This is the new for 2017 Porsche 919 Hybrid and it has some of the biggest headlamps we’ve seen on a racing car in a very long time. Yeah, I pity the GTE cars that will get lambasted by its lumens as it charges past after dark. Capable of turning night into day the new 919 Hybrid remains the only LMP1 prototype in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) with a hybrid powertrain system that can recharge its lithium-ion battery pack under acceleration.
This is achieved by means of a small turbine fitted inside the exhaust tract. Of course this is supplemented by a more conventional KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) on the front-axle brakes. The electrical juice squeezed out by both these two systems powers an electrical motor that sends 294kW through the front wheels. With the turbocharged V4 petrol engine sending 368kW to the rear wheels the new 919 Hybrid muscles out a total of 662kW.
For 2017 Porsche has developed two aerodynamics packages: one suited for twisty tracks on which downforce is important, the other exclusively for use at Le Mans where minimal resistance and high speeds are paramount for setting competitive lap times. The latter better make the 919 Hybrid extra slippery considering that it’s up against the more powerful 2017 Toyota TS050 that hits the grid with a 73kW advantage.
The Porsche will meet its Japanese rival at the Six Hours of Silverstone on 16 April 2017. Time will tell which holds the advantage. – Thomas Falkiner