2016 Porsche 919 Hybrid
Developed between 2012 and 2013, the 919 Hybrid hit the track for the 2014 World Endurance Championship, marking Porsche’s return to top-tier racing since 1998. With a hybrid drivetrain that included a turbocharged V-4 engine, a rather awkward choice compared to what Audi and Toyota used in their prototypes, the 919 finished the 2014 WEC season third, managing to score only one win at Interlagos. At Le Mans, Porsche had to settle for 11th place. In 2015, the Germans returned with an improved version of the LMP1 and won five out of eight races, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, winning the Manufacturers’ Championship ahead of Audi and Toyota. For 2016, Porsche has revised the 919 Hybrid once again in order to defend its WEC and Le Mans trophies.
Much like all updates for modern prototype race cars, the 2016-spec 919 Hybrid is far from being a radical departure compared to its predecessor. Both the aerodynamic package and the drivetrain are indeed different, but to the extent that they no longer share components with the previous design. With the 919 already a successful race car, Porsche focused on improving efficiency and and reducing curb weight rather than enhancing performance, mostly because new FIA restrictions force Porsche to use around eight percent less fuel and power throughout the 2016 season.
This season, Porsche’s Team will field two 919 Hybrids. Car No. 1 will be driven by 2015 champions Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, and Brendon Hartley, while car No. 2 will be shared by Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, and Marc Lieb. Is the updated 919 good enough to defend its title? Find out more in our review below.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 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.