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Le Porsche Endurance Trophy poursuit son partenariat avec Michelin

Entre Porsche et Michelin, c’est une belle et longue histoire d’amour. C’est notamment avec le manufacturier de pneus français que la marque de Stuttgart a récemment accumulé les victoires aux 24 Heures du Mans et les titres mondiaux en FIA WEC. Et c’est aussi Michelin qui équipe les coupes monomarques Porsche… dont la Porsche Carrera …

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Herbert Ampferer: tales from Weissach

Herbert Ampferer is Austrian, and as soon as he finished his engineering studies at Steyr, his only thought was to get away to avoid military service which, 25 years after the war, had become extraordinarily unpopular. “I went to Sweden – thought I might find engineering work there. One evening I met a fellow Austrian in a bar in Stockholm, and over a beer I said to him I had two priorities: a girlfriend and a job.

“He thought he could help with the second and suggested that a sports car company in Stuttgart where he worked could probably find a place for me. It was called Porsche. I had never heard of it, but within a few weeks I had swapped Stockholm for Stuttgart and found myself employed at Zuffenhausen. I went straight into the engine department. I liked it immediately because of its ‘Austrian’ atmosphere.”

This was just as well because his first task was Entwicklungsauftrag EA 266, the project to build a small VW with an air-cooled engine beneath the rear seat: “It was horribly complicated,” recalls Ampferer. “Bent drives, drives running round corners… unbelievably complex.” It was a relief to move to the 924 project, intended as a joint venture with Audi which Porsche ended up taking over. In doing so it inherited the VW water-cooled four-cylinder engine: “It was a high-compression OHC unit with a long stroke that gave good mpg. But the cast-iron block was heavy. It was the beginning of Porsche’s learning curve with in-line water-cooled engines.”

It was the beginning of Ampferer’s learning curve too; the Audi unit would be reworked: “We put in a forged-steel crankshaft and extra-large main bearings, and we used screws for valve adjustment rather than Audi’s shims; we cut recesses into the pistons to avoid damage if the cam belt broke. We also had to redesign the manifold to fit the 924’s limited space. A deep sump kept the engine height low, and I finned it, which saved fitting an oil cooler.”

As well as working on all versions of the 924, including the GT, he would go on to develop the 2.5 for the 944: “A very interesting project that was much more than just half a 928 engine. We had to design the 2.5 to fit the front suspension. The inspiration for the balancer shafts came from Mitsubishi; they added 12kg, but there was negligible additional friction. We built a prototype 924 engine with balancer shafts – you’ll find my signature on the first drawings of them!”

Chief of the engine department was Robert Binder; he recognised the young Ampferer’s raw talent early and put him to work on turbocharging. At that stage in early 1973 Porsche was studying the use of turbochargers – proving so successful in the Can-Am 917 racers – in road cars. “Valentin Schäffer had already done most of the development on the racing turbo. My job was to draw the concept for the road cars. The main difference is packaging: racing cars are open everywhere, so heat dissipation isn’t difficult, but acceptable styling for road cars meant we had to find ways of defusing this heat. There was also the problem of drivability – a racing car has the throttle either wide open or closed, but for road use you need part throttle openings. The turbochargers we had then were basically made for diesel engines, and they were not readily mappable to the requirements of petrol. When we had gone as far as we could with that, we then had to design the wastegate to retain exhaust pressure within the system so that when the throttle was released, the turbo did not stop turning.”

For the full interview with engineer Herbert Ampferer on Weissach’s secrets, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 176 in shops now or get it delivered to your door via here. You can also download a digital copy with high definition bonus galleries to any Apple or Android device.

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Bad Weather Punctuates An Exciting Daytona 24, Porsche Nets GTLM Podium

There is no amount of preparation or strategy that could make up for the absolute downpour weather that hit the Floridian peninsula on Sunday morning and threw about forty wrenches into the works. Porsche ran a strong 24 hour race in the dry, but suffered mightily in the rain, as the track was a complete mess. Porsche managed to come out of it with a podium place, but both team cars were running 1-2 a few times throughout the race. It’s hard to call this a great finish, but the battle that raged in GTLM for the full race length was definitely one of the most exciting in recent memory. With competition from Ford, Corvette, BMW, and Ferrari, there was never an inch to put a foot wrong. Porsche had to be perfect the whole race, and they nearly managed it.

