Porsche 919-15 hybrid

2015 Le Mans 24h winner
2015 FIA World Endurance Manufacturers' Championship winner
2015 FIA World Endurance Drivers' Championship winner

Premiere: March 26, 2015 Circuit Paul Ricard, France

2015 Le Mans winner: white 919 hybrid #19 © Porsche
Internal combustion engine: 2.0V4 turbo *390 kW/530 PS (officially "well above 500 hp")
Electric motor: *309 kW/420 PS (officially "over 400 hp")
Peak system power: *699 kW/950 PS (officially "nearly 1000 hp")
Gearbox: 7-speed sequential, hydraulically operated
Wheels and tyres: 14x18 BBS forged magnesium wheels with 310/710-18 Michelin tyres front and rear
Dimensions: 4650 x 1900 x 1050 mm
Weight without fuel: 870 kg / 1918 lb by the regulations
Fuel tank: 68.5 L
* estimation by Stuttcars.com, no official data available

While the three versions of the 2014 Porsche 919 looked cool, the 2015 version looked even better after the nose job. The first decisions regarding the 919 Evo (919-15) had to be made even before the 919-14 had entered its first race. Back in April 2014, a small group of specialists got together to define the most important parameters for the second-generation monocoque and chassis. The 2014 model was refined in detail after the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, but by that time the 2015 car had become the top priority.

The 2015 model had its first roll-out on December 15, 2014 at the Weissach test track in the hands of Marc Lieb. The air temperature was 0ºC/32ºF. Due to the winter weather in Germany, extensive testing was done on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit in January 2015. The internal combustion engine didn't receive any power increase, but the front axle electric motor got 295 kW for the 2015 season (185 kW in 2014).

2-litre 90-degree V4 © Porsche
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The monocoque was a carbon-fibre sandwich construction that was completely redesigned for the 2015 919 hybrid. For the 919-15 it was manufactured as a single unit, rather than in two sections. Its weight was reduced. A new structure for the chassis in general and the rear-body in particular also helped to increase rigidity and reduce weight. An important development goal with the all-new chassis was to improve handling, particularly in terms of counteracting understeering in corners. The most noticeable changes to the carbon-fibre skin of the Porsche 919 Hybrid involved the new front end and the leaner engine cover in the rear. Changes to the wheel design were necessitated by the regulations. In order to limit aerodynamic benefits, 50% of the wheel surface had to be open now.

There were four formulas with electric boost levels ranging from 2 to 8 mega joules (MJ) per one lap of Le Mans circuit. The more electricity you used, the less fuel you were allowed to use. The calculation formula was based on the 13629-metre Le Mans lap, and the calculation was adjusted accordingly for the other seven racing circuits. For example, if a team wanted to utilise 8 megajoules per lap, an FIA flowmeter device would limit the permitted amount of fuel per lap to 4.76 litres (this is equal to average fuel consumption of 34.9 L/100 km). By comparison, 5.07 litres of fuel could be used per lap in the 2-megajoule category (average allowed fuel consumption 37.2 L/100 km). Engineers also had to take into account the fact that the more powerful the energy recovery and storage systems were, the bigger and heavier they were. While the 919-14 was designed for the 8 MJ formula, it was finally homologated for the 6 MJ formula. The 919-15 was homologated for the 8 MJ formula making Porsche the pioneer. Relying more and more on electricity and less on fuel is the future.

Allowed fuel consumption versus used electric energy - values for Le Mans circuit

Electric energy used per lap  Petrol flow limited to  Diesel flow limited to
2 MJ
4 MJ
6 MJ
8 MJ
5.07 L/lap
4.94 L/lap
4.81 L/lap
4.76 L/lap
3.94 L/lap
3.84 L/lap
3.74 L/lap
3.65 L/lap

The electric motor temporarily transformed the 919 Hybrid into an all-wheel drive car with the system power of around 1000 hp. The kinetic energy produced at the front axle when braking was converted into electrical energy. The second energy recovery system was installed in the exhaust tract, where the exhaust-gas stream drives a turbine (in parallel with the Garrett turbocharger), that acted as a generator. The electricity produced was temporarily stored in lithium-ion battery cells.

The WEC regulations gave engineers plenty of freedom with regard to energy storage medium. Audi and Nissan used flywheel storage, Toyota used ultracaps (electrochemical supercapacitors) and Porsche used lithium-ion batteries. Porsche developers tried out all of these systems before making the decision.

