Another piece of Porsche’s 2014 Le Mans puzzle falls into place as the German car maker reveals the official name of the new racing car. The 2014 Porsche LMP1 is called the 919 Hybrid. As the spiritual successor to the 917, this car should have been called the 918. But that is already taken by Porsche’s new hyper car.
Names and designations matter when you are dealing with Porsche race cars. People wouldn’t drool over the 917 these days if it was called something dull like Quattro e-tron. Those three digits bring back memories for Porsche fans that are so swell, they make the numbers kind of sacred. That’s what Porsche is hoping to achieve with the 919.
The Porsche 919 Hybrid, as the name suggests, is powered by hybrid powertrain consisting of a 2.0 liter four cylinder petrol engine coupled with two electric motors. Porsche is confident this system is powerful enough, and also economical enough, to give the 919 a fighting chance against Audi’s monstrous R18. In Le Mans fuel economy is kind of more important than power because if you spend less time in the pits refueling, you can stay on the track longer and do more laps.
Porsche has also assembled a team of elite drivers to pilot the 919 to victory at 2014 Le Mans. It includes ex-Formula 1 hotshot Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas, Mark Leib, Neel Jani, and Brendon Hartley. As the captain of the team, Webber has already had a go in the 919. But the real work will begin next month when the Aussie finally gets rid of his troublesome Red Bull contract.