Friday 31 March 2017

New Porsche 919 Hybrid presented at Monza this afternoon

After the presentation of Toyota's challenger this morning, Porsche took the honours in the afternoon to present its 2017 Porsche 919 Hybrid for the FIA World Endurance Championship.  The 2017 model 919 Hybrid deploys a range of new innovations, particularly in the vehicle’s aerodynamics, the chassis and the combustion engine. 60 to 70 percent of the car has been newly developed. 

With the revised technical regulations,  the Porsche engineers designed two brand-new aerodynamics packages for the 919 Hybrid. In 2016, Porsche delivered three aerodynamics packages for the season, but the new regulations have also imposed limits on numbers. To achieve maximum top speeds on the extremely long straight sections, the package design focuses on minimising air resistance. The second aerodynamics package compensates for a higher level of drag with greater downforce for tracks with twists and turns. Track- specific fine-tuning is still permitted, but in general, 2017 will involve a higher level of compromise than was the case with the three aerodynamics packages of the previous year. 

A key focus for the engineers was to design the front end of the vehicle to be less aerodynamically sensitive. When comparing a front view of this year’s 919 to the previous year’s model, the higher, wider and longer wheel arches immediately catch the eye. To the side, the new channel from the monocoque to the wheel arch is visible, along with the redesigned rear air intakes for the radiators. Porsche is expecting to see a three to four-second increase in lap times at Le Mans, following the new regulations. 

Next to the aerodynamical changes, the efficiency and performance of the drivetrain also has been boosted by the Porsche engineers.  The transmission on the front and rear axle, the combustion engine, the electric motor and the energy recovery systems have all been optimised, but the basic principle behind the drive system is unchanged. The rear axle of the 919 is driven by an extremely compact two-litre V4 combustion engine which delivers just under 500 hp (368 kW). Two different energy recovery systems – a braking energy recovery system on the front axle plus an exhaust energy recovery system – feed a lithium-ion battery, which in turn powers an electric motor capable of supplying additional power of over 400 hp (294 kW) to the front axle on demand. Combined the 919 Hybrid achieves a system power of more than 900 hp (662 kW).

The 919 will start again in the highest energy efficiency class prescribed by the regulations. This means that the car can use 8 megajoules of recovered energy over the 13.629-kilometre (8.4 mile) track in Le Mans, subject to the restriction that it may only consume a maximum of 4.31 litres of fuel to do so. 

After three years, the Porsche LMP team lines up with two newly assembled driver trio's. Neel Jani is the leading driver in the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid. He will be joined by André Lotterer who's coming over from Audi and Nick Tandy. In the #2 car Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley will be joined by another Le Mans winner from 2015: Earl Bamber.


Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP, faces the season with a great deal of respect: “Each and every one of the nine endurance races presents a challenge. Reliability is the basic requirement; six hours of navigating around the many cars in the different categories, each driving at different speeds, makes each race unpredictable – and ultimately it is often only seconds that separate the winner from the rest of the field. At four times the duration of the other races, Le Mans forms the pinnacle of the series. This 24-hour race pushes both men and machine to their absolute limits. Toyota is set to be a very strong contender in the top-tier LMP1 category for the 2017 season. We will face up to them with a meticulously enhanced Porsche 919 Hybrid and a team of six first-class drivers.”

Team Principal Andreas Seidl, who continues to serve as acting technical director, reports: “For the 2017 season, 60 to 70 per cent of the vehicle is newly developed. The basic concept of the 919 Hybrid still offers scope to optimise the finer details and further boost efficiency. The monocoque has remained unchanged since 2016, but the optimisation potential of all other components was analysed and, in most cases, adjustments made accordingly.”

Kristof Vermeulen.