Mission Report

World champion turbo four-cylinder: innovative power pack and a trendsetter

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For the first time Porsche is showing images of the centrepiece of its Le Mans winning Porsche 919 Hybrid. A turbo charged four-cylinder combustion engine to drive the rear axle, an exhaust energy recovery system, the latest lithium-ion battery technology for energy storage to serve the e-machine on the front axle, complex hybrid management – Porsche had set new standards in this technically most demanding world championship. The Porsche 919 Hybrid’s engine will be on display at race events, exhibitions and, of course, in the Porsche Museum at Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen.

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The world championship engine with a capacity of only two litres is the most efficient combustion engine Porsche has built so far. It is highly remarkable for its compact design and it also became a trendsetter: the new four-cylinder turbo engine for the Porsche 718 Boxster picks up technology and know-how from the racing power pack.

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Alexander Hitzinger, the Technical Director responsible for the 919, said: “Right from the beginning we had a brave concept, but it was also the right concept. This is paying off now.” As with every Porsche, the 919 Hybrid is being developed in Weissach at Porsche’s Research and Development centre. Especially when it comes to the powertrain, Hitzinger’s crew works very closely with the engineers from production cars. “They support us significantly in the areas of combustion development and fuel-mixture generation,” said Hitzinger.

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The regulations for the top segment of the WEC (class 1 Le Mans prototypes, LMP1) require manufacturers to use hybrid drive systems. They also establish a direct link between the sporty performance of the prototypes and their energy efficiency. Put simply, this means that a large amount of energy from recovery systems may be used. However, this entails a proportional reduction in the permitted amount of fuel per lap. The WEC gives engineers a great degree of freedom in terms of the hybrid drive concepts that may be employed. The teams can choose between diesel and petrol engines, naturally aspirated or turbocharged engines, various displacements, and one or two energy recovery systems. This set-up puts the focus on innovations that will have a huge impact on future production sports cars – and this was actually the main reason why we decided to return to the world of top level motor racing.

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