Porsche 919-18 Hybrid Evo outlaw record car
2018 Spa-Francorchamps lap record
Premiere: April 9, 2018 Spa-Francorchamps, BelgiumInternal combustion engine: 2.0V4 single-turbo, 529 kW/720 PS officially
Electric motor: 324 kW/440 PS officially
Peak system power: 853 kW/1160 PS
Fuel tank: 62.3 L
Length: 200"/5078 mm (WEC version was 183"/4650 mm)
Weight without fuel: 849 kg/1872 lb
Porsche decided to withdraw from the World Endurance Championship after the 2017 season, while the 2018 version of the 919 was already half-way engineered. The work done was not thrown away, instead, the car's potential was unleashed and put into test. Porsche calls the last evolution of the 919 as Evo, but it would be more appropriate to call it 919 Outlaw as it pumps out 853 kW peak power and therefore is not legal for any racing series.
On April 9, 2018, the 919 Hybrid Evo established a new track record at Spa-Francorchamps. Porsche works driver Neel Jani lapped the 4.35 mile/7.0 km long Belgian GP circuit in 1:41.770. Because of the Spa track being so long and fast, it is considered the second most interesting permanent race track in Europe after the Nürburgring Nordschleife. The previous Spa record 1:42.553 was set by Lewis Hamilton at the wheel of a Mercedes F1 W07 Hybrid on August 26, 2017. At his record run Jani achieved a top speed of 223 mph/359 km/h and an average speed of 152.6 mph/245.61 km/h. WOAH!!! This is insane! Ambient temperature was 11° C/52° F and track temperature was 13° C/55° F (ideal conditions for the record run).
Fritz Enzinger: “Today’s track record impressively proves the ultimate performance of the most innovative race car of its time. Our target was to show what the Porsche 919 Hybrid is able to do when we loosen the restrictions that normally come from the regulations.” The technical regulations from the FIA for the WEC and Le Mans successfully delivered close competition between the conceptually different class 1 Le Mans hybrid prototypes entered by Audi, Porsche and Toyota. As a consequence this never allowed the question – what would be the potential of the Porsche 919 Hybrid if it wasn’t chained by the limitations – to be answered.
Stephen Mitas was heading the project: “It was kind of an engineer’s dream come true for us. Having developed, improved and raced the car for four years, the guys had a very close relationship to it. We all knew, no matter how successful the 919 Hybrid was, it could never show its full abilities. Actually even the Evo version doesn’t fully exploit the technical potential. This time we were not limited by regulations but resources. It is a very satisfying feeling that what we’ve done to the car was enough to crack the Formula One record.”
To prepare the record car, the base was the 2017 world championship car. On top came developments that were prepared for the 2018 WEC but never raced after the end of 2017 withdrawal. The WEC efficiency regulations limited the energy from fuel using a fuel flow meter. Freed from these restrictions, equipped with an updated software but running the regular race fuel E20 (20% bio ethanol), the 919 Hybrid Evo's 2-litre engine peaked at 529 kW. The amount of electric energy that was allowed to use in Spa at the WEC race in 2017 was 6.37 megajoule per lap, but on his record lap Neel Jani used everything the system could generate - 8.49 MJ (33% more).
The engineers also unchained the aerodynamics of the 919 Evo from the regulations. The new larger front diffuser now balances the new and very large rear wing, both of which have actively controlled drag reduction systems. The hydraulically operated systems trim the trailing edge of the front diffuser and open up the slot between the rear wing main plane and the flap respectively in order to increase the aerodynamic efficiency. Underneath the Evo the turning vanes and floor have been optimised with fixed height side skirts to increase the aerodynamic performance again as efficiently as possible. In total the aero modifications resulted in 53% more downforce and an increase in efficiency by 66% (compared to the 2017 Spa WEC qualifying). The Evo was fitted with individual braking power control on every wheel providing additional yaw control and the chassis was fitted with actively controlled lockout system. The power steering was adapted for the higher loads and stronger suspension wishbones front and rear were implemented. Everything that wasn’t needed for a single fast lap was removed: air conditioning, windscreen wiper, several sensors, electronic devices from race control, lights systems and the pneumatic jack system. Compared to the car in race trim, the dry weight was reduced by 39 kilograms to 849 kilograms.
Neel Jani: “The 919 Evo is brutally impressive. It is definitely the fastest car I ever drove. The grip level is at a fully new dimension for me, I couldn’t imagine this amount beforehand. The speed on which everything happens on a single lap with the 919 Evo is that fast that the demand on reaction speed is very different to what I was used to in the WEC. We are not only faster than the F1 pole from 2017. Today’s lap was twelve seconds faster compared to our WEC pole position from last year! We have had three very intense days at Spa. Today I knew on the very first lap in the morning that the car’s performance was super. The race engineers did a great job setting up the car and the Michelin tyres are sensational. A big thank you to Porsche for this experience.”
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