2015 FIA WEC LMP1 rules

(From Porsche press materials, April 12, 2015)
Several changes were made to the regulations for the 2015 season, all of which Porsche supported.

The LMP1 qualifying session in the WEC has been shortened from 25 to 20 minutes. Two drivers will still participate in each session. However, the qualifying time will be calculated by adding each of their fastest laps together and then dividing the result by two. The rules for 2014 used the average of a total of four laps – the two fastest ones for each driver. In 2015, every driver can use a fresh set of tyres, which enables a true comparison of the results.

The number of engines that may be used per season has been limited to five. This is a cost-control measure, especially as it prevents the possible development of engines with a specific Le Mans specification.

An assumed average weight of 80 kilogrammes per driver has been introduced for the 2015 season. This continues to give lighter drivers a small advantage in their respective cars. But in general it helps favour the fastest drivers rather than just the lightest ones, and thus serves to counteract drivers’ attempts to gain an edge through extreme dieting.

New limitations have been placed on the test days in 2015. A team may only conduct totally private tests on a maximum of ten days. On another ten days, tests can be conducted “openly", provided the dates are announced 30 days in advance. On these days, other competing teams may also test their vehicles. The largest segment of test days – an additional 30 – must be planned well in advance and registered 90 days beforehand. Here, as well, the competition must be allowed to participate.

As part of the effort to control costs, the maximum number of team members working on-site has been limited to 65 for a two-car team for the races following Le Mans.

919-15 prototype can be told by the new and nicer nose© Porsche
Internal Porsche code for the 919 hybrid is 9R9© Porsche
2014 December 15: unpainted 2015 919 prototype on Weissach test track© Porsche
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The 2014 side air outlet design shows that parts from 919-14 have been used on this prototype © Porsche
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Note the two exhaust pipes (919-14 had one)© Porsche
2015 February: prototype testing at Bahrain International Circuit© Porsche
It is easy to tell the difference: wide nose 2014 919 (919-14) and narrow nose 2015 919 (919-15) © Porsche
917 918 919© Porsche
919-15© Porsche

It took more than 16.000 miles / 26.000 km of tests to create the 919-15 and it was first shown publicly on March 26, 2015 at the Circuit Paul Ricard in France.

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2015 March 26 photoshoot showing the Porsche LMP1 team© Porsche
The March 26, 2015 photoshoot shows the colors of the three Porsche 919 Le Mans cars for 2015 - just that only the white car is a 2015 model. For the untrained eye these cars might look similar, but are different. The one wrapped black is a prototype from 2013 and the one wrapped red is a prototype tested before the 2014 season.© Porsche

The LMP1 racing team led by Fritz Enzinger has more than 230 employees in Porsche research and development centre in Weissach. Well over a hundred of them are engineers who work for Technical Director Alexander Hitzinger. All operational issues are handled by the Team Director Andreas Seidl.

2015 Porsche LMP1 program management: Fritz Enzinger (Head of Porsche LMP1 program), Alexander Hitzinger (Technical Director LMP1), Andreas Seidl (Porsche Team Principal), Wolfgang Hatz (Porsche AG Board Member for Research & Development)© Porsche

2015 drivers

919 #17 (wrapped red for Le Mans)919 #18 (wrapped black for Le Mans)919 #19 (only Spa & Le Mans)
Timo Bernhard / Brendon Hartley / Mark Webber  Romain Dumas / Neel Jani / Marc Lieb  Nico Hülkenberg / Earl Bamber / Nick Tandy

The helmets sit on the Shock Doctor helmet bacteria cleaning devices© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche

2015 FIA WEC calendar

April 12Silverstone6 hours
May 2Spa-Francorchamps6 hours
June 13-14Le Mans24 hours
August 30Nürburgring6 hours
September 19  Circuit of the Americas  6 hours
October 11Fuji6 hours
November 1Shanghai6 hours
November 21Bahrain6 hours

Silverstone 6 hours 2015: 2nd place

After the April 10 free practise Mark Webber commented "It is the first time here with the energy management of the eight megajoule class. This takes a bit of love and massaging to get it right" and Romain Dumas said: "In braking and decelerating we have room for improvement". Still, Porsche 919-15 was very well designed and built and the qualification showed the Porsches were the fastest, #17 scored first and #18 second. During the first hour and twenty minutes the two Porsche 919 Hybrids were boasting a one-two. Mark Webber started from pole position and had opened up a good lead until a gearbox problem forced him to retire after 44 laps. 919 #18 of Dumas/Jani/Lieb took over the lead from their team mates. Tnen a real battle started between Porsche, Audi and Toyota. All three finished the race with 201 laps. Audi won, Porsche was second, just 4.6 seconds behind and Toyota third 10 seconds behind the Porsche. Podium cars to finish after 6 hours and almost 1200 km inside 15 seconds is a proof of the good work done by FIA with the rules for the cars and is a joy for the spectators.

