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Using the same principal as its roadgoing 918 Spyder — gas and electric power combined to produce ultra-high performance — Porsche’s 919 Hybrid racer recently claimed its first outright win in the world’s top sports-car class. First place in the final race of the year, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, capped a promising inaugural season for the LeMans prototype in the FIA 2014 World Endurance Championship. Though it didn’t win outright, the 919 had previous successful stints in the 24 Hours of LeMans and in roadraces at Silverstone, England, and in Belgium.
After 16 years away from participating in the category of endurance racing, Porsche came back in style by winning the eighth and final round of the FIA 2014 World Endurance Championship held in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The victory also mark a first for the Porsche 919 Hybrid, the Le Mans prototype race car that motored drivers Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, and Marc Lieb to victory lane. Porsche designed and manufactured the 919 hybrid in record time and the company reaped the benefits of its fast and efficient work by winning an endurance race during the 919 hybrid’s debut year.
Porsche engineers dedicated themselves to the principle of designing a race car that provides superior fuel efficiency, while not sacrificing performance. The Porsche 919 Hybrid generates 3,592 kilowatt hours of electrical power for every 23,232 kilometers covered by the race car. Superior efficiency and optimal performance also require Porsche engineers to create aerodynamic features such as lightweight materials to reduce wind drag. Reduced wind drag is especially important for endurance races that traverse mountainous terrain. The most remarkable feature created by Porsche for the 919 hybrid is the compact two-liter, four-cylinder turbo engine that operates off two energy recovery systems. Porsche engineers ensure the 919 hybrid receives the optimal mixture of petro and electrical power.
At its race debut in Silverstone, England, the Porsche 919 hybrid team achieved its first podium finish. The team quickly moved on to the next event held in Belgium and the 919 hybrid gained the pole position for the six-hour race. During the iconic 24 hours at Le Mans, the 919 hybrid held the lead for 37 laps, before retiring with an engine problem. The engine breakdown emboldened the 919 hybrid team to enhance the performance features under the hood and the hard work paid off with the race car’s first place finish in Sao Paulo.
With the 919 hybrid, Porsche engineers have made a breakthrough in developing a hybrid drive system. No other race car entered in the 2014 World Endurance Championship possessed a hybrid system that operated as efficiently as the hybrid system created by Porsche engineers. By establishing a high tempo development process spearheaded by noted race car experts Fritz Enzinger and Alexander Hitzinger, Porsche expects its nearly 150 engineers to improve the 919 hybrid’s performance. The Porsche 919 hybrid development team is currently pioneering advanced technologies for future sustainable race car drive systems.