There will be few who would argue that much of Porsche’s history has been shaped by motorsport. From the very early race cars, some constructed by privateer teams (in the 1950s), to the very latest versions, all have contributed in some way or form to the fabric of the company. In some instances, Porsche’s road cars have contributed to the development of their race cars, but in an even bigger way, their racing exploits have transferred technology back to the roadgoing models. Legendary – The history of the Porsche 919 Hybrid, is the story from concept to world championship winning race car, of how in four short, furiously competitive seasons this prototype racer wrote a new chapter in Porsche’s illustrious motorsport history.
Back in mid-2011, the announcement was made that Porsche would be returning to the top category of the World Endurance Championship (WEC). The motorsport media world was set buzzing, as every journalist involved in the sport felt a quickening of their pulse at the announcement. The name of Porsche is synonymous with winning, ultimate performance, and the writing of records, and this new era was not going to be any different. Speculation was rife as to what drive platform the new Porsche would adopt, and of course every journalist asked the questions, but the lips of those connected with the project were tightly sealed.
Only in September 2012 did the LMP1 team have a home in Weissach, and with the car due to enter competition in 2014, it didn’t leave a lot of time for the development of a technically advanced, high performance and endurance ready race car to materialise. The highly-experienced Fritz Enzinger was to lead the project, but not only did he have the development of this new race car to oversee, he had to build a world class team around him, to help in this task. The aim was to win the WEC LMP1 class, no less, but then Porsche has over the years excelled at achieving the almost impossible, and this project would be no different.
Of course, through 2012 and 2013, Porsche, being understandably tight-lipped, kept feeding teasers and little titbits of information to the media, but it was still frustratingly insufficient for the journalists to get their teeth into.
The author of Legendary – The history of the Porsche 919 Hybrid, Heike Hientzsch, was a key member of the Porsche LMP1 PR team and its activities at the races. Working with the team right from the outset, Hientzsch had access to all the players in the project including engineers, mechanics and drivers, as well as the cars. She was, in a nutshell, ideally placed. The result of this task is what we have before us today, Legendary – The history of the Porsche 919 Hybrid, a two-volume set published by the well-known publishing house Delius Klasing in Germany.
In Volume 1, the author covers the project from the date of approval by the Porsche Board to the year following its third WEC title in 2017. The book also includes when the 919 Hybrid was taken on a world tour in 2018 to say thank you to the fans who supported and acknowledged Porsche’s achievements. This volume is all words, no photos, and covers the process from drawing board to race track, through three world titles, and the record laps in its Evo extreme configuration. The book ends with a table of specifications of the 919 Hybrid, which during its competitive life, could never be made public. Volume 1 is 155 x 230 mm tall, which makes it easy to hold and read.
Volume 2 is all photos, with the words limited to just the captions. The photos, many taken by Porsche photographer, Jürgen Tap, are truly fantastic. Just like the author, snapper Tap had unlimited access to the team in the pit garage, at testing and practice, and at all race tracks. A lot of time and effort has obviously been put into the selection and presentation of the images which has resulted in an admirable second volume. This book is 247 x 308 mm tall, allowing the images to be presented in the best possible way.
While this is the first in-depth publication covering the 919 Hybrid to emerge, one must question the two different size volumes, which are bound together with a thick, embossed rubber band. It is Porsche enthusiasts who are going to buy this two-volume set, to be placed on their bookshelf along with all their other Porsche books, but the two different size books held together with a thick rubber band is a somewhat awkward combination to accommodate. It may look interesting and creative, but in reality, the two different size books are a bit clumsy from a practical point of view.
With that issue aside, this is a fine two-volume set and an absolute necessity for all Porsche motorsport enthusiasts. At just €68.00 for the two books, this is also a very reasonable price for what is a well-written book set. Make sure you get your copy asap, you won’t be sorry to have this in-depth publication in your library.
Vol.1 – 155 x 230 mm tall; Vol.2 – 247 x 308 mm tall
€68.00 (Vol.1 & Vol.2 bundle – English)
Written by: Glen Smale
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