• 2015 Porsche 919 Hybrid

Even though it didn’t manage to end the Audi tyranny at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Porsche 919 Hybrid is still very much on a mission to bring the Stuttgart sports car builder back where it belongs in the LMP1 class in endurance racing. Having been launched in 2014, a second generation of the model, with many improved parts, began testing on the 18th of January at the Abu Dhabi Yas Marina Circuit. The improved 919 Hybrid actually had a successful initial roll-out right at the Weissach test track near Porsche’s headquarters, on December 15, 2014, with the test in Abu Dhabi being the first of plenty more to come before the World Endurance Championship (WEC) season opener takes place at Silverstone, on the 12th of April 2015.

Despite having a nearly identical exterior and being powered by the same power unit as the 2014 model, the 2015 919 Hybrid has been improved in a reasonable amount of areas, but for obvious reasons not all the upgrades are currently public. Since in endurance racing the main focus is not necessarily on fast lap times but on efficiency and reliability, most of the improvements are expected to have been made on the turbocharged , hybrid, V-4 engine that power the model.

With that being said, the 919 Hybrid also benefits form an aerodynamic upgrade that changes quite a lot of details on the car’s look, especially at the front. Porsche actually says that the 2015 WEC challenger is an all-new design based on the same concept as the 919 Hybrid that ran during 2014.

Updated 01/16/2015: Porsche announced that the 2015 Porsche 919 Hybrid began its extensive testing session at the Abu Dhabi Yas Marina Circuit. After that, the car will take several performance and endurance tests before the WEC season opener on April 12 in Silverstone, Great Britain.

Click past the jump to read more about the Porsche 919 Hybrid and the company’s history at Le Mans.

  • 2015 Porsche 919 Hybrid
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    500 @ 9000
  • 0-60 time:
    3 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    200 mph (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 Porsche 919 Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Porsche 919 Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
- image 544750
2015 Porsche 919 Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
- image 544756

While at first glance it may not look like the new Porsche 919 Hybrid is that much different except for its change of color from white to naked carbon fiber, a number of aerodynamic upgrades become obvious once you get closer. The front end is where most of the restyling has been done, with the model now featuring a single and very wide air intake that connects the redesigned headlights assembly. Speaking of which, the four LED headlights are back on each side, while the front canards have been slightly reshaped.

The nose is no longer a boring rectangular but now v-shaped, giving the car more of a beak-like front end instead of looking like a surprised duck. Moving to the side, a new aerodynamic fins have moved toward the rear wheels, most likely to be used in part by the hot air exiting the front brakes.

Interior

Obviously, the interior of the 919 Hybrid is mainly off-limits to photographers, but a mixture of carbon fiber, buttons and switches are expected to adorn the center console, while the single carbon-fiber seat should be engulfed in Alcantara and fire-retarding material.

Drivetrain

2015 Porsche 919 Hybrid Drivetrain
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Just like the model that finished third in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2014, the new Porsche 919 Hybrid is also built around a carbon-fiber monocoque with a honeycomb aluminum core. It is powered by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, V-4 engine that is paired with an electric motor, two energy-recuperation systems and a lithium-ion battery pack. Thanks to the electric motor powering the front wheels, the model is essentially all-wheel drive on demand. More details about its improved powertrain should become official by the time that the 2015 WEC kicks off in April.

Competition

Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro

2014 Audi R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 High Resolution Exterior
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While not officially confirmed to run in the 2015 championship, the Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro is what many see as the nemesis for the Porsche 919 Hybrid, with the Ingolstadt carmaker having won no less than 13 times at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Powered by a twin-turbocharged, 4.0-liter V-6 that exclusively transmits power to the rear wheels via a seven-speed sequential transmission, the Audi R18 is also augmented by an electric motor, a lithium-ion battery and an energy recuperation system. Currently, the model is the only car in the LMP1 category to still use a diesel powerplant as the main type of propulsion, giving it a torque and fuel economy advantage compared to most others.

Toyota TS040 Hybrid

2014 Toyota Racing TS040 Hybrid High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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By far the most powerful car in LMP1, the Toyota TS040 Hybrid came reasonably close to turn the tides on Audi’s recent dominance at Le Mans, but a number of crashes and some reliability problems only saw it clinch the third position in the 24-hour race. Unlike its rivals, the TS040 Hybrid is powered by a naturally-aspirated, 3.7-liter, V-8 engine, that is paired with not one but two electric motors. With a maximum output of 986 horsepower sent to all four wheels, the Japanese racing model should remain a true opposing force to both the Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro and the Porsche 919 Hybrid, both of which rely mostly on efficiency and reliability and not all-out grunt.

