Most racing seats today are made of carbon fiber. Not only is the material lightweight, but it's also very sturdy. The same goes for the process of how the seats are made. But Porsche wants to change that. Rather than the usual method of using molds, the automaker is turning to 3D printing technology.
3D printing has certainly come a long way. Apart from making various items for personal use, automakers have also adopted the technology for use in vehicle production. As early as 2018, Bugatti already made titanium brake calipers using a 3D printer. More recently, Porsche has developed a 3D printed steel piston, which supposedly delivers more power and better efficiency.
But aside from pistons, the automaker has made 3D-printed bucket seats. Best of all, it will be available to customers (at an extra cost) starting February 2022 onwards via the Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur and through Porsche's online new car configurator.
Porsche's new 3D printed seat looks similar to the ones fitted on the higher-spec 911 GT3 and GT2 RS models. However, the highlight of the new seat design is the central section where parts of the cushion and backrest surfaces are produced using a 3D printer and are available in three different rigidity grades. As a result, the seat can be customized to suit the customer's specific needs.
While Porsche may have only introduced 3D printed seats now, the technology has been used in a previous model – the Mission R concept from the 2021 IAA Mobility Show. The automaker adds that the 3D printed seats are lighter in comparison to conventional bucket seats.
“Seats adapted to individual drivers have been available for a long time in professional motorsport. Now Porsche also offers a road-approved customization with different rigidity grades as standard," says Porsche test driver Lars Kern. "During the initial test drives I was impressed by the ergonomics – the slightly lower seat position and improved thigh support are similar to what you get from a seat in a racing car. The passive ventilation is impressive too.”
For now, nearly all new Porsche models available with bucket seats can use the new 3D printed seats. However, it's not just limited to the 982-generation 718 and the 992-generation 911. The company says even the older 981-generation Boxster/Cayman and 991-generation 911 can be retrofitted with the new seats.
The question remains though: will you trust Porsche's 3D printed seats, or would you prefer to use racing seats made using a method that's been tried and tested? Share your thoughts below.