Porsche's new 911 GT3 R hybrid completed its competition debut this weekend with a sixth-place finish. The new hybrid racer was fielded by the Manthey Racing team with support from the Porsche Factory. Defending American Le Mans Series driver's champ Joerg Bergmeister was joined in the hybrid 911 by Richard Lietz and Martin Ragginger as the team got used to the all-wheel-drive car in preparation for the 24 Hours of Nurburgring in May.
The 911 uses an electro-mechanical flywheel energy storage system to drive a pair of electric motors attached to the front wheels. When braking, those motors generate electricity that spins up an integrated flywheel-motor-generator. Spinning at 40,000 rpm, the flywheel can release the electrical energy back to front motors on demand. The system was developed by the Williams Formula One team and licensed to Porsche.
According to Porsche spokesmen Steve Janisse and Andy Schupak the automaker is in discussions with the American Le Mans Series about bringing the 911 hybrid to North America. There are regulatory differences between the Nurburgring Long Distance Championship, the ACO and ALMS which would require adjustments to the car. If the 911 performs well in the 24 hour race in May and the technical rules can be worked out Janisse says that Porsche would like to have the car run at least 1-2 races here later this year including the Petit Le Mans.