2015 Porsche 919 Hybrid: The World’s Most Powerful Hybrid Starts a New Racing Season
One incredible hybrid racing car, three incredible iterations. Three numbers and a color steeped in Porsche Motorsports history.
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 what is believed to be the world’s most demanding endurance race. The base colour of the Porsche 917 KH (“short-tail”) in “Salzburg Design” that won the race 45 years ago on June 14, 1970 was also red. The winning drivers then were Hans Herrmann from Germany, who is now 87, and Richard Attwood from the UK, who is 74 today. In 2015, at the 83rdrunning of the classic race at Le Mans, the red prototype with starting number 17 will be driven by Timo Bernhard, 34 (Germany), Brendon Hartley, 25 (New Zealand) and Mark Webber, 38 (Australia).
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, 34, from Germany. Lieb will also drive the black 919 in Le Mans this year – together with Romain Dumas, 37, (France) and Neel Jani, 31 (Switzerland).
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 Earl Bamber, 24 (New Zealand), F 1 driver Nico Hülkenberg, 27 (Germany) and Nick Tandy, 30 (UK).
2015 marks the second year of Porsche’s return to the FIA World Endurance Championship circuit. A virtually all-new 919 Hybrid racer looks to pickup the success gained towards the end of the 2014 season. Although Porsche didn’t stick to the Hollywood script and win LeMans it’s first year back, they fought well. In December 2014, the 919 Hybrid did win in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The big news for FIA WEC and Porsche Motorsports in 2015 is a completely re-tooled 919 Hybrid. The idea was to get lighter and even more powerful. The biggest takeaway is that Porsche’s engineers figure they’ll find more speed on the hybrid side than the piston side. For 2015, a new 400 bhp electric motor drives the front axle. A 500+ bhp V-4 turbocharged engine drives the rear axle.
By the way, you read that right for the rear axle. Porsche is extracting 500+ horsepower from a 4-cylinder engine. The idea of a massive Detroit-style engine block is dead. And buried. Nobody came to the funeral.
For most WEC races, Porsche will field 2 cars. But for LeMans, the marque will send a red, a white and a black 919 into battle, seen first in the slideshow above.
We will post a 2015 racing calendar soon, with dates for LeMans class races, Formula E, as well as Formula 1. Green cars go fast, indeed.Click here for reuse options!
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