Mark Webber’s Porsche 919 Bursts into Flames Following a Crash in Sao Paulo
Sunday’s FIA World Endurance Championship race in Brazil ended in disaster for Mark Webber and his No. 20 Porsche 919. With less than 30 minutes left to race, Webber lost control in turn 14, hitting Matteo Cressoni in the No. 90 Ferrari 458 Italia, and slamming tail-first into the wall. The resulting crash led to a small fire amid the wreckage. Thankfully, both Webber and Cressoni were listed in “satisfactory” condition after being taken to a nearby hospital and are set for release this week.
With only minutes left in the six-hour endurance race, a restart was forgone, leaving the remaining drivers to finish the race under caution. While the crash is unfortunate, the events led to Webber’s Porsche teammate in the No. 14 Porsche 919 to cross the finish line first. The car was co-driven by Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, and Mark Lieb. This marks Porsche’s first victory in an endurance prototype race since 1989.
Following the Porsche over the finish line was the Toyota TS 040 LMP1 in second place and the Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro in third. While the Porsche took first place, the Toyota team took home the Manufacturers’ Championship with 289 points. Audi followed up with 244 points and Porsche came in third with 193 points. The Sao Paulo race is the end of the 2014 WEC season. The 2015 season starts April 12, 2015 with the Six Hours of Silverstone.
The Porsche 919 combines much of the technology found in the street-going 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder with loads of race-ready tech, including the bodywork. Unlike the 918 supercar, the 919 comes powered by a 2.0-liter V-4 that produces 500 horsepower. The direct-injected and turbocharged engine has a red line of 9,000 rpm and is supplemented by two separate energy recovery systems.
The front axle has an electric motor that captures regenerative braking forces while the second system collects thermal energy collected from the exhaust system to power a generator. Both systems dump power into a water-cooled lithium-ion battery pack. The front axle’s electric motor also helps power the car when accelerating, giving the car AWD.