Mark Webber had led the race from the start for over 250 km, but had to retire because of a drivetrain problem © Porsche
Number 18 was second in qualification and also in the race© Porsche

Spa-Francorchamps 6 hours 2015: 2nd place

This was the first race where three 919 hybrids were registered. At this race all 919 were white. The second and last race to be competed with all three 919, is Le Mans.

April 30 free practise: three 919-15 together on public event for the first time© Porsche
The third 919-15, the number 19, in wet practise© Porsche

In the qualification 919 took the first three places. In the WEC the average of the best laps of two drivers counts for the grid and Bernhard/Hartley achieved an average time of 1:54.767. This is a new record for LMP1 in Spa. Pole position is awarded with 1 championship point.

Timo Bernhard said after the qualification: "Personally I’d like to dedicate my lap to Stefan Bellof. This weekend I’m racing his well-known helmet design to remember this great racing driver.". Bellof died at the Spa Eau Rouge curve in 1985 driving a Porsche 956. Eau Rouge at Spa-Francorchamps is considered the most complicated high speed section of any race track. The 1985 crash video can be seen at YouTube© Porsche
© Porsche
The gang of good bad boys© Porsche
Webber handing over to Bernhard © Porsche

In the race the 919 #18 of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb came second, 13 seconds behind the winning Audi. Right after the start Lieb had improved from third on the grid to second and stayed there. In the meantime they were also leading the race. Second place for them is a repeat of the previous race in Silverstone.

The best 919-15, number 18, came second at 2015 Spa 6H like it did earlier at the Silverstone 6H © Porsche

The 919 #17 of Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber had started from pole position, but in the race Hartley had locked the brakes before the bus stop chicane and used the escape road to get back onto the track. He got 15 seconds stop-and-go penalty and later a rear damper change also took time. Car #17 finished third.

The 919 #19 with Earl Bamber, Nico Hülkenberg and Nick Tandy, that was being entered for the first time, started second, but immediately lost a position to 919 #18. A few laps after the start #19 had an accident. Nick Tandy tried to pass a works 911 RSR #91 in the corner from inside, but a contact happened as Kevin Estre kept his ideal driving line. Although the 919 drove straight to the tyre wall, it was able to limp back to pits for repairs.

© Eurosport
Nick Tandy 919 accident © Eurosport

The 919 #19 was repaired and finished sixth, 3 laps behind the winner (173 vs 176 laps).

Before Le Mans 2015

(From Porsche press release, May 19, 2015)
On May 18 the Porsche Team began its build-up in the paddock of the famous circuit in the North-West of France. An advance party of 12 people is setting up the two-storey steel hall behind the garage and also the two-storey container building for storage and the drivers’ rooms. On May 27 the fully loaded team trucks will leave Weissach for their 800 kilometre long journey to the town in the Sarthe department. Eight team members will prepare the garage for the three Porsche 919 Hybrids. At the same time further build-up teams will set up the Team and Media Hospitality in the paddock, the guest hospitality in the new Porsche Experience Center, the fan area in the so called Village, the guest lounge at the Porsche curves and the rooms above the garage. Everything that’s needed to operate the three 919 Hybrids needs to be in place for the official pre-test on May 31. Under the guidance of Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1, it is Team Principal Andreas Seidl who is in charge of all things operational. His location during the race will be what is known internally as the “Space Station” at the front of the garage – the nerve centre where all information is gathered. Working next to Seidl will be Crew Chief Amiel Lindesay. In conjunction with the race engineers, the New Zealander will delegate the tasks to the 19 mechanics via radio. He informs them which tyre set is to be fitted next, how much fuel needs to go into the car and what else has to be done during a pit stop. Seidl is in contact with the cars by radio as well as with the engineers who he talks to by the pit channel and the “Interkomm” channels. Be it the drivers’ comments, the technical state of the cars, tyre choice, pit stop strategy, observation of the weather or the competition – Seidl is the central point for everything.

The Race engineer for the number 17 car is Kyle Wilson-Clarke (Great Britain). In the stand for the number 18 car sits race engineer Mathieu Galoche (France) and for the number 19 car Stephen Mitas (Australia) is in charge. The Australian is also the leading race engineer for all three Porsche 919 Hybrids.

