Porsche is testing a high-voltage electric powertrain in the Le Mans Prototype Porsche 919 Hybrid. We'll see it in a production version EV before too long.
Porsche 919 Hybrid
Porsche is giving the 919 Hybrid a design overhaul for the 2015 racing season in hopes of finding more success than last year. The first images released by the company show a simple horizontal intake running across the front of the coupe and gills along the car's sides. Power still comes from a 2.0-liter turbocharged V4, plus an electric motor for the front axle.
It was a mixed bag for the Porsche team at the 6 Hours of Sao Paulo this weekend – the last race of its first season in the FIA World Endurance Championship. On the one hand, the German team took its first win since launching its LMP1 effort at the start of this season. On the other, its star driver suffered a massive crash that left him in the hospital.
Sahara Force India Formula One driver Nico Hülkenberg is officially part of the Porsche factory team for next year's 24 Hours of Le Mans; the last time a current F1 driver got permission from his team to compete in the world's biggest endurance race was in 2009 when Toro Rosso let Sébastien Bourdais pilot for Peugeot.
It's safe to say that things for Porsche didn't go quite as well at Le Mans this year as it might have hoped. After a sixteen-year gap, the winningest manufacturer in endurance racing history returned to the Circuit de la Sarthe this year hoping maybe not for outright victory in its first time back, but definitely a strong finish on which it could build on for next year. All the while it undoubtedly hoped its 911s would hold their own in the GT classes.
Commenting on the rush of events that rocked beginning and end of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Paul Truswell of Radio Le Mans said "the race is about the ability to endure, not just the ability of drivers to do what they do for a long time." The entire race machine, all the way down to the pit boards and radios, has to survive the stress and abuse of the entire day. This was the race to prove those words.
Not only does this weekend mark the running of the 82nd 24 Hours of Le Mans, it will also see the return of one of the race's most venerable brands to the top tiers of endurance racing. Porsche will campaign its first top-flight car since the 1998 911 GT1-98, the 919 Hybrid, at this weekend's race, in the hopes of knocking off its corporate rival, the dominant Audi team.
After months of teasing with camouflaged testers, Porsche has finally unveiled its prototype entry for the 2014 World Endurance Championship, the 919 Hybrid. Porsche, you may recall, hasn't had campaigned a factory team at Le Mans in years, so the 919 is nothing less than their recommitment to endurance racing.
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