DETROIT – The 767-hp Porsche 918 RSR concept car could be a “shot in the arm” for 911 sales in the U.S., a prominent dealer says.

The mid-engine 1-seater makes its world debut here today at the North American International Auto Show. In place of a passenger seat, the vehicle features a flywheel accumulator that helps two in-wheel electric motors provide boost to a 563-hp direct-injection V-8.

The electric motors also afford torque vectoring with variable torque distribution to the front axle, Porsche AG says. Bred for racing, the 918 RSR benefits from a carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic monocoque.

“Everything this car is doing will eventually find its way to the production line,” says Hurley Heywood, Porsche racing legend who also is vice president of Brumos Porsche in Jacksonville, FL.

The time-honored brand is coming off a “banner year” in the U.S., Heywood says.

Sales last year jumped 28.6% to 25,320 units, from 2009’s 19,696, according to Ward’s data. But the Cayenne cross/utility vehicle and Panamera sports sedan accounted for 8,343 and 7,741 deliveries, respectively, followed by the celebrated 911.

The 918 RSR and the previously revealed 918 Spyder, which has been green-lighted for production, “could spark some interest” in the brand and boost the 911’s fortunes, Heywood tells Ward’s.

“We now are really concentrating on 911 sales,” he says. “The rest of our model lineup is OK.” There is no evidence hybrid technology has diluted the Porsche pedigree.

“We can’t get enough hybrid Cayennes to sell,” Heywood adds.

Porsche Cars North America Inc. began selling the gasoline-electric CUV in November. Through December, the auto maker delivered 344 units, according to Ward’s.

emayne@wardsauto.com