Conclusion

2015 Porsche 919 Hybrid Exterior AutoShow
- image 545088

By far the most prolific constructor in motorsport and with the most wins at Le Mans 24 Hours, Porsche is putting all its money on the redesigned 919 Hybrid and hopes that it will finally bring the LMP1 trophy back to Zuffenhausen. With recent reports suggesting that the sports car builder may actually field three cars at the 2015 edition of the classic endurance race, its reliability problems from 2014 may soon be forgotten. Considering that the first variant of the 919 Hybrid wasn’t actually a slouch in most races, the 2015 model should be even better and its chances of finally beating Audi are increasing.

  • Leave it
    • Not the most powerful model in LMP1
    • Reliability is still a mystery
    • Rivals haven’t been standing still

Porsche 919 Hybrid World Endurance Championship Race Car

2015 Porsche 919 Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
- image 544758
2015 Porsche 919 Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
- image 544750
2015 Porsche 919 Hybrid High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 544753

Lying at the heart of the 919 Hybrid is a 2.0-liter V-4 (Yep, a V-4 engine) that produces an amazing 500 horsepower and revs to a head-spinning 9,000 rpms. The direct-injected, turbocharged engine also serves as a structural component of the chassis, enabling engineers to keep the its overall weight down.

Additionally, two separate energy recovery systems are on board. Up front is a motor mounted on the front axle that utilizes regenerative braking. The second system is a little more unconventional and futuristic. It uses thermal energy collected from the exhaust system to power a generator. The power from both systems is stored in water-cooled lithium-ion battery packs. When the driver needs the extra power, the energy is sent to the front electric motor, powering the front wheels. This essentially makes the 919 all wheel drive.

The Latest Info

2015 Porsche 919 Hybrid Drivetrain
- image 544746
2015 Porsche 919 Hybrid Drivetrain
- image 544745
2015 Porsche 919 Hybrid Drivetrain
- image 544748

The 919 is certainly a crowing achievement for Porsche as it represents a nearly all in-house development, and the latest batch of info from Stuttgart confirms that notion. With the regulations for the LMP1-H category only regulating the hybrid system and how much fuel is consumed during a lap, the engineers were able to design and developing their choice of engine design, its displacement, and the method in which the regenerated electricity is stored.

With the 919 registered in the six megajoule category, the engineers had to develop the system to use exactly 1.67 kWh of energy per every eight miles. With all the onboard regenerative equipment, the 919 is able to generate 581.2 kWh – more than enough to power the car. Porsche also makes an example of that amount of energy powering a Volkswagen e-Golf from New York to Los Angeles.

The hybrid system is comprised of several regenerative components that send power to be stored in the water-cooled lithium-ion battery pack On the front axel lies a Kinetic energy recovery system and on the V-4 engine is bolted a secondary turbocharger-like generator. The KERS works by collecting rotational energy and converting it into electricity. In the same respect, the engineers mounted a small turbine generator to the main turbocharger’s wastegate valve. Anytime the wastegate opens to dump excess exhaust pressure, the turbine generates power.

With the 500-horsepower, turbocharged V-4 engine and the hybrid drive system working together, the car gives the driver similar power to a conventional racer, but uses 30 percent less fuel.

Porsche’s overall main goal with this technology is to perfect it on the racetrack in order to include systems like these on regular production vehicles. The highly-publicized 918 Hybrid hypercar is the Porsche’s first example of what this sort of technology can do for sports cars.

Porsche at Le Mans

2015 Porsche 919 Hybrid Exterior Spyshots
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Porsche made its first appearance in the Le Mans race in 1951 and since then it was the maker with most of the wins. There were more than 600 Porsche vehicles entered in the race and the company has tallied 16 overall wins (1970, 1971, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1994, 1996, 1997 and 1998) and 94 class wins with prototypes and GT vehicles.

The first win was obtained in 1951 with a 356 SL Coupe and the latest one in 2007 with a 911 GT3 RSR entered by French private team IMSA Matmut.

Porsche in Le Mans 1971: The race of records

Alex Oagana
Alex Oagana
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