From their first Le Mans win in 1970 to their 16 win domination until 1998, Porsche's name has long been synonymous in the world of endurance racing; the team competing in legendary cars such as the Porsche 917, 956 and 962C.
It was after another overall Le Mans win in 1998 that Porsche decided to focus their efforts elsewhere and not chase another LMP1 win at Le Mans; that was until 2014, however, when they returned to the sport with the insatiable Porsche 919 Hybrid.
Unfortunately, despite a great endurance season, neither of the 919's managed to finish the Le Mans 24 hour after experiencing unknown engine issues with just an hour and a half to go. Revitalised and as determined as ever, Porsche have just released the latest version of their glorious Porsche 919 Hybrid and it's ready for battle in the 2015 season.
This pioneering new version is an evolutionary leap forward for the Porsche 919 and presents us with the most complex and technical racing car that Porsche have ever created. Powering the 919 is the same drivetrain concept as the original, meaning that it still features a turbocharged 2-litre V4 petrol engine and an electric motor which powers the front wheels; once again there are two energy recovery systems feeding the electric motor throughout every gruelling race.
Innovation comes, however, in when the recovery systems are able to work to charge the battery. Previously, energy was fed back to the battery only when braking but now, thanks to an innovative new system, the 919 can even charge the battery whilst accelerating. When hearing about new WEC rules that govern the amount of energy consumed per lap, Porsche's engineers leapt into action to create a pioneering new exhaust gas recovery system that could moderate exhaust emissions whilst also feeding energy back to the cars battery allowing energy recovery to take place throughout acceleration.
Hopefully piloting the 919 to success, the new season will see a driving team that consists of Timo Bernhard (Germany), Romain Dumas (France), Brendon Hartley (New Zealand), Neel Jani (Switzerland), Marc Lieb (Germany) and Mark Webber (Australia). This exceedingly strong team, which has been retained from the 2014 season, will be looking to continue on from last year's five podiums, three pole positions and one win with an even stronger season and even more first place finishes.
This thirst to once again achieve LMP1 domination can also been seen through the addition of a third Porsche 919 at Le Mans. This third car is to be piloted by Formula One ace Nico Hulkenburg; making him the first active Formula One driver to compete in the ominous endurance event. Commenting on his decision to race at Le Mans Nico simply stated:
“Porsche and Le Mans – this combination probably attracts every race driver"
The new Porsche 919 Hybrid has already undergone extensive testing, throughout January, on Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina circuit but is now in the process of facing several performance and endurance tests before the season begins at Silverstone on April 12th. 2014 season teething problems gone, Porsche will be looking for a strong performance as they celebrate their second season after a 16 year break.