• Watch Chris Harris Strap Into the Porsche 919 Tribute: Video

Who wouldn’t jump to the occasion if they were offered the keys to a Porsche Le Mans winner?

Porsche has built its name in motorsports. The German brand won everything from the Dakar Rally to Le Mans. Chirs Harris, who needs no further introduction, got to drive Porsche’s last Le Mans winner, the 919 Hybrid from last year, and it’s tremendous to watch.

We can’t argue that Chirs Harris has been lucky enough to drive some of the world’s most coveted automobiles over the years. But buckling up inside the tight confines of Porsche’s 2017 Le Mans winner is something special even by his high standards.

Porsche and Audi are good guys: they both let journalists test their P1 racers when their programs were canned

Getting to drive a race car is almost any car guy’s dream. And I mean a real race car, one built from the ground up for racing, not a Miata slightly modified for the odd track day and autocross - although there’s nothing wrong with a Miata.

That's why when Chris Harris got the call to drive the Porsche 919 Hybrid he packed his bags quicker than you can spell 'hybrid.'

With its bodywork removed, the 919 is catnip for the engineering enthusiast, on an unparalleled scale", is how Harris puts it in a write-up for Top Gear about driving the beast. "The lateral thinking and packaging owe more to aeronautical skills than anything automotive I’ve seen outside of Formula One. But in terms of powertrain complexity, the 919 makes an F1 car look like a MkIII Escort".

Watch Chris Harris Strap Into the Porsche 919 Tribute: Video
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The 919 showcased what Porsche could come up with 16 years since its last overall victory at Le Mans, all the way back in 1998 and with a teeny bit of help from the dominant Mercedes outfit whose engines popped way too early in the running.

The 919, complete with a hybrid powertrain, finished on the podium at La Sarthe at the first time of asking then won the race in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Granted, Toyota’s would-be winning car died at the line with one lap to go in 2016, but most people remember the victors, not the terribly unlucky losers. So the 919 pushed Porsche’s tally of victories in France to 19, and it won the FIA WEC championship in dominant fashion too.

You really have to watch the video to see and hear more about the car. Another reason why this car matters, is something with which Harris ended his TG piece, saying that "what I find most gratifying is that it continues a long tradition of Porsche race projects that prefaced the next stage of road-car technology." He went on to add that "if the 919’s insane performance is anything to go by, cars are about to get a whole lot faster. That’s a future I can support".

Further reading

Porsche 919 Hybrid Wallops Its Way To Spa Lap Record, Nurburgring Could Be Next
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Read our full review on the 2018 Porsche 919 Hybrid

The Porsche 919 Just Smashed the 35-Year-Old Nurburgring Lap Record by 51 Seconds
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The Porsche 919 Just Smashed the 35-Year-Old Nurburgring Lap Record by 51 Seconds

Michael Fira
Michael Fira
Associate Editor and Motorsport Expert - fira@topspeed.com
Mihai Fira started out writing about long-distance racing like the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. As the years went by, his area of interest grew wider and wider and he ever branched beyond the usual confines of an automotive writer. However, his heart is still close to anything car-related and he's most at home retelling the story of some long-since-forgotten moment from the history of auto racing. He'll also take time to explain why the cars of the '60s and '70s are more fascinating than anything on the road today.  Read full bio
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