Porsche Reveals 2017 919 Hybrid
Porsche has revealed its 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) LMP1 challenger in Italy. The new prototype has a clear mission: to win the Le Mans 24-hours, as well as both Manufacturer and Driver titles for a third consecutive year.
For 2017 the 919 Hybrid boasts a number of new innovations in the areas of aerodynamics, chassis and its combustion engine. While the carbon-fibre monocoque has remained unchanged since 2016, for the 2017 season, 60 to 70 per cent of the vehicle is newly developed. Changes to the WEC’s technical regulations for the 2017 season, designed to reduce downforce, will affect the 919’s aerodynamics. Two new aerodynamics packages (the maximum now allowed) will be utilised, one for high-speed tracks, the other with greater levels of downforce for twisty circuits.
Continuing to serve as acting technical director, Team Principal Andreas Seidl, said: “As a result of the aerodynamic losses we will incur due to the new regulations, we are expecting to see a three to four second increase in lap times at Le Mans. We will have to wait and see how well the various enhancements we have made will compensate for these losses.”
The hybrid drive system has been ‘optimised’ for efficiency and performance according to Porsche, but its essence remains largely unchanged. The rear axle of the 919 is driven by a two-litre V4 combustion engine, it delivers 500hp. Braking and exhaust energy recovery systems feed a lithium-ion battery, it powers the electric motor supplying an additional 400hp to the 919’s front axle. The 919 will again start in the highest energy efficiency class, dictating the amount of recovered energy it can use per lap.
A number of new software changes have improved traction control and hybrid systems, both ensure the 2017 919 Hybrid is kinder on its tyres. LMP1 teams will have three sets of tyres fewer available to them for each race weekend and car in 2017. Seidl commented: “Working together with our partner Michelin, we have prepared intensively so that we are able to keep up the pace right through to the end of the race, even when we’re driving in double stints.”
Prologue, the WEC’s annual season opening test is taking place this weekend, it provides 14 hours within which teams can assess their new contenders across two days, including night running. Driving Porsche’s No1 car will be Neel Jani, André Lotterer and Nick Tandy, the No2 sister car will be shared by Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley. The first race of the 2017 WEC season is the 6 Hours Of Silverstone, which takes place on 16th April 2017.