Visibility was practically zero on Sunday morning, as you can see from the video below of the WeatherTech Ferrari running headlong into the Black Swan Racing GTD Porsche. It was wise of the race stewards to throw a red flag in the early hours of Sunday morning, but it was absolutely unwise of them to throw the race back to green with little warning. The drivers said they didn’t even have time to warm up their brakes, just thrust into the fight on a whim. The rain wasn’t the worst part, though, it was the spray of standing water kicked up by other cars. It was just a mess for the final few hours, and probably should have been called earlier.

 

Saturday was an absolute proof of concept for Porsche. Flying away from the pole position, Nick Tandy was in a great position. The GTLM-class #911 Porsche 911 RSR ran up front for much of the first half of the race. Patrick Pilet and Fred Mako worked well with the car and the dry conditions. The Porsche clearly had speed in hand, running fast on the high banking, but not giving up anything on the infield either. When I went to sleep at the half-way point of the race, the team was still leading. In fact, they were still well up the order when I woke early the next morning, but a hydroplaning incident that saw the car slide into the back of one of the Ford GTs as they fought down to the millimeter for advantage at turn one was a turning point for the #911. The team recovered to fifth, but the race was red flagged shortly thereafter.

Porsche #912 had a vastly different race this weekend, as Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor, and Mathieu Jaminet suffered horrible luck in the early runnings. With an issue in the car’s front splitter mount, the team wheeled back to the garage to affect repairs. When they returned to the course, the car was four laps down. Luckily, with IMSA’s wave-around rules, and stellard driving and strategy, the team was able to recover to the lead lap by the mid-point of the race. The car sat in fourth, still on the lead lap, when the final red flag segment was called. The #67 Ford GT had pitted for emergency fueling during a full course yellow, which is allowed, so long as the team pits again for a full fuel up when the pits open. Between the emergency fill and opening the pits, the red flag was thrown and Ford couldn’t come back in for the full service. They’d been in second place, but were handed a penalty for the unserved fuel stop, which relegated them to fourth, behind the #912 Porsche, handing them a podium place.

Pascal Zurlinden (Director GT Factory Motorsport): “If you ignore the weather, then you have to admit that was a great race. We witnessed some top-class racing from all manufacturers. It was a great show for the fans. We were really strong in dry conditions, in the wet, however, things didn’t really go as we’d hoped. The result might look a little disappointing at first glance, but the potential shown and the perfect teamwork make me very optimistic.”

Steffen Höllwarth (Program Manager IMSA SportsCar Championship): “That was a gripping race, from which we’re very happy to take home a podium result. We led the field over long stretches, we coped impressively with a setback for our No. 912 car and we regained lost time. There were many highs and lows. We were very fast in the dry with a setup designed for high top speeds on the straights, but unfortunately not quite so in the wet. To achieve a podium result under such difficult conditions is a great effort. Now we’re looking ahead with optimism to the next race in Sebring. We are keen to repeat our victory there from last year.”

Patrick Pilet (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “I’m very disappointed, because we were really strong in the practice sessions and the first half of the race. We couldn’t quite maintain the performance in the rain. A collision cost us two laps in the race, but that wasn’t the decisive factor. I’m focussing on the positive aspects. Our car was extremely fast on a dry track. Our team and the driver trio are strong. So I’m heading to the upcoming race in Sebring feeling optimistic.”

Nick Tandy (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “The first hours were great fun. Our car was fast and reliable, I enjoyed thrilling duels against drivers of other brands. But then torrential rain came. Having to drive at Daytona in such conditions is a very different experience. But we can’t complain. It could have been much worse.”

Frédéric Makowiecki (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “I think we can be very proud of our performance this weekend. In the practice and qualifying sessions we were at the front, and in dry conditions we led the race over long periods. Unfortunately that changed completely once the rain set in. We experienced serious aquaplaning and therefore couldn’t quite maintain the pace. At the end of the day I’m left with many positive impressions.”

Earl Bamber (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “What a crazy race. We were extremely fast, we coped impressively with a bitter setback and we had a car to beat in dry conditions. The situation was different in the rain. We were no longer the fastest out there. All in all, we’ve started the season well with a podium result.”

Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “Everything was going fine until late at night. We’d set up our car for a high top speed and this worked perfectly in the dry, but we lacked downforce in the wet. I enjoy big challenges and I’m a fan of old-school racing, but these conditions were just crazy. When you’re driving at 290 km/h and you can only see two metres in front of you and you’re flying blind with 30 other cars on your tail all going the same speed, well, that just goes too far. I don’t ever want to experience something like this again.”

Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “Had it stayed dry, we would definitely have been able to fight for victory. Unfortunately we lacked a bit of speed in the wet. Third place was certainly the most we could do under these conditions. We can be proud of our performance and result. We’ve earned many points to start the season and are on the podium.”

In the GTD class, Porsche’s luck was even worse. The new-for-2019 GT3 R was fast and had plenty of power, but a seriously competitive GTD field and poor luck relegated the best finishing example to 8th. The Park Place Motorsports car had taken a full pit stop under green flag running just before the final caution, and subsequent red flag flew. If they’d been another two laps or so to the good, they’d have finished much higher up the running order. That’s how the cookie crumbles, I guess.

Black Swan, as seen in the video above, got rear ended at high speed, putting them out of the race late in the running. Similarly, on the initial failed restart from red flag conditions, the rad-in-plaid Pfaff Motorsports GT3 R ran headlong into a very slow Lamborghini to end their race prematurely. The NGT Motorsports car suffered a spin early on, and within a few laps had a complete engine failure, dumping fluids all over the track.

Porsche remains optimistic headed into the 12 Hours of Sebring in March.

Race result
GTLM class
1. Farfus/De Philippi/Eng/Herta (BMW #25), 571 laps
2. Rigon/Molina/Pier Guidi/Calado (Ferrari #62), 571 laps
3. Bamber/Vanthoor/Jaminet (Porsche #912), 570 laps 
4. Briscoe/Westbrook/Dixon (Ford #67), 570 laps
5. Pilet/Tandy/Makowiecki (Porsche #911), 569 laps 
6. Magnussen/Garcia/Rockenfeller (Corvette #3), 563 laps
7. Hand/Müller/Bourdais (Ford #66), 559 laps
8. Gavin/Milner/Fässler (Corvette #4), 555 laps
9. Krohn/Edwards/Mostert/Zanardi (BMW #24), 553 laps

GTD class
1. Ineichen/Bortolotti/Engelhart/Breukers (Lamborghini #11), 561 laps
2. Morad/Mies/Vanthoor (Audi #29), 561 laps
3. Montecalvo/Bell/Telitz/Segal (Lexus #12), 561 laps
8. Long/Campbell/Lindsey/Boulle (Porsche #73), 560 laps 
16. Werner/Cairoli/Seefried/Pappas (Porsche #540) 545 laps
19. Kern/Olsen/Robichon/Hargrove (Porsche #9), 470 laps
23. Müller/Bachler/Renauer/Häring/Görig (Porsche #99), 47 laps

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Everything You Need To Know About Porsche’s 919 Hybrid Evo Record Winner

Porsche’s 919 Hybrid Evo blew the world away this summer with brand new world records at Spa Francorchamps and the Nurburgring Nordschleife. Porsche owns the word fast with this car, as it simply beat up on everyone, setting laps faster than even Formula 1 could produce. While it is an extension of the 919 Hybrid that ran in the WEC across 2017, winning Le Mans and the championship, the car is really quite different. Instead of being set up for endurance racing and playing to a specific set of rules, Porsche built a car from the same platform that was specifically made for single lap pace. And it worked.

In the video below, the project leader for the 919 Hybrid Evo, as well as the two racing drivers that set world record lap times in the car, are around to give us the full situation when it comes to this wild and super fast car. Fast facts, if you will. In an ongoing continuation of Porsche’s Top Five series, here are the five areas of the now-retired lap record holder that they delve into:

5. The monster Suspension

4. The updated Michelin slick tires

3. The car’s integral hydraulics systems

2. The revised mega-downforce adjustable aerodynamics

1. and the more powerful engine and electric hybrid assist motors

The car has now been sent to the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, and indeed it was sitting on a rotating dais near the exit of the museum. It was quite interesting to see sitting still and after having seen it run really fast at Laguna Seca this summer, a little bit sad.

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Porsche Shows Off New Faster 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport Ahead Of Daytona Race Debut

Despite the fact that Porsche’s Cayman GT4 is no longer available through your local Porsche dealership, the nameplate and naturally aspirated engine continue to be offered as a track day toy or motorsport weapon. The GT4 Clubsport has been in competition for a few seasons now, and has proven quite competent in the hands of numerous privateers. With the death of the street GT4, and the Cayman’s revamp as 718 already two years gone, the race car didn’t relate to the street car visually. Porsche’s new 718 GT4 Clubsport rectifies that malady with updated bodywork to be more in tune with current corporate design language.