23 people form the crew for each car: race engineer, performance engineer, data engineer, hybrid engineer, engine engineer, systems performance engineer, 12V engineer, software engineer, engine application engineer, gearbox engineer, track aerodynamics engineer, number one mechanic, front axle mechanic, rear axle mechanic, engine mechanic, gearbox mechanic, composite mechanic, electrician, refueller, tyre man, storeman, one mechanic to look after the air hose and the fuel bowser and one spare person. 68 men and one woman (a gearbox engineer) are fully focused on their respective cars.

The 90-page sporting regulations define how a pit stop must be carried out. There is a speed limit of 60 km/h in the pit lane, the car must park at least 50 cm from the wall or from the line marking the limits of the working area, no more than four team members are allowed to push the car into the garage if needed. The car may only restart when parallel to the track in the working area in front of the garage – and, please, with no wheel spin, otherwise a stop and go penalty will be applied. At all pit stops the engine has to be switched off and during refuelling (tank capacity 68.5 litres) the car has to remain with its wheels on the ground. On the 13.629 kilometre long track in Le Mans the Porsche 919 Hybrid can use a maximum of 4.76 litres of fuel per lap, which results in a range of 14 to 15 laps. Two mechanics are allowed to carry out refuelling, another one has to stay ready with a fire extinguisher and the cut off valve attendant is at his post. At the same time two mechanics are allowed to clean the car’s windscreen, headlights, mirrors and cameras, to pick up recorded data and to earth the car.

A driver change can happen during refuelling, but the time it takes is too long for it to be finished during a pit stop for fuel only. Therefore, driver changes only happen when new tyres are required.

After refuelling a pneumatic jack lifts the car. For the tyre change a maximum of two mechanics are allowed to work on the car at the same time, and only one wheel gun can be used at that time. A second wheel gun and two other mechanics are involved in a relay-like procedure. After clever choreography they speed out of and back into the garage to loosen the wheels, take them off, supply the new ones and secure them. A perfect wheel change at the Porsche Team takes 19 seconds. In Le Mans it is scheduled at the earliest after two stints, at night the teams try to double the interval between tyre changes. Then a driver stays in the car for a period of nearly four hours, which is more than the race distance of two Formula One Grands Prix. If necessary, extra people are allowed to change the data recorder or the fuel flow metre. In any case, all personnel must be back in the garage before the driver restarts. Then he has only himself to rely on. If a technical problem occurs out on the track, he can only use the basic on-board tool kit.

2015 Porsche LMP1 team as photographed on May 30, before the Le Mans test day. Here are the real 919-15 racing cars not as on the March 26 photoshoot.© Porsche
919-15 #17 Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber© Porsche
919-15 #18 Marc Lieb, Neel Jani, Romain Dumas© Porsche
919-15 #19 Earl Bamber, Nico Hülkenberg, Nick Tandy© Porsche
The red car as seen first on the May 31, 2015 Le Mans test day© Porsche
The black 919 as seen on the 2015 Le Mans test day© Porsche

Le Mans 24 hours 2015: 1-2 victory

June 8 scrutineering day© Porsche
Earl Bamber, the driver of 919 #19, was the 2014 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup winner© Porsche
Alexander Hitzinger, Technical Director Porsche LMP1 © Porsche
June 10 practise © Porsche
The fastest car of the June 10 qualification retains the pole position even after two June 11 qualification runs © Porsche

Already on the first qualification, the driver of the black 919, Neel Jani, achieved a new lap record time 3:16.887 (previous record from 2008 was 3:18.513). The second fastest in the first qualification was Timo Bernhard in the red 919 achieving 3:17.767. To complete the Porsche victory in the first qualification, the white 919 was third fastest car. On the next day, June 11, in the second qualification the white 919 #19 managed to improve its time to 3:18.862 (Nick Tandy). The third qualification did not bring any changes to the top three starters. The Audis of 4-5-6 starting positions had the qualification times 3:19, 3:20 and 3:20 and both the Toyotas had 3:23.

Neel Jani, the driver of Porsche #18, was the fastest in qualification with new lap record 3:16,887 (average speed 155 mph / 249 km/h)© Porsche
The backbone of Porsche LMP1 program: Hitzinger-Seidl-Enzinger © Porsche

Le Mans starting positions 1-2-3 for Porsche were last time seen 27 years earlier, in 1988.

