In most motorsports, the engineer’s cruelest foe is not the foundations of physics or the driving force’s incapacity to wring each crumb of energy from their automobile. It is the foundations. Guidelines laid down by overbearing governing our bodies, imposing limits on weight, dimensions, energy output, tire selections, aerodynamics, braking, and no matter else they will suppose to manage. Normally the purpose is to maintain the drivers protected or make racing extra entertaining with evenly matched machines, however that does not imply the engineers prefer it.
So when Porsche gave its individuals the possibility to interrupt free and present what their machines can do, they overdelivered. They began with the 919 Hybrid, the automobile Porsche used to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans the previous three years. Then they did every part that would make the automobile quicker, the issues that may break the foundations for the remainder of the time. They name the outcome the 919 Evo.
After which they took it to Belgium’s Spa Francorchamps, the legendary System 1 monitor that is dwelling to what could also be the hardest nook in motorsports. The Evo lapped the course in 1:41.77 minutes, 12 seconds quicker than the race-legal 919. In a sport measured by the millisecond, that is a stupendous enchancment. It even beat the all-time monitor file, set by System 1 champion Lewis Hamilton, by zero.783 seconds.
“The 919 Evo is brutally spectacular,” says Neel Jani, the driving force who lapped Spa. “It’s undoubtedly the quickest automobile I ever drove, the grip stage is at a completely new dimension for me, I couldn’t think about this quantity beforehand.”
Seems, if you get to disregard the foundations that govern the World Endurance Championship (which incorporates Le Mans), there’s so much you are able to do to go quicker. Porsche’s engineers lower the burden of the carbon fiber and aluminum automobile by 86 kilos, to 1872 kilos, by dropping ineffective frills just like the windshield wipers, lights, air conditioner, digital race controls, and the pneumatic jack. Additionally they tweaked the outside aerodynamics, producing 53 p.c extra downforce, the all-important stuff that retains the automobile caught to the pavement when it is clocking jumbo jet takeoff speeds. They upgraded the suspension and tires to take care of the additional hundreds.
The Evo carries the identical two-liter, turbocharged V4 engine because the Le Mans-winning automobile, minus the gas move meter that limits how a lot gasoline goes kaboom. Mixed with a software program tweak, that upped its output from 500 horsepower to 720 horsepower. The automobile makes use of two vitality restoration techniques, producing electrical energy from braking and the exhaust. That’s saved in a liquid-cooled lithium ion battery, after which used to drive an electrical motor on the entrance axle whereas the engine drives the rear, for optimum all-wheel-drive acceleration. With out imposed limits, that motor now provides one other 440 horsepower (as a lot as the overall energy of a BMW M3), up 10 p.c.
This file setting lap is a part of a farewell tour for the Le Mans profitable automobile. Porsche is pulling out of the World Endurance Championship so it will probably concentrate on all-electric System E racing. Subsequent cease for the 919 Evo is what Porsche is looking a “demo lap” on the legendary Nurburgring in Germany. Porsche beforehand set a race automobile file there in 1983 with its 956, which nonetheless stands. Then it’s on to the Goodwood Pageant of Velocity, and the Pageant of Porsche at Manufacturers Hatch, within the UK, earlier than coming to California’s Laguna Seca in California.
Like so many retired people, the 919 is lastly able to ignore the foundations and have some enjoyable, on its phrases.