We already know that Porsche is working hard on the upcoming 919 Hybrid LMP1 Le Mans race car, but what we didn’t know were some details about the engine used by the new vehicle. According to Autocar, the Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 will use a turbocharged 16-valve 2.0-liter direct-injection V4 engine that has an unusually wide V angle.
Moreover, the turbocharger is not electric such as the one found on the Audi R18 e-Tron Quattro. The V4 engine is not quite popular among automotive engineering due to the problems with the configuration in achieving smooth running.
Apparently, Porsche adopted this engine for packaging reasons in order to obtain an optimum positioning of the battery-fed hybrid drive system.
For those who don’t know, Porsche already announced that the 919 Hybrid will use a four-cylinder engine and two recuperation system capable to store energy in a battery unit until the driver deploys it through an electric motor that delivers the power to the front wheels.
The two energy recuperation systems found on then 919 Hybrid are called KERS and ERS, where ERS is called AER by Porsche (AER stands for Abgasenergierueckgewinnung, Abgas being the German word for exhaust). KERS recovers the kinetic energy during braking on the front axle, while the ERS operates via the exhaust gas on the turbochargers.
The energy obtained by these two systems is stored in a lithium-ion unit supplied by A123 Systems. Porsche will debut the 919 Hybrid in the 2014 WEC on 20 April with the Silverstone Six Hours, but the real test will be at Le Mans.
With the WEC putting in new regulations, the engineers at Porsche knew that they needed to come up with innovative solutions while also using all of the creativity they have. When work started on the Porsche 919 Hybrid back in the middle of 2011, it was developed from scratch. Being newcomers, the developers needed to face the matter of their rivals in the LMP1 segment having greater experience.
To their credit however, the same developers had access to the knowledge that the brand had attained through different racing victories like the one using the 911 GT3 R Hybrid. The same can be said for the super sports car known as the 918 Spyder, a hybrid model as well. By opting to have a hybridized drive concept, the developers were able to experience more freedom, especially with new WEC regulations being put into place.
Thus, the new LMP1 race car is fitted with a drive system that is inspired by a petrol-powered four-cylinder engine, one that is lightweight while being compact. Having a chassis that is founded on a V-construction, it is able to execute load-bearing functions while being able to deliver thermodynamic advantages. The petrol engine of this drive system is able to get the maximum speed at about 9,000 rpm.
It makes this a frontrunner which it comes to the downsizing principle, given the mono-turbo charging, direct injection, and 2.0-liter displacement. The technology equipped inside the 919 Hybrid is one that is highly complex and reveals excellent efficiency. This is mainly due to implementing a carefully balanced overall concept. It begins from the combustion engine and all the way to the energy recovery systems and even the chassis and the running gear.
Included as well are the driver ergonomics and the aerodynamics. Overall, it is safe to say that the sum of the individual parts results in a truly effective unit. The goal is clear in that the 919 Hybrid should be able to deliver the maximum athletic performance while doing it in tight fuel economy constraints.
Speaking of energy recovery systems, there are two types present in this model. One of this is the new and clearly innovative system that regains the thermal energy from the vehicle’s exhaust gases. Specifically, there is an electric generator that is powered by the gas stream coming from the exhaust.