Airshow before the start © Porsche
© Porsche

The start for the 2015 Le Mans 24 hour race was given on Saturday, June 13, 15 o'clock (3 pm).

Start! © Porsche
Three top class Porsches to lead the Le Mans start pack - what else could a Porsche enthusiast dream of?!© Porsche

Timo Bernhard in red #17 overtook polesitter Neel Jani in black #18. Neel Jani commented later: “After the start, for some reason I did not have the proper boost /---/ it was difficult to drive close behind Timo, because I lost downforce in his slipstream and almost ruined the tyres.”

Nico Hülkenberg in white #19 started third, but in two laps was passed by the three Audis. The second lap was the first full speed lap and the race lap records started to come: Timo Bernhard 3:21,119 and then Andre Lotterer Audi #7 3:20,709. On fourth lap Porsche was the fastest again, this time #18 Neel Jani with 3:20,485. One more lap and on 5th lap Marco Bonanomi with Audi #9 sets 3:20,566.

The Porsche Experience Center Le Mans was built in just 10 months and opened in time for the 2015 race© Porsche

On lap 8 Neel Jani #18 took the fastest lap honour back to Porsche with 3:20,471. Lap 10: fuel stop for Hülkenberg #19, lap 11: fuel for Jani #18, lap 12: fuel for Bernhard #17. The order at the front of the pack didn’t change, the two Porsches, with Bernhard and Jani driving, continued to lead while Hülkenberg remained sixth.

15:58, the factory team Porsche 911 RSR #92 bursted into flames on the Mulsanne straight and caused the safety car period uuntil 16:22.

At 16:35 (lap 24) Andre Lotterer in Audi #7 took the lead. 16:39 (lap 25) Porsche #17 took back the lead and made the first race lap in under 3 minutes and 20 seconds (lap 26, 3:19,346). A top speed of 340.2 km/h (211 mph) was reached, which remained as the record for Porsche. Audis had a few km/h higher tops speeds. 16:57 (lap 30) Audi #7 took the lead again.

Here two hours into the race, red car on position 2 (Bernhard) and black on P3 (Jani)© Porsche

In lap 36 Lotterer made a new race lap record 3:18,865. At their third pit stops the three Porsche 919 Hybrids changed drivers and tyres. The first one to come in was white #19 on lap 36 when Nico Hülkenberg handed over to Nick Tandy. Meanwhile, on lap 38 Timo Bernhard in red #17 took the lead again. Neel Jani in black #18 was replaced by Marc Lieb after 39 laps and Timo Bernhard handed over the red #17 to Brendon Hartley after 40 laps. With #17 in the pits, the #7 Audi took the lead again.

Timo Bernhard making room for Brendon Hartley after 2.5 hours and 40 laps © Porsche

As the Audi went into the pits, the red #17 took the lead back at 17:36 in lap 41, now in the hands of Brendon Hartley. 17:46 Audi #7 couldn't stay on the tarmac before Tertre Rouge, but luckily escaped. 17:48 in a misunderstood situation where some cars braked and the others didn't, Audi #8 went through the pack of cars and crashed into the barrier, losing its nose. The car was able to drive to pits and was fixed in 4 minutes. Porsche driver Marc Lieb (#18) later commented: “The traffic really was a bit wild at times. There were moments when the marshals couldn’t decide if they should show yellow or green flags. It was dangerous and in such a situation in the afternoon the Audi crashed. I lost time at that incident myself. Then unfortunately I got stuck in the second safety car train, which cost me further time. That was a bit frustrating. Apart from some issues with braking, the car is running okay."

The guardrail was repaired and safety cars were out until 18:42. During the safety car period, on lap 51 Nick Tandy handed over the white #19 to Earl Bamber, Marc Lieb #18 came in for refuelling on lap 55 and Brendon Hartley #17 on lap 57.

The race was on again and Filipe Albuquerque in Audi #9 started to push really hard. Lap 61 he covered in a record 3:18,477 and lap 62 even much faster, with a new record of 3:17,647.

After lap 65 Earl Bamber came in to refuel the white #19. After lap 68 Marc Lieb took the black #18 in for its 5th fuel stop. The leading red 919 #17 of Brendon Hartley came in for its fifth refuelling stop after 70 laps, and went on to complete another triple stint with one set of tyres. Outside the usual refuelling schedule, Marc Lieb #18 came in for a pit stop due to a suspected slow puncture. Romain Dumas took the wheel and fresh tyres.

