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Audi and Toyota beware: Porsche’s 919 Hybrid is back for another racing season

Porsche made its much-anticipated return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year with its 919 Hybrid, but actually winning an overall victory at the storied race will take a longer-term commitment.

So Porsche is returning to Le Mans and the full FIA World Endurance Championship for round two with an updated version of the 919.

The car has already turned a few laps on Porsche’s own Weissach test track, and will begin full testing at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi this week.

Porsche isn’t divulging details of the changes made to the 919 Hybrid, which looks largely the same as it did during the 2014 season.

For 2015, it will retain the same hybrid powertain used last year, consisting of a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline V4 powering the rear wheels and an electric motor powering the front wheels.

Electrical energy can be recovered either through braking or a turbine spun by exhaust gases.

Porsche has more overall Le Mans wins to its credit than any other carmaker, but last year mechanical issues dogged the team. One entry broke down after nearly catching the lead Audi R18 e-tron quattro, while the second finished 11th overall after spending significant time in the pits.

That meant Audi continued its streak of dominance at Le Mans with another win. Toyota ultimately took the overall World Endurance Championship manufacturer’s title.

Even for a motorsports icon like Porsche, starting from scratch with a new racing program isn’t easy.

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