Porsche is going to race the 919 Hybrid for the first time on home soil. From August 28 to 30 the fourth of eight rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship will be held at the Nürburgring. The six-hour race in the Eifel mountains is the first ever appearance in Germany for the WEC which has run since 2012. In the field of 31 cars, Porsche is entering two of its Porsche 919 Hybrids in the top category LMP1 (class one Le Mans Prototypes). The racing research laboratory for future sports car technology is powered by a downsizing two-litre V4-cylinder turbo charged petrol engine and an electric engine which is fed by two energy recovery systems (brake energy from the front axle and exhaust energy). This unique and ground-braking power train temporarily turns the 919 into a four-wheel drive car with around 1,000 hp system performance.
After two six-hour races, at Silverstone (GB) and Spa (BE), the Porsche 919 Hybrid went on to win the Le Mans 24 Hours on June 14th. It was the 17th overall victory for Porsche at this endurance classic; no other brand has such a tally. For the winning drivers – Earl Bamber (NZ), Nico Hülkenberg (DE) and Nick Tandy (GB) – Le Mans was the last race in a 919 at least for this season because Porsche doesn’t enter a third prototype in the remaining rounds of the World Championship. Nevertheless the original winners’ car will be at the Nürburgring, exhibited at the “Ring Boulevard”, and the drivers will be around too. Earl Bamber (Porsche 911 RSR, class GTE Am) and Nick Tandy (Oreca 05, LMP2) race in the WEC while Nico Hülkenberg will be visiting the team.
On the race track Porsche retains its permanent driver line-up. The number 17 car will be shared by Timo Bernhard (DE), Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Mark Webber (AUS). These three drivers came second at Le Mans to secure a one-two victory for Porsche. The number 18 sister car will be in the hands of the trio which won the first race ever with the 919 at the 2014 season finale in Brazil: Romain Dumas (FR), Neel Jani (CH) and Marc Lieb (DE), pole setters at Le Mans this year.
“We have high expectations for the rest of the season and the target has clearly moved to the World Championship. We had a successful test at the Nürburgring and the boys and girls in Weissach have been working hard on updates for the race. I personally love the Nürburgring track and considering Mark won there convincingly in F1, and Timo has fond memories of winning the 24-Hours at the Nordschleife five times, I think it’s fair to say we are excited and confident about racing there. I’m also sure we will see many Porsche fans turn up to see us compete on home soil.”
In addition to the Porsche 919 Hybrid’s two race wins (Interlagos 2014, Le Mans 2015) the car has scored nine further podiums – four second and five third place finishes. The car has entered eleven races in total since the beginning of the 2014 season and started from pole position seven times. In 2015 so far, a 919 took pole in every race. At Le Mans the Porsche team even locked the grid with a one-two-three. After three out of eight rounds, and with the double points for the one-two victory in Le Mans, Porsche leads the manufacturers’ World Championship, 140 points ahead of Audi (124) followed by Toyota (71). In the drivers’ standings Dumas/Jani/Lieb are in fourth place, followed by Bernhard/Hartley/Webber in fifth.
After the three 919s at Le Mans appeared in three different colours, the two race cars are now white again. This is not the only visible change: around 80 per cent of the bodywork is new. An aerodynamic package for high downforce has replaced the Le Mans low downforce configuration.