After five hours of the closest possible racing the red 919 still led the race, followed by two Audis. The white 919 was running in fourth position, while the black 919 of Dumas/Jani/Lieb, was fifth.

20:08, after lap 78, Earl Bamber came in to refuel #19. 20:25 Brendon Hartley came in to hand the leading #17 over to Mark Webber. At the same time Audi #9 went into the lead. On lap 87 Dumas took the black #18 in for fuel. On lap 89, at 20:45, the Guards Red Porsche went to leading position again. On lap 91 Earl Bamber handed the #19 to Nico Hülkenberg.

F1 driver Webber piloting the leading car © Porsche
F1 driver Hülkenberg here on P5 after 6 hours, but wait until the end!© Porsche

After lap 96 Webber came in for fuel and Audi #9 took the lead (lap 97, 21:13). After lap 100, Dumas brought the #18 in for fuel. On lap 103 (21:33), Webber put the red Porsche in the lead again. More fuel stops: Hülkenberg #19 after lap 104 and Webber #17 after lap 109. This transferred the lead again to Audi #9 (lap 110, 21:56). 22:03, on lap 112, shortly before his next scheduled fuel stop to end his four stints with the same set of tyres, Dumas in black #18 hit the tyre wall at Mulsanne corner. He managed to get back to the pits. The black #18 got new nose, fuel, tyres and driver (Neel Jani). Romain Dumas: “I locked the wheels under braking and went straight into the barriers. I broke the front nose, which is annoying, but still we were lucky and were able to continue.”

On lap 116 (22:18), Webber's red Porsche once again took the lead.

Nico Hülkenberg pitting for fuel after lap 117© Porsche
Hülkenberg out again © Porsche
Webber refuelling after lap 122 © Porsche

22:40 an accident caused yellow flags and safety cars until 23:05.

23:17, the white #19 driven by Hülkenberg took the lead on lap 129. F1 battle! 23:29, on lap 133, Webber in the red Porsche took the lead again. 23:32 one minute Stop-and-Go penalty for Webber for earlier overtake during the yellow flags period. The penalty drops him into 4th position. Hülkenberg took the lead. 23:41, after lap 136, Webber handed the red car to Timo Bernhard. After 9 hours, the three Porsche 919 Hybrids were in first, fourth and fifth. The first six cars were still on the same lap. The hybrid Porsches had had 10-11 pit stops each so far.

Timo Bernhard on P4 after Webber got the penalty for #17 © Porsche

At 00:13 Nick Tandy took over from Nico Hülkenberg, who had also done a quadruple stint in the white #19. Porsche's pitstop made the Audi #7 take the lead (lap 146, 00:14). 00:25, on lap 149, Audi #9 went into the lead. 00:49, on lap 156, Nick Tandy's white 919 #19 took the lead. 00:59, lap 159, P1 to Audi #7. 01:12, lap 161, P1 again to Porsche #19.

For the black car number 18 the race continued to provide some difficulties. Brake stability continued to be tricky - after Romain Dumas hit the barrier earlier, Neel Jani also found himself off the track and in the gravel. He was able to continue and handed over the car at 01:21 to Marc Lieb after lap 162. Neel Jani later commented: “I went straight once and got stuck in the gravel. We do have difficulties with the brakes. This is a bit of a shame because we cannot attack as we would like to."

The red car number 17 was in the hands of Timo Bernhard from lap 137 (23:44) until the end of lap 188 at 02:47. Brendon Hartley took over with the car still on P4.

© Porsche

Nick Tandy stayed at the wheel of the leading #19 until the end of lap 197 and handed it over at 03:16 to Earl Bamber. On lap 198 (03:22) Audi #7 took the lead, but Bamber took it back on lap 200 (03:27).

Marc Lieb kept driving the black 919 on P6 until the end of lap 214 when, at 04:23, Romain Dumas jumped in again. The fight for the first position was still hot after 14 hours. At 05:32, on lap 236, Audi #7 took the lead, but Porsche #19 took it back again on lap 239 (05:43).

During the night all three Porsche 919 Hybrids did quadruple stints – they used four fuel fills before changing tyres and drivers. Webber: "The brake pedal got a little bit long in the middle of my stint, but that all tidied itself up quickly. Audi has a little bit of an advantage on the track, but we are very quick in the pits, so we are gaining track time back."

05:47 Webber took over again #17 with the car still in fourth position. 06:17, on lap 249, Audi #7 took the lead and 10 minutes later, on lap 252, Porsche #19 took it again.

