Porsche’s smoking hot new race car is the world’s first with bodywork built from hemp.
The 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport features composite doors that use an organic fiber mix derived largely from hemp and flax that take the place of traditional carbon fiber to reinforce a polymer resin.
Porsche says the material is similar in weight and stiffness to a traditional carbon fiber composites and that the organic ingredients used are agricultural by-products, making it more environmentally friendly.
Porsche isn’t the first automaker with this sort of idea, however. Back in 1941 Henry Ford built a prototype with a body made entirely from plastic that reportedly used cellulose from hemp, wheat and soybeans in its construction, although the exact formula has been lost to history.
Along with the weight-reduction provided by the doors, the stripped-out Clubsport features a 425 hp 3.8-liter flat-six engine, 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, racing seats, roll cage, fuel cell, racing brakes and suspension, plus additional equipment for track use. Two versions are being offered: a $150,000 Trackday model and a Competition version aimed at top-level racing that costs $175,000.
Porsche hasn’t indicated any plans to use the new material on a street legal production car, but its improved sustainability would further enhance the green image of its upcoming lineup of electric vehicles.
By Gary Gastelu
January 7, 2019