To many of you it might be a given that the Porsche 919 LMP1 would continue to race next year and beyond, but that wasn’t necessarily the case. The 919 program itself is hugely expensive, employing some 230 people. More importantly, and as Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG, said: “Motorsport is an important part of Porsche’s brand identity – but not an end in itself.” In other words, not only does Porsche need to win (as they did for the 17th time this year at Le Mans) they need to create technology that translates to road going cars. As that’s exactly what they’re doing with the 919 program, they announced today that they will continue to race in the LMP1 class at least until the end of the 2018 season.
As a reminder, for class one Le Mans prototypes (LMP1) entered by manufacturers, the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) regulations require hybrid systems and limit the amount of energy (fuel and electricity) available per lap. This places enormous amounts of pressure on Porsche’s team to find creative ways around engineering challenges. The result is a downsized turbo engine with powerful energy recovery systems. Systems that I’m sure will eventually see the light of day in Porsche’s road going fleet.
Wolfgang Hatz, Member of the Executive Board, Research and Development, underlined this: “Porsche sets bench marks in the WEC. The two-litre V4-cylinder turbo charged petrol engine with a performance of over 500 hp is the most efficient combustion engine we have built so far. We are the only ones able to generate eight megajoule of electrical energy per lap in Le Mans from our two energy recovery systems. It is easy to detect that the challenge provided by the sport pushes our engineers to extreme performances.”
I’m excited to see what Porsche can do as they push the technology envelope and look forward to their 18th win. Go Porsche!