Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1, remembers: “Back then we developed from zero a highly complex hybrid race car on a Formula One level”
What has been a fantastic few years for the Porsche 919 Hybrid at the LMP 1 class will finally come to a close at Bahrain, the final leg of the FIA World Endurance Championship. Originally conceived in 2013, the power train concept was as innovative as it was brave, consisting of the most efficient combustion engine Porsche had ever built combined with two different energy recovery systems. Despite a difficult test period, 2014 saw the first positive results: four pole positions and the first race win. Since 2015 to date, the Porsche LMP Team has been phenomenally successful: three consecutive Le Mans outright victories plus three successive manufacturers’ world championship titles while Porsche 919 Hybrid drivers have won the drivers’ world championship title on three occasions.
The Porsche 919 Hybrid develops a system power of around 900 BHP that comes from a compact two-liter turbo charged V4-cylinder engine and two different energy recovery systems – brake energy from the front axle combined with exhaust energy. The combustion engine drives the rear axle while the electro motor boosts the front axle with an output of more than 400 BHP. This effectively makes the 919 accelerate with four-wheel drive and at the same time recuperates energy again from the exhaust system that otherwise would pass unused in to the atmosphere. The electrical energy that comes from the front brakes and the exhaust system is temporarily stored in a liquid-cooled lithium ion battery.
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1, remembers: “Back then we developed from zero a highly complex hybrid race car on a Formula One level. The early days were extremely demanding, especially as we had to set up the infrastructure, including new buildings, at the same time, plus assembling a team of 260 excellent people. The timing was really tight and the 2014 Le Mans race came way too early for us. But since then, we have managed maximum success. I’m incredibly proud of this team and I hope that we can conclude the era of the Porsche 919 Hybrid with a good race in Bahrain.”
The 2014 LMP1 technical regulations presented a tremendous challenge: It required hybrid technology from manufacturers and at the same time, penalized a high amount of recovered energy by limiting the fuel consumption; on top of that it left huge individual freedom on how to deal with these complex requirements. The Porsche engineers didn’t focus on existing race cars but made full use of the chance to create a revolutionary racecar from scratch.
In its final six-hour race, the Porsche 919 Hybrid will tackle Bahrain on the 18th of November.