Porsche unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show this morning the 919 Hybrid racecar destined for the World Endurance Championship series and the 24 hours of Le Mans.

Porsche’s 919 Hybrid drive system is based on a 4-cylinder gasoline engine that Porsche said is compact and lightweight. The 2.0 liter V-engine, as opposed to inline, is a structural component of the chassis, and reaches a maximum engine speed of approximately 9,000 rpm. This engine features direct injection, a single turbocharger and thermodynamic recovery capabilities. The compact unit produces around 500 horsepower, per the German manufacturer.

“Crucial in the development of the Le Mans prototype were the newly created and revolutionary racing rules for this class as they relate to energy efficiency,” said Matthias Müller, Chairman of Porsche AG. “In 2014, it will not be the fastest car that wins the World Endurance Championship series and the 24 hours of Le Mans, rather it will be the car that goes the furthest with a defined amount of energy. And it is precisely this challenge that carmakers must overcome. The 919 Hybrid is our fastest mobile research laboratory and the most complex race car that Porsche has ever built.”

To complement the gasoline engine, Porsche explained two different energy recovery systems harness energy to replenish the batteries and provide power. The first system is the recovery of thermal energy by an electric generator powered by exhaust gases. The second hybrid system is an electric motor on the front axle utilizing brake recuperation to convert kinetic energy into electric energy. The electric energy is then stored in water-cooled lithium-ion battery packs and when the driver needs the stored power, the front motor drives the two front wheels through a differential during acceleration.


According to Porsche, this layout gives the Porsche 919 Hybrid a temporary all-wheel drive system, as the gasoline engine directs power to the rear wheels, in the same way it does on the 918 Spyder.

A new Porsche team of over 200 employees was formed to develop and implement the development center in Weissach and create this racecar.

Romain Dumas (France), Neel Jani (Switzerland) and Marc Lieb (Germany) will share driving duties in the Porsche 919 Hybrid wearing number 14. Car number 20 will be driven by Timo Bernhard (Germany), Brendon Hartley (New Zealand) and Mark Webber (Australia).