Porsche has announced the entry of a third Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 race car for the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours in France on 13/14 June. As a dress rehearsal for the event, the car will also be entered in the Six Hours World Endurance Championship (WEC) race at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit (Belgium) on 2 May.
The Porsche Hybrid employs a 2.0 liter V4 engine, featuring direct fuel injection and turbocharging technology. The engine is coupled to a lithium ion battery pack, fed by two energy recuperation systems that produce a combined 250 horsepower. Approximately 500 horsepower is delivered to the sequential, hydraulically activated 7-speed racing transmission, at a maximum rev of 9,000 rpm.
There is no final decision yet about the driver line-up for this third car. For the two Porsche 919 Hybrid race cars already confirmed to contest the entire 2015 WEC season, the current factory Works LMP1 drivers Timo Bernhard (Germany), Romain Dumas (France), Brendon Hartley (New Zealand), Neel Jani (Switzerland), Marc Lieb (Germany) and Mark Webber (Australia) will all continue.
The 919 has its work cut out for it, especially considering the competition. Toyota broke Audi’s two year WEC win streak this year, though failed to take home a win at LeMans. We also have word that Nissan will be competing in the LMP1 class for next year, bringing the total number of manufacturers on the grid in LMP1 to four.
Wolfgang Hatz, Member of the Board, Research and Development, Porsche AG, said:
“In 2014 we have been competitive immediately with the most complex and innovative race car Porsche has built so far. To date we have achieved five podium places, three pole positions and two record laps, in Shanghai and Bahrain. These are outstanding results. But this LMP1 programme doesn’t just produce success on race tracks, but also on the engineering side. The target is the highest performance with maximised efficiency in ever growing dimensions. This is why we will take on the challenge with three Porsche 919 Hybrids in 2015.”
For Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Board Porsche AG, this decision also expresses a strong commitment to the FIA World Endurance Championship:
“Our decision to compete with a Porsche works team in the WEC LMP1 category proved to be the right one. This is what we feel at every race. The highly demanding motorsport programme contributes directly to the development of future sports cars for the road. For the development and testing of future hybrid systems, you can’t ask for any harder test bench than the World Endurance Championship and especially the Le Mans 24 Hours. The same goes for the newly-established Porsche LMP1 crew. More than 230 people had to grow together quickly to form a strong team. The human factor is not only crucial for the men at the steering wheel, but for the entire project – and this reflects very much the Porsche philosophy.”