Naturally racecars are about maximum performance, neck-snapping acceleration, organ-bruising lateral grip and of course enough stopping power to rip the skin off your forehead. The Porsche 919 Hybrid is one such machine, but that’s not all.
Racecars are also about the future. Automakers use them to test and prove advanced technologies that eventually find their way onto street-going vehicles that you and I can actually drive.
The 919 features an innovative hybrid drivetrain. The heart of the propulsion system is a four-cylinder gasoline engine with an unusual V-configuration. Among many other fancy features it brandishes a turbocharger and direct fuel injection for maximum power, though it is built to rev. She’ll spin to 9,000 RPM and put out around 500 ponies.
Showing a clear connection between the racetrack and road, Porsche’s hot new 918 Spyder features a hybrid powertrain, which proves the company’s motorsports experience, can pay off in the real world.
Helping improve its efficiency this car features two different energy recovery systems. Now, arguably most interesting of them takes heat from the car’s exhaust and converts it into electricity, which of course is used to charge the hybrid system’s batteries, or more specifically liquid-cooled lithium-ion batteries.
The second energy-recovery technology is a motor mounted at the car’s front axle. It can take kinetic energy and convert it into electricity; it’s just like regenerative braking in a Toyota Prius for instance. Then, when the driver needs a burst of acceleration, that motor can power the 919’s front wheels giving it temporary all-wheel drive and a lot more giddy up. This system is the result of some very clever engineering.
Audi has DOMINATED endurance racing for a decade or better and understandably this is unacceptable to Porsche, even if they are corporate cousins. The 919 Hybrid gives them a tremendous leg up in battling the four-ring brand as well as the likes of Toyota in various series like the World Endurance Championship and 24 Hours of Le Mans. If this car is a as fast and fuel efficient as it is good looking then Porsche should do pretty well.
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GALLERY: Porsche 919 Hybrid Racecar
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