Porsche presented Le Mans Prototypes

Porsche presented Le Mans Prototypes

Porsche presented today at Le Castellet the second generation of its Le Mans Prototype 919 Hybrid racecar and confirmed it will switch to the highest of the four energy categories in the LMP1 class. The performance of the energy recovery system was able to be increased by around one-third as compared to 2014. This means the 919 Hybrid is competitive to race in the 8-megajoule category.

The Porsche team will use two of its extensively further developed technology platforms in all eight races of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The cars will be white and will also carry the “Porsche Intelligent Performance” motto on their bodywork. This also applies to the team’s third 919 Hybrid, which will race at Spa-Francorchamps on May 2. However, for the 24 Hours of Le Mans the team will use a white, a black and a red Porsche 919 Hybrid.

The starting number and colour of the red prototype are a tribute to the Porsche that captured the first of what are now a total of 16 overall victories for the brand in Le Mans in 1970. No other brand has claimed so many victories in this race. The base colour of the Porsche 917 KH “short-tail” in “Salzburg Design” that won the race 45 years ago was also red. The winning drivers then were German Hans Herrmann, who is now 87, and Brit Richard Attwood (74). In 2015, at the 83rd running of the classic race at Le Mans, the red prototype with starting number 17 will be driven by German Timo Bernhard, 25-year-old Kiwi Brendon Hartley and Austrialian Mark Webber.

The black LMP1 with starting number 18 is a symbol of the close technical kinship between the Porsche 919 Hybrid racing car and the Porsche 918 Spyder super sports car, which is also equipped with a hybrid drive. It was also a black 918 that on September 4, 2013 set a new record for a street-legal production sports car by completing a lap of more than 20 kilometres on the North Loop of the Nürburgring in six minutes and 57 seconds. The record-setting driver here was Marc Lieb. The German driver will also drive the black 919 in Le Mans this year, together with Frenchman Romain Dumas, and Swiss Neel Jani.

The team’s third car – the white 919 Hybrid with starting number 19 – will be competing in Le Mans in the colour Porsche chose for its return to top-notch racing after a 16-year absence. White, which is a traditional colour for racing cars from Germany, will also be used with the two Porsche 911 RSR factory cars that will race in the GTE Pro Class. In Le Mans, the third 919 will be driven by New Zealander Earl Bamber, F1 driver Nico Hülkenberg and Briton Nick Tandy.

The 919 is equipped with a 2-litre V4 turbocharged petrol engine with an output of more than 500 hp, which powers the rear axle, and an electric motor with over 400 hp that drives the front wheels and gets its electricity from two energy-recovery systems. A liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery temporarily stores converted braking energy from the front axle as well as converted exhaust-gas energy. The reworked drive system is more powerful and more efficient than before. The Porsche 919 Hybrid was homologated for the top energy-recovery category (8 megajoules for one lap in Le Mans) for the first time in 2015. The vehicle’s lower weight and improved overall rigidity, as well as optimisations made to the suspension and aerodynamics, improved the handling of the endurance racing car. Despite the significant weight reductions, the engineers were still able to make certain key components more robust.

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