown down. Porsche CEO Matthias Muller has announced that the German automaker is working on its next project, and it’s going to be a doozy. The Porsche 961 is a supercar that will rival the Ferrari 458 Italia. That’s quite a lofty goal for Porsche, as the 458 has been met with critical acclaim and success. The 458 even won Motor Trend‘s 2011 Best Driver’s Car competition last year, its first year in the competition. However, it still has come catching up to do with the Nissan GT-R when it comes to the World’s Greatest Drag Race.
None of this scares Porsche off though, as it has sent some stout competition to Motor Trend’s Best Driver’s Car competition. In fact, the 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S took the title in the latest Best Driver’s car competition, and the 2011 911 GT3 RS placed in the top three in the competition last year. To combat a heavyweight like the 458, the freshly minted Porsche 961 (the name is subject to change) will rely on a 4.6-liter V-8 engine that’s rated at 570 horsepower according to Auto Express. However, Automobile believes a twin-turbo flat-six will be responsible for power, not a V-8. Auto Express estimates that the V-8 mill can catapult the 961 from 0-62 mph in just over three seconds. For comparison’s sake, the 2012 Ferrari 458 can launch itself from 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds thanks to a 4.5-liter engine which can churn out 562 horsepower.
Porsche plans to position the 961 between the 911 GT2 RS and the up-and-coming 918 Spyder hybrid supercar that will reportedly cost close to $1 million. Muller expects the 961 to come with a price tag in the ballpark of $323,400. The 2012 Ferrari 458 starts at $257,000. The 961 is believed to borrow technology from the 918 which includes a lightweight carbon fiber-reinforced chassis.
Porsche is aiming to move 200,000 units a year by 2016, but the 961 won’t affect that too much. The majority of the sales will come from the all-new Macan, Cayenne, Panamera, and of course, the 911. The Porsche 961 isn’t expected into showrooms until late 2015.
What say you? Will the Porsche 961 be able to hang with the Ferrari 458? Tell us what you think in the comment section below.