After retiring from the top tier of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) last year, Porsche have released their LMP1 car of any regulations and made it faster than an F1 car. Now, that’s how to have ‘one last hoorah’.
They’ve named it the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo and it’s basically a version of their Le Mans winning Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 (Le Mans Prototype 1) that has been relieved of anything that WEC regulations required it to have. Rather spectacularly, the result is an LMP1 car that has lapped Spa-Francorchamps 0.783 seconds faster than the lap record that Lewis Hamilton set in his Mercedes F1 W07 Hybrid last year.
Powering the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo is the same powertrain and hardware as the WEC-competing Porsche 919 Hybrid – meaning a two-litre turbocharged V4 combustion engine and two energy recovery systems.
Unlike the car that competed in the World Endurance Championship however, 919 Hybrid Evo has been freed of the WEC-mandated fuel flow limiter and features updated software. The result is that power from the combustion engine has been increased from 500hp to 720hp and the energy recovery system from 400hp to 440hp.
Along with all the additional power, Porsche have also changed various aerodynamic elements, adding a larger front diffuser and bigger rear wing that both benefit from Formula One style actively controlled drag reduction systems.
Porsche say that (compared to the 2017 919 Hybrid that qualified at Spa-Francorchamps) they have increased downforce by 53 per cent and increased aerodynamic efficiency by 66 per cent; subsequently making a racing car with more downforce than a modern Formula One car.
The final pieces of the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo puzzle were to reduce the car’s weight through the removal of anything that wasn’t needed for the lap record attempt (windscreen wipers, electronic devices from race control, lights) and to employ a brand new tyre from Porsche’s multi-year partner, Michelin.
With Porsche works driver Neel Jani at the wheel, the 919 Hybrid Evo completed a lap of 1m 41.770s – 0.783 seconds faster than Mercedes-Petronas’ Formula One car and some 12 seconds faster than the 2017 qualifying lap of the Porsche 919 Hybrid. During the lap, Jani was able to average 153mph and reached 223mph on the Kemmel Straight.
Having taken the lap record at Spa, the 919 Hybrid Evo will now continue the ‘Porsche 919 Tribute Tour’ by completing a demo lap at the Nordschleife on 12th May, the Goodwood Festival of Speed (12th July – 15th July), the Festival of Porsche in Brands Hatch (2nd September) and finally the illustrious Porsche Rennsport Reunion in Laguna Seca (26th September – 29th September).