Porsche has always, and always will take part in motorsport. The 911 is the worlds most successful racing car and the German brands history is littered with fabled machines that beat the competition like a drum. Its iconic 917 gave them their first Le Mans 24 Hour victory in 1970 and this car with its advanced aerodynamics was a technological marvel. After a notable absence, for 2014 Porsche return to Le Mans LMP class with a car they hope to be just as successful as the 917. The Porsche 9191 Hybrid is to take on the toughest race in the world.
24 gruelling hours tests both man and machine to the limits. Porsche’s 919 is the most advanced car the company has ever built and aims to take on not only the challenge of finishing the race, but also beating the dominant Audi team.
A key feature of this years Le Mans race is just how little fuel these cars can actually use. The Porsche 919 Hybrid is in the 6-megajoule class where cars with over 500HP can only use 4.78 litres of fuel per lap. This cars Hybrid element serves to boost performance, but also keep the car out of the pit lane refuelling. Time lost stationary could cost victory.
Over the 24 hour race the 919 will generate enough energy to power an electric car 4,500km through its unique system that no other team in the race is using. Firstly there is kinetic energy recovery which recaptures energy that would otherwise be lost though braking. This is then stored in a battery and deployed throughout the lap. The second energy unit, which only the Porsche 919 Hybrid is using, is linked directly to the cars 2.0 litre V4 turbocharged petrol engine. Once exhaust gasses have been used to spin the turbine in the turbo they would usually leave the car via the exhaust. Porsche are instead directing it through a second turbine that will generate electricity which is stored in the onboard battery pack. This system recaptures a lot of energy otherwise lost and results in a 30% increase in efficiency over last years specification.
The Le Mans 24 Hour lap will see the Porsche 919 Hybrid hit over 200MPH seven times as each lap is full throttle for around 70% of it.