Porsche is extremely eager to show how fast and reliable its 2015 919 Hybrid is in the marquee endurance race of the year: LeMans.
Just 18 days from now, a trio of Porsche 919s will battle a mad pack of Audi R19 racecars, the secretive 2015 Toyota LMP1 update, and an all-new contender: the Nissan GT-R LM Nismo. This front-drive Nissan is a real wildcard in the tech blueprint adopted by the other big three: rear-mid-engine with electric front-axle AWD.
The Porsche 919 Hybrid looks extremely similar to last year’s car, but features dramatic updates under the skin. The core 400+ HP of the turbo V4 engine is maintained – despite the 2014 919’s experiencing significant engine blowouts that may have cost them the race.
Why a V4? Packaging, primarily. Keeping the engine compartment tiny with a highly centralized mass is believed to improve the 919’s dynamics. Think of it as the next level of weight distribution: not just front/rear, and not just left/right sides of the car. This is about the weight’s polarity and effect on the moving mass. Porsche believes that keeping the mass narrow as well as low is the optimal solution.
Weight is claimed to be down versus last year, while strength is up for core components (that they declined to identify….)
But what about some big changes outside to announce the new 919’s arrival!?
Just white 919s in LeMans so far, so the introduction of red and black racers is fairly big news. Porsche notes an homage to the 917K in its bright red livery, but there are practical reasons for multiple colors for the racers. The first is simple race management simplicity.
As confused as spectators can be seeing the same racecar color/shape/sound pass by multiple times per lap — the pit crews can face some confusion as well. In the heat of an all-night battle, simplifying the cars should improve race monitoring from the banks of supercomputers in the Porsche compound.
Second theory on the red and black cars? These new paintjobs may be disguising special aero experiments.
We are always rooting for Porsche over Audi, but also strongly hope the Japanese brands can trump the smug Germans at the world’s greatest motor race.
2014 919 Hybrid vs 2015 Porsche 919 Hybrid
But will they win? That is all up for grabs until the final hour of the race. The 2014 919’s delivered scorching laptimes before mechanical trouble in the engine bays gave Audi and Toyota better final standings. Will Porsche engines explode out again this year?
Get ready for LeMans and the full FIA WEC race season to find out!
The new 919 in bright 917K red will be unmissable!
Please find the 919 in a few digitally-rendered colors directly below, plus the real 2015 model from 55 angles down toward the bottom of this page.
2015 Porsche 919 Hybrid