Porsche marks its racing comeback in 2012 with the third-generation of its rolling laboratory -- the 911 GT3 R Hybrid. Wolfgang Hatz, board member for research and development, said that Porsche is further advancing its technology. He added, “There is no way around the hybrid technology in motorsport.”
He said that Porsche’s 911 GT3 R hybrid project shows how vital future technologies could be tested on the racetrack, paving the way for it to achieve motorsport success in the future. Several tracks were entered by the second-generation car in 2011.
It ranked 28th overall in the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring. The GT3 R hybrid is powered by a 4.0-liter flat-six, which comes with two electric motors at the front wheels to each deliver 100 hp. It has a low weight of 2,866 pounds but more reduction is expected for 2012. The car’s rear is wider by two inches while at the front, it’s almost six inches wider.
It will be joining the FIA World Endurance Championship, the American Le Mans Series, the Le Mans Series, the International GT Open and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Four new vehicles will be fielded by three various teams in the U.S. But there will be no changes to the Porsche driver lineup.
It will still be Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long in a GT3 Cup car for Flying Lizard; Marco Holzer will race with Alex Job; Wolf Henzler and Patrick Pilet will be in a TRG car; Marc Lieb would be in a Brumos Porsche and Richard Lietz will be with Magnus Racing. The crew is completed with Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas.
On June 25, 2011, the Porsche AG joined the Nürburgring 24-hour race with an advanced version of its Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid. The car’s Version 2.0 offers improved efficiency through the optimization of its hybrid components, which also resulted in 20% reduced weight. This new edition is targeted to achieve similar lap times as its older version, but with lesser fuel consumption.
The hybrid’s general layout has been adopted from the earlier model. It features a portal axle that has two electric motors driving front wheels and supplementing the four-liter 470 hp, six-cylinder boxer rear engine, depending on the performance classification balance. Each of the two electric motors has an increased output from 60 to 75 kilowatts. Plus, drivers have an additional 200 hp for multiple-second bursts. Moreover, with the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid 2.0, this power is automatically activated with the throttle pedal, depending on programming. Drivers can also call up this additional power manually, such as when overtaking.
Additionally, the car’s electric flywheel accumulator, which has a rotor that spins up to 40,000 rpm and mechanically stores energy as rotational energy, is now housed in a carbon fiber safety cell (found on the passenger's side) together with other hybrid components.
The new GT3 R Hybrid is quickly distinguishable from the earlier edition. Thanks to the optimized high voltage components of the hybrid system, it is no longer necessary to have the large louvers in the rear fenders. The optimization of these components reduces drag and lowers the consumption of fuel. Also, this helped reduce the overall weight of the vehicle from 1,350 to 1,300 kilograms.
Hartmut Kristen, the head of Porsche motorsport, says that they have collected a lot of information on the Nürburgring race from the ALMS and the ILMC races at Road Atlanta and on China's Zhuhai circuit, respectively. This information, he explains, had been very useful in the further development of its racing laboratory.
Kristen adds that the focus of their work had been on improving efficiency, and that means having to keep lap times consistent with 2010 while using less energy and less fuel. And in this way, they support the future development of sporting hybrid vehicles.