Porsche finally took the wraps off its 919 Hybrid Le Mans Prototype race car at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show.
The 919 will mark Porsche’s return to top-tier endurance racing when it hits the track for the 2014 World Endurance Championship season.
Camouflaged prototypes have been seen testing, but now that the camouflaged has been removed … it looks like Porsche should have left it on. Much of the design was dictated by racing regulations, not to mention aerodynamics.
The 919 won’t go down in history as the prettiest race car ever, but luckily race cars don’t need to be pretty.
As its name implies, the 919 has a hybrid powertrain. Internal-combustion motivation comes from a 2.0-liter gasoline V-4, which produces around 500 horsepower, and is teamed with two energy-recovery systems.
An electric motor mounted on the front axle can recover energy during braking and store it in a lithium-ion battery pack. It can also drive the front wheels in certain situations, giving the car temporary all-wheel drive.
In addition, the 919 has a thermal energy-recovery system, which uses an electric generator powered by exhaust gases to send additional power to the battery pack.
After a 16-year absence, Porsche is looking to rack up some victories in top-level endurance racing, including an overall victory at Le Mans. To do that, it will have to beat the hybrids from corporate sibling Audi and Toyota.
Porsche will field two cars for the 2014 World Endurance Championship season. The number 20 car will be piloted by ex-Formula One drive Mark Webber, along with Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley. The 14 car will be driven by Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, and Marc Lieb.