Dunlop bridge in the night. Look how low the 919 is compared to the Viper. © Porsche

06:55 Audi #7 was in the pits after loosing a body panel. 07:39-08:10 safety car period. At the end of lap 276 the leading #19 made use of a long safety car period by taking the car inside the garage for a comprehensive service, including rear bodywork, a rear wing, tyres and a driver change in between two of the three safety cars that were guiding the field.

10:54 drive through penalty for Audi #7 for passing Porsche #19 under the yellow flags.

The leading car in the pits, Earl Bamber climbing in. For the best possible visibility the windscreen had 4 tear-offs for the 24 hour race. © Porsche
While Bamber is out driving the leading car, Hülkenberg and Tandy are having good time© Porsche

Romain Dumas (black #18): “In my quadruple stint everything was fine. It is just unfortunate that we are not really involved in the battle for the lead. We will drive around, do our best – and wait.”

11:35 Audi #9 lost the tyre. On lap 337, Andre Lotterer in Audi #7 set a new race lap record that would stand until the end of the race: 3:17,475 (average speed 248.5 km/h). Earl Bamber (white #19): “The Audis are mega, mega fast.”

12:45 second pit stop for the Audi #7 in 5 minutes to work on the car.

During the last three hours, no position changes happened between the three leading cars and at 15:00 (3 pm) on Sunday Porsche achieved its 17th overall victory at the Le Mans 24 hour race. Sweet! The lucky guys were Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber and Nico Hülkenberg. Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley scored second with their Indischrot Porsche. Audi drivers Lotterer/Fässler/Treluyer scored third. This meant their three-man team was on the podium already for the 5th time!

The red 919 is in front, but is one lap behind. Hülkenberg, who had started the race in the white 919, was also the driver to pass the finish line. The 3.5 years of work of the Porsche LMP1 team paid off. © Porsche
There were more cars in the LMP1 class, but the graph shows only the fastest ones
  No. Team Car Drivers Laps
1. #19 Porsche Team 919 hybrid Hülkenberg / Bamber / Tandy 395 (5382.82 km, average speed 224.2 km/h)
2. #17 Porsche Team 919 hybrid Bernhard / Webber / Hartley 394
3. #7 Audi Sport Team Joest R18 e-tron quattro Fässler / Lotterer / Treluyer 393
4. #8 Audi Sport Team Joest R18 e-tron quattro Di Grassi / Duval / Jarvis 392
5. #18 Porsche Team 919 hybrid Dumas / Jani / Lieb 391
6. #2 Toyota Racing TS 040 Hybrid Wurz / Sarrazin / Conway 387
7. #9 Audi Sport Team Joest R18 e-tron quattro Albuquerque / Bonanomi / Rast 387
8. #1 Toyota Racing TS 040 Hybrid Davidson / Buemi / Nakajima 386

2015 Le Mans 24h runner-ups: Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley © Porsche
2015 Le Mans 24h winners: Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber, Nico Hülkenberg © Porsche

The 2015 race can be charaterized as a very strong and lucky one - all the good and fast LMP1 cars (Porsche, Audi and Toyota) made it through the 24 hours without bigger problems (nor technical, nor accident-related) and even the 8th position Toyota covered only 2% less of the distance compared to the winner (386 laps vs 395 laps).

Timo Bernhard (red #17): “Hats off for what our mates in the number 19 car have done – great job, great race. We were doing well, but never made up for the delay that the penalty caused. Regarding my brief excursion into the gravel bed: Everyone has agreed that the slower cars stay on the racing line, but this guy decided to change his line without notice. To avoid contact I had to run wide and ran through the gravel bed. Nothing serious happened though, but this kind of incident can cause a lot of trouble. But that’s racing and the track is there for all of us.”

Earl Bamber (white #19): “I thought I would have heard strange noises in the car. But, of course, you fancy every kind of noise if you are on your way to win Le Mans.”

Nick Tandy (white #19): “This is such a fantastic day. It is hard to get it to sink in that I’m now a Le Mans winner with Porsche.”

© Porsche

With Porsche, the pinnacle was also the performance of the pit crew, who managed 90 pit stops in total and were significantly faster than the competition. The fastest pit stop, including a tyre and driver change, by the Porsche Team was 1:14 minutes. The fastest stop for refuelling was done in 51 seconds. 1896 litres of fuel was pumped into the winning car which translates to 35 L/100 km which was set by the rules.

The longest time behind the wheel of all nine Porsche LMP1 drivers was for Neel Jani with 10 hours and 10 minutes. In the winning car it was Nico Hülkenberg who drove most (8 hours, 52 minutes).

