Friday, January 10, 2014

Porsche uses four-cylinder hybrid powertrain in new Le Mans car

Porsche 919 LMP1 Le Mans car details
Porsche returns to the top class of Le Mans - LMP1 - in 2014 with the 919, aiming for overall victory.

Porsche has released another batch of images of its LMP1 competitor preparing for its debut season in 2014. This isn't the first we've seen of the new car, as June saw four images of the new racer undergoing testing. Where those images looked merely like someone taking pics during the test, the 11 new images seen above have all the hallmarks of highly polished PR shots
Porsche's LMP1 effort will be focused on the FIA World Endurance Championship, which will see the revered brand return to the top flights of the 24 Hours Of Le Mans with F1 ace Mark Webber behind the wheel. As we've mentioned before, the German brand has set up a dedicated microsite that will cover its newest racer's progress.
Next year, the Porsche LMP1 racing car is set to take to the starting line in the World Endurance Championship (WEC), as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans. "The current test drives are enabling us to collect huge amounts of vital data; every single kilometer driven is important. However, in order to develop the highly complex LMP1 racing car so that it is fit to compete by the start of next year's season, many more kilometers of testing are required," highlights Fritz Enzinger, vice president LMP1. "We are pleased with the progress being made with each test."
The WEC regulations stipulate that manufacturers run hybrid vehicles in the highest class for Le Mans Prototypes (LMP1). Porsche says their hybrid system consists of a four-cylinder petrol engine with direct injection and two energy recuperation systems. The recovered energy is stored in a battery until retrieved by the driver. A powerful electric motor then provides additional drive to the front axle. However, the WEC rules limit the amount of fuel as well as the electrical energy, or so-called boost, available to the driver per lap. The development of such a highly-efficient drive will have positive influences on production development at Porsche.
“My first day in this fascinating project was an intense experience for me,” Webber said after the test. “We have a long way to go and it involves a lot of hard work--I have no misconceptions about this.”
The new LMP1, which will compete in the 2014 World Endurance Championship and the series’ highlight, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, will continue testing until the season-opener at Silverstone in mid-April. Porsche plans to field two cars, with Webber to be joined by Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Neel Jani.
So what do we know about the new Porsche? Not much, though a little nugget has come out of this Webber test: like the 918, the Le Mans car is a petrol-electric hybrid, but unlike the V8-powered 918, the racer features a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with direct injection and two energy recuperation systems. The energy recovered will then be stored in a battery, hooked up to an electric motor on the front axle.
As Porsche is only now returning to top-level endurance racing after a 16-year hiatus, its engineers have been working long and hard in developing the car and its new hybrid drivetrain. That drivetrain consists of a four-cylinder gasoline engine with direct injection and two energy recovery systems.
The recovered energy is stored in a battery until retrieved by the driver, whereby the energy is directed to a powerful electric motor that provides additional drive to the front axle. This creates a through-the-road all-wheel-drive system similar to what’s featured in Porsche’s road-going 918 Spyder.
In a statement, Porsche made mention that its highly-efficient drivetrain will have positive influences on production development at Porsche. While we’ve already seen the German automaker add hybrid systems to its cars, next year we will see a four-cylinder engine added to Macan and possibly to the Boxster and Cayman sports cars.
About Porsche Motorsport North America
Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA), located in Santa Ana, California, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Porsche AG and the sole sales and service provider for the German sports car maker’s North American customer sports programs. Porsche is the largest manufacturer of race cars with a wide range of products from the 911 GT3 Cup car to the ultimate 911 GT3 RSR. PMNA sells these models to customer teams in North America and provides them with parts, service and expertise in between races and at the track. The PMNA service truck is a fixture at most race tracks in the U.S. and Canada, staffed by factory engineers to service all of Porsche's customer teams.
About Porsche Cars North America
Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA), based in Atlanta, Ga. is the exclusive U.S. importer of Porsche sports cars, the Cayenne SUV and Panamera sports sedan. Established in 1984, it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Porsche AG, which is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, and employs approximately 220 people who provide parts, service, marketing and training for 189 dealers. They, in turn, work to provide Porsche customers with a best-in-class experience that is in keeping with the brand’s 63-year history and leadership in the advancement of vehicle performance, safety and efficiency.
At the core of this success is Porsche’s proud racing heritage that boasts some 30,000 motorsport wins to date.