Porsche AG has announced their driver line-up for 2014’s Sports Car World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the Le Mans Prototypes 1 (LMP1) category hybrid racing car.
Le Mans has always been the stand out race in the series, often regarded as one of the highest prestige motoring events of the year. Gordon Murray, the famous designer of the McLaren F1 sueprcar, once said that Le Mans was like competing an entire season of Formula One in just 24 hours.
New Zealander Brendon Hartley (24) and long-standing Porsche works driver Marc Lieb (33) from Germany have been confirmed as regular drivers in the LMP1 race car, now officially titled the Porsche 919 hybrid.
Already signed on for the LMP1 project are drivers Timo Bernhard (DE, 32), Romain Dumas (FR, 36), Neel Jani (CH, 30) and the Australian Mark Webber (37) who was recently seen test driving the new car, pictured below.
The WEC regulations stipulate that manufacturers run hybrid vehicles in the top class for (LMP1). In developing the all-new LMP1 race car featuring a very efficient, high-performance hybrid drive, Porsche engineers face major challenges that can only be solved using innovative solutions. Therefore, the race car features a hybrid system that consists of a four-cylinder petrol engine with direct injection and two energy recuperation systems. The recovered energy is stored in a battery until retrieved by the driver. A powerful electric motor then provides additional drive to the front axle. However, the WEC rules limit the amount of fuel as well as the electrical energy, or so-called boost, available to the driver per lap. The development of such a highly-efficient drive will have positive influences on the development of production sports cars at Porsche.
Wolfgang Hatz, Board Member for Research and Development at Porsche AG, stated:
“We are very proud of our strong international driver line-up. Three of the six drivers come from our own Porsche driver squad, two were even Porsche juniors. This is something we are particularly proud of. The vehicle name 919 hybrid follows on from the tradition of the Le Mans-winning 917, but it is also with a view to the 918 Spyder, and acknowledges the company’s embarkation into the hybrid future. With hybrid sports cars like the Cayenne as a SUV, the Grand Touring Panamera, and the 918 Spyder three-liter super sportscar, we are on the right track. But to continue leading the way in the future and to merge sportiness with sustainability, we need to keep learning. Maximum efficiency in energy consumption is the directive of the new WEC regulations for the works-entered class 1 prototypes – and that is also the direction for the automobile future.”
Fritz Enzinger, Head of LMP1, explained:
“We had a substantial number of applicants from all classes for the two 919 hybrids. We were looking for experience, sheer speed, technical understanding, and we wanted team players because this is more important in endurance racing than in any discipline.”
Porsche has now concluded the 2013 development programme with its new LMP1 race car by completing the year’s final series of test laps at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve near Portimão, Portugal with Marc Weber. Testing will resume in early 2014
Source; Porsche AG