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Porsche’s Secret Formula One Engine

Despite the brand’s long history in motorsports, Porsche’s relationship with Grand Prix racing has been full of fits and starts. The 718RSK originally competed in Formula 2 before moving to Formula 1 in 1961, where the slightly elderly car didn’t prove competitive. The 804 got the brand its sole championship race victory as a constructor with Dan Gurney at the wheel in 1962.

From there things stayed quiet for nearly two decades. Porsche focused on sports and GT racing, and ignored the world of open wheel cars entirely. Porsche returned in 1983 as an engine builder in partnership with TAG, and powered two constructor and three driver championships in the mid-1980s. With the rule changes of the early 1990s, the brand appeared very briefly in 1991 with an overweight V12, and failed to even qualify for more than half the races in 1991.

Where Porsche left top-tier endurance racing at the top of the heap and on their own terms, they left F1 in 1991 with their tail between their legs. While Porsche recently announced their return to (more-or-less) open-wheel racing with Formula E, the all-electric championship wasn’t their only prospective race series. According to Motorsport.com’s interview with Fritz Enzinger, plans were in the works for a Porsche Formula 1 entry:

“In 2017 there were signals from Formula 1 that the regulations were to be changed and that energy recovery from the exhaust gases [the MGU-H] was no longer required,” [Enzinger] said.

“As of 2017, Porsche was a member of the FIA Manufacturers Commission and was involved in the discussions about the future drive strategy in Formula 1 from 2021 and represented at the meetings.

“On the one hand we took part in these working groups. On the other hand the guys developed a six-cylinder for the WEC in parallel. Of course, we thought about what would have to change if the engine were to be used in Formula 1. Such things can be done in two ways.”

Though a move to FE, where Audi was also present, was an « obvious idea », Enzinger said the six-cylinder engine concept was still pursued because an F1 engine without the MGU-H would « also be interesting for a super sports car ».

« At the end of 2017, we received a concrete order from our parent company to further develop a highly efficient six-cylinder engine, despite its LMP1 withdrawal, » he said.

« Not only on paper, but actually as hardware and with the idea that this engine will be put to the test in 2019. That was the order from the board to us. »

Enzinger said its six-cylinder engine « is complete and running on the test bench » as a team of « 20 to 25 technicians » use it « for analyses and further orders with regard to series relevance. »

Porsche’s entry was set to coincide with a 2021 rule change for the series, though given the recent changes in Formula 1, Porsche’s future entry in top-tier Grand Prix racing seems to be somewhere between unlikely and impossible.

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Vidéo : la Porsche 919 Tribute dans le rues de Paris

Le dimanche 7 octobre dernier, en pleine semaine du Mondial de l’Auto, la Porsche 919 Tribute a fait escale dans la capitale dans le cadre de son tour du monde. Le prototype LMP1-H des 24 Heures du Mans, de nuit, comme de jour, offre des images assez rares des plus beaux monuments de la capitale. En […]

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La Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo rate le coche à Brands Hatch

La Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo a déjà battu deux records mais il en est un qu’elle n’accrochera a priori pas à son tableau de chasse. Une partie de l’équipe de compétition de Porsche a passé le week-end dernier sur le célèbre et magnifique circuit de Brands Hatch, en Angleterre. Celle-ci y était en compagnie de […]

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Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo : record absolu et historique du Nürburgring

En 1983, le regretté Stefan Bellof a signé un chrono de 6’11″13 sur la Nordschleife (Boucle Nord) lors des qualifications des 1 000 km du Nürburgring. 35 ans plus tard, Porsche annonce avoir établi aujourd’hui, le 29 juin 2018, un nouveau record en 5’24″375 grâce à son prototype LMP1-H optimisé confié au pilote allemand Timo Bernhard. Pour les 70 ans de la marque allemande, c’est donc un chrono historique. Suite à l’abandon du programme FIA WEC fin 2017, le prototype de course avait été passablement modifié sans contraintes réglementaires à respecter dans le but d’une tournée hommage. Motorisé par le V4 2.0 […]

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Porsche Has Set A New Outright Lap Record At The Nordschliefe With Its 919 Hybrid Evo

A record that has stood since 1983, when Stefan Bellof set a 6 minutes 11.13 second lap in the fire-breathing Porsche 956, has been absolutely demolished tonight. Porsche’s team driver Timo Bernhard was at the wheel of the wild and crazy 919 Hybrid Evo early Friday morning to set an Earth-shattering 5 minutes 19.546 second lap of the track known as the Green Hell. Following on from Porsche’s record-setting lap at Spa earlier this spring, the 919 Evo has been to the Nurburgring three times since. First for an exhibition lap honoring that 956 record. Just a few weeks ago, pre-Le Mans, the car was given a few warm up and sighting laps to prepare for this event. Then, this week, Porsche began teasing the idea of an outright lap record run.

Timo Bernhard says he was, himself, a childhood fan of Stefan Bellof and holds the man in high regard. For years, it has been thought impossible that the record would ever fall. For one, because the track is dangerous and difficult to run at those kinds of speeds. For another, because of the greater motorsports world’s deference to Bellof as a legendary character. Bellof, just two years after setting that record, died at the wheel in a crash during the 1000 km race at Spa, involved in a crash with Jacky Ickx’s works Porsche 962C. Bellof’s record stands as the fastest timed lap around the track in competition, as the 919 Hybrid Evo’s lap was run on an otherwise empty track. That said, Bellof’s time was set on a shorter 12.9-mile version of the circuit for Le Mans Group C cars, while Bernhard’s time was set using the full 14.2-mile lap.

While Bernhard’s lap wasn’t quite the sub-5-minute lap we’d predicted, we look forward to seeing the onboard timing to see whether there could have been a faster lap time earned, if anything was left on the table. In any case, that video is going to be incredible to see, just for the sheer speed the 919 Evo is capable of. Congratulations to Timo and to the whole Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo team for breaking down a 35-year-old barrier.

Edit: It didn’t take Porsche long to post the onboard video. Within three hours of breaking the record, Timo Bernhard’s in-car footage was released to the public. Volkswagen still hasn’t released their onboard from Pikes Peak last weekend.

 
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