Porsche introduced the world to the concept of a hybrid car more than 110 years ago with the Lohner-Porsche. Today, Porsche announces the development of a hybrid drive that supplements the already impressive 480 hp of the GT3 R race car. This innovative hybrid drive opens a new chapter in Porsche racing history that encompasses more than 20,000 victories over 45 years.
Developed specifically for racing, the new hybrid system differentiates itself from conventional hybrid systems by way of configuration and components. The front axle of the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid features two electric motors, each developing 60 kW to supplement the 480 hp, naturally aspirated, four-liter flat-six that drives the rear wheels. Instead of the heavy batteries usually found in a hybrid road car, an electrical flywheel power generator is installed inside next to the driver delivering energy to the electric motors.
While no performance figures are yet available for the new Porsche Hybrid, Porsche is quick to stress potential benefits of the electrical flywheel power generator in long-distance and endurance racing in the form of fuel savings and efficiency.
"The flywheel generator is also an electric motor, with its rotor spinning at speeds of up to 40,000 rpm while mechanically storing energy. The flywheel generator is charged whenever the driver applies the brakes, as the two front axle electric motors reverse their role and act as generators. Then, when accelerating out of a bend or while overtaking, the driver can use the extra energy from the charged flywheel generator, sending up to 120 kW of stored kinetic energy to the motors. This additional power is available after each charge for approximately six to eight seconds."
These extra six to eight second increase the efficiency and, accordingly, the performance of the 911 GT3 R Hybrid. Specifically, a small fuel tank (or less fuel) will result in lighter weight and the added electric power after breaking makes for less frequent pit stops.
After its debut in Geneva, the 911 GT3 R Hybrid will be tested in long-distance races on the Nürburgring. The highlight of this test program will be the 24 Hours on the Nordschleife of Nürburgring, May 15-16, 2010. The focus is not on the 911 GT3 R Hybrid winning the race, but rather spearheading technology as a “racing lab.” The intent is to provide hands-on know-how for the subsequent use of hybrid technology in road-going sports cars.