Porsche has officially confirmed its return to the historic 24 Hours of Le Mans by presenting the 919 Hybrid this week at the on-going 2014 Geneva Motor Show. The brand new Le Mans prototype will compete in the LMP1 category of the 2014 World Endurance Championship.
Porsche’s Le Mans contender packs a hybrid system consisting of a newly developed single-turbo V4 2.0-litre direct-injection engine that is able to produce close to 500PS of max power. In addition, the 919 Hybrid has two energy recovery systems. Fundamentally, here is a system that recovers thermal energy from exhaust gases via an electric generator driven by the exhaust gas stream, which is similar to what is being used in the 2014 Formula One season.
The second hybrid system has the functionality familiar from the 918 Spyder supercar. Here, a generator on the front axle utilises braking phases to convert kinetic energy into electric energy. Lithium-ion batteries serve as the energy storage medium. When the driver needs this energy, such as coming out of a corner, an electric motor drives the front axle. This makes the 919 Hybrid an all-wheel drive vehicle temporarily.
According to Porsche, the 919 Hybrid has spent no less than 2,000 hours testing in the wind tunnel ahead of the racecar's participation this June at Le Mans with the following drivers: Mark Webber, Neel Jani, Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas along with works drivers Marc Lieb and Brendon Hartley.