Porsche has revealed images for the first time of the powertrain from its World Endurance Championship racecar, the 919 Hybrid. First introduced in 2014, the package won the overall drivers’ and manufacturers’ WEC titles and took a one-two at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2015.
The turbocharged four-cylinder combustion engine with exhaust energy recovery system powering the rear wheels was mated up with an electric motor using the latest Li-ion battery technology to power the front wheels.
The German OEM says that the engine is the most efficient it makes, which means that it was able to transfer knowledge from its racing activities when putting together the new flat-four engine in its 718 Boxster road car, taking inspiration from the 919 Hybrid ICE’s interspace between the cylinders, short stroke and central direct fuel injection.
The compact four-cylinder turbocharged idea was also key. Alexander Hitzinger, the technical director responsible for the 919, said, “Right from the beginning we had a brave concept, but it was also the right concept. This is paying off now.”
As with every Porsche, the 919 Hybrid is being developed in Weissach at Porsche’s research and development center. Especially when it comes to the powertrain, Hitzinger’s crew works very closely with the engineers from production cars: “They support us significantly in the in the areas of combustion development and fuel-mixture generation.”
The one element of the 919 Hybrid powertrain that isn’t similar to Porsche’s road cars is the V angle on the cylinders its 90-degree layout is a far cry from the 718 Boxster’s 180 degrees.
Porsche says that the WEC gives engineers a great degree of freedom in terms of the hybrid drive concepts that may be employed. The teams can choose between diesel and petrol engines, naturally aspirated or turbocharged engines, various displacements, and one or two energy recovery systems.
This setup puts the focus on innovations that will have a huge impact on future production sports cars and this was the main reason why Porsche says it decided to return to the world of top level motor racing.
Fritz Enzinger, head of LMP1 activities at Porsche, said, “Independently from our sporting targets, our most important task is to gather know-how for Porsche for future technologies. The WEC’s unique efficiency regulations, with the huge technical freedom, is the right platform for the company to develop and test innovations for road going sports cars.”
With the 2016 season about to begin, the company will no doubt be hoping to keep momentum from its recent run of success.
February 24, 2016