Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo
The Porsche 919 Hybrid Tribute is touring the world. The prototype race car isn’t just going around the world for show, but it is mixing business with pleasure. The 919 has already set a few records and there may be more to come in the future.
Most of the time a Formula 1 car is the fastest thing on the track. But Porsche had other ideas with the 919. The first record they shot for was to prove that their prototype is faster than an F1 race car.
The Porsche 919 Hybrid lapped Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps circuit faster than Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes-AMG Formula One car did last year. That is the same year that Hamilton won the F1 championship. The 919 lapped Spa in just 1:41.770 versus 1:42.553 for Hamilton when he won the pole position in 2017. That’s 0.783 seconds faster than the open-wheeled machine.
But Porsche was just getting started. The next thing they looked at was beating the lap record at the famed Nürburgring. That record had stood for just over 35 years.
Beating a record that had not been bested for so long is not an easy task. To prepare Porsche spent some time at the “Green Hell” to prepare for their record beating run. Since conditions were not ideal when they prepared in early June, they took that data and used it when they made their lap record run later in the month.
The lap time to beat was 6:11.13 minutes. The record was set in a Porsche 956 C with the late Stefan Bellof setting that record. Bellof sadly passed away at Spa-Francorchamps in 1985. His legacy as one of the great racing talents has stood the test of time with the Nürburgring record being set on May 28th, 1983.
The Porsche 956 C used a turbocharged flat-six engine similar to that used in the Porsche 936/81. The 956 C produced 620 horsepower and with a car that weighs just 1,764 lbs., each horsepower needed to move just 2.85 lbs.
To top a record that has stood so long, you need quite a machine and a talented driver. Porsche has both with driver, Timo Bernhard, and the 919 Hybrid Evo. Bernhard has been the overall winner of the Nürburgring 24 Hours five times and the 24 Hours of Le Mans two times. Needless to say, he knows a thing or two about driving fast.
The Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that outputs 720 horsepower. The LMP1 version of the 919 only produced 500 horsepower, but because Porsche didn’t need to meet any governing body’s requirements, they could remove the fuel meter required by the WEC. With this removed and a software updated it bumped the power up a good amount. The Evo runs E20 race fuel, with 20 percent of the fuel containing bio ethanol.
There was a time when 720 horses would be an incredible figure by itself, but the 919 also uses a hybrid system. The electric recovery system for competition in WEC was limited, but the restriction was removed for the 919 Hybrid Evo. This allows the hybrid system to offer 440 horsepower versus 400 horses for the 919 LMP1 car.
When the gas powered engine combines with the electric motor, the result is 1,160 horsepower. That’s quite a bit of power and the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo only weighs 1,867 lbs. That’s about the same weight as an early Lotus Elise. As a result each horsepower needs only move 1.61 lbs.
Thanks to this, Porsche managed a record breaking lap with the 919 Hybrid averaging a speed of 145.3 mph. At one point it hit a top speed of 229.5 mph (369.4 km/h). Now when you beat a record that has stood for just over 35 years, you don’t expect to shatter it. You figure you’ll likely do just a few seconds faster.
That wasn’t the case with the Porsche 919. It obliterated the old record. Where it had taken the 956 C a time of 6:11.13 minutes, the 919 Hybrid did it in just 5:19.55 minutes. That’s nearly a full minute faster around the famed track. To further put that in perspective, when the Porsche 918 Spyder set the production car lap record at the Nürburgring, it took it 6:57. And most would say the 918 is pretty fast.
Porsche released footage of the 919’s record lap and it is moving so fast at times that it looks as if they used film editing software to speed it up. It’s just amazing to watch. Beyond this, Porsche thinks that they may be able to do even better and are planning to take the 919 Evo back to the Nürburgring to attempt and set an even faster time. If they can do that it is just mind blowing.
After managing such a run Bernhard said: “This is a great moment for me and for the entire team – the 919 program’s icing on the cake. The Evo was perfectly prepared and I have done my best on this lap. Thanks to the aerodynamic downforce, at sections I never imagined you can stay on full throttle. I’m pretty familiar with the Nordschleife. But today I got to learn it in a new way”.
Managing incredible lap times is just part of the world tour. The 919 Hybrid Evo finishes its tour at the below locations.
- July 6 and 7: VW Fun Cup Spa-Francorchamps
- July 12-15: Goodwood Festival of Speed
- September 2: Festival of Porsche Brands Hatch
- September 26-29: Porsche Rennsport Reunion Laguna Seca
The below video talks a bit about the record, but also shows the entire lap of the Nürburgring run. If you want to skip the brief history portion skip to the time of 2:41. After checking out the lap scroll down to the comments and let us know what you think of how fast it looks.