Mark Webber lost the most weight of all nine Porsche LMP1 drivers - 3.0 kilograms. When the race began he weighed 81.2 kilograms (including race gear and helmet) and after his final stint the scales stopped at 78.2 kilograms.

During the 24 hours each Porsche 919 Hybrid had a refill of 1 litre of oil. 24 hours on maximum revs and the engine consumes only 1 litre of oil - that is the Porsche Motorsport engineering quality!

The Le Mans 24h race was the 3rd of the 2015 FIA WEC races and gave double points. With this Porsche took the lead (140 points), followed by Audi (124) and Toyota (71).

Nürburgring 6 hours 2015 victory: 1-2 victory

This race was the first WEC event in Germany and it was held on the Nürburgring F1 track (not on the long Nordschleife). The 919 had new side and rear end design to improve aerodynamics.

The 919 #17 of Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber won the six-hour race in temperatures of more than 30 degrees Celsius. Right behind them came the 919 #18 of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb. They were followed by two LMP1 Audis and two Toyotas. Over the weekend 62000 spectators attended the event.

2015 August 30: Nürburgring 6h winning 919 #17 of Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber. Not very easy to note, but the side air vent design is new again (for the fifth time already since the 919 was introduced). The new rear design is quite easily noticeable. © Porsche
2015 August 30: new rear end aerodynamics © Porsche
2015 August 30 Nürburgring 6 hour race 1-2 victory to Porsche© Porsche

Circuit of the Americas 6 hours 2015: victory

The Porsche 919 Hybrid achieved its third win in a row. This time in Austin, the capital of Texas. The winning drivers of the car #17 were Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber. The 919 #18 was leading for a long time, but encountered technical problems. While the winning 919 #17 covered 185 laps, the 919 #18 only got 168.

The "backbone" of the 919© Porsche
2015 September 19: the winning 919 #17 of Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber © Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
2015 Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas© Porsche

Fuji 6 hours 2015: 1-2 victory

By winning the fourth race in a row, Porsche took an important step in the battle for the World Endurance Championship (WEC). The 919 #17 won the six-hour race in Fuji in the hands of Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber. The 919 #18 of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb came second. By winning again Porsche extended its championship lead over Audi and Toyota.

© Porsche
© Porsche
2015 October 11, Fuji, Japan: Porsche 1-2 victory© Porsche

Shanghai 6 hours 2015: 1-2 victory / 2015 World Endurance Manufacturers Championship victory

By taking the fifth consecutive race win, Porsche won the constructors’ title of the 2015 World Endurance Championship before the season end. Between 1964 and 1986 Porsche took 12 constructors’ titles in the then Sports Car World Championship. The 2015 victory added the 13th constructors’ World Championship title in endurance racing.

The winning drivers in Shanghai were again Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber (919 #17). The 919 #18 scored second once again in the hands of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb. This was the fourth 1-2 victory in the 2015 season.

© Porsche
This photo shows well the new rear end design in use since Nürburgring 6 hour race in the end of August© Porsche
2015 November 1, Shanghai © Porsche
Porsche 919-15 hybrid - the world dominator of endurance racing in 2015 © Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche

Bahrain 6 hours 2015: victory / 2015 World Endurance Drivers Championship victory

Glowing brake disc of no.17© Porsche

Both throttle barrel levers broke on the Bernhard/Hartley/Webber car. Thanks to a mechanic’s clever idea they locked the barrels on full throttle by fixing two pliers into the engine with cable straps and then the engineers were programming in real time to keep the car running. This is how world champions were made. The race was won by Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb driving the no. 18 Porsche. They completed 199 laps. The second place Audi was on the same lap, followed by two Toyotas (both 3 laps behind). Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley finished fifth, but still scored the 2015 FIA WEC Driver's category victory. It was a very close call in many ways - if the #18 919 team would not have won the race, the Audi guys would have scored top points from the race and then it would have been a tie between the top drivers from Porsche and from Audi.

2015 Bahrain 6h winner - 919 no. 18 of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb © Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
2015 Manufacturers Championship   2015 Drivers Championship
1. Porsche344 points 1. Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley (Porsche)  166.0 points
2. Audi 264 points 2. André Lotterer, Marcel Fässler, Benoît Tréluyer (Audi)161.0 points
3. Toyota 164 points 3. Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas, Neel Jani (Porsche)138.5 points

Article © Stuttcars.com

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