Aside from the visual update, the GT4 Clubsport receives a more powerful 3.8-liter naturally aspirated engine. Instead of the 385 horsepower of the previous generation model, the new GT4 receives the « Powerkit » version of that same engine with a meaningful 425 horsepower on tap, despite the naturally aspirated Carrera GTS having been out of production for a couple of years now. As before, the transmission is a special 6-speed PDK unit with a mechanical differential lock. Interestingly, Porsche is quite proud of the fact that the wing mounts and doors are constructed from a « natural fiber » composite, but don’t indicate what the fiber is.

The suspension is, again, taken directly from the GT3 Cup car at the front and a wildly track-modified Cayman rear setup. The racing brakes measure 380mm diameter worth of rotor on all four corners. Considering the GT4 Clubsport, as delivered, weighs just 2910 pounds, that should be more than enough brake to slow the car in rapid time.

Unlike the prior GT4 Clubsport, the new model comes in two states of delivery. The first, called « Trackday », is aimed at amateur drivers with less adjustability (The old racers adage of « If you give them something to adjust, they’ll adjust it wrong » applies), and retains the street car’s anti-lock braking, electronic stability control, and traction control. This model is sold with an air conditioning system, a rescue hatch in the roof, a handheld fire extinguisher, and a smaller fuel cell. This model, while not street legal, can be serviced at any Porsche Center. The other version, called « Competition », is explicitly for racing, as the name implies. This version includes onboard air jacks, adjustable shock absorbers, adjustable brake bias, and a larger 115 liter fuel tank for endurance races. The fire suppression system on the Competition GT4 is automatic.

The Trackday version will cost 134,000 Euro, while the Competition model is an extra 23,000 Euros more.

“The new Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport possesses significantly more racing genes than its successful predecessor,” says Porsche’s head of motorsport Fritz Enzinger. “The power of the engine has increased considerably. At the same time, we were able to increase the downforce and the cockpit is now even better suited to drivers’ needs. I’m confident that we can build on the excellent sales figures of the predecessor, of which we have delivered 421 cars.”

The new GT4 Clubsport will deliver to customers beginning in February, but some teams have already received theirs in order to prepare them for the season opening IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge ahead of the 24 Hours of Daytona.

Technical description Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport (Type 982)

Concept • Single-seater, near-standard production-based race car, not road homologated

Engine • Aluminium six-cylinder mid-positioned boxer engine with rigid mounting • 3,800 cc; stroke 77.5 mm, bore 102 mm • Max. power: 313 kW (425 hp) at 7,500 rpm • Max. rpm: 7,800 rpm • Max. torque: 425 Nm at 6,600 rpm • Compression ratio: 12.5:1 • Racing optimised water cooling with thermal management for engine and gearbox • Four-valve technology with adjustable camshaft phasing and variable valve timing VarioCam Plus • Fuel quality: Super Plus unleaded, minimum 98 octane • Racing optimised electronic engine management (Continental SDI 9) • Integrated dry sump lubrication • 100-cell metal catalytic converter complying with DMSB specifications

Transmission • Rear wheel drive • 6-speed PDK gearbox with rigid suspension and electronic control unit optimised for racing • Reinforced dual mass flywheel • Internal pressure oil lubrication with active oil cooling • Differential lock optimised for racing

Bodywork • Lightweight body in aluminium-steel composite construction • Welded-in roll cage, certified according to FIA Art. 277 • Front bonnet with quick release fasteners • Rear hood with quick release fasteners • Fixed rear wing with “swan neck” mount made of natural-fibre composite materials, including the sideblades, black aluminium wing supports with integrated carbon fibre Gurney flap • Driver and co-driver doors of natural-fibre composite materials • Roof including escape hatch, certified according to FIA Art. 275a • Recaro race bucket seat with longitudinal adjustment and padding system, adjustable to the individual needs of the drivers (in accordance with FIA Standard 8862/2009 – the latest FIA requirements) • Three-piston air jack system (“Competition”) • Pre-installed mounting points for three-piston air jack system (“Trackday”) • Provision for safety net • FIA-certified towing loops, front and rear • Motorsport centre console with enhanced functionality and adapted usability • Six-point safety harness • 115-litre FT3 safety fuel cell with “Fuel Cut Off” safety valve complying with FIA regulations (“Competition”) • 80-litre FT3 safety fuel cell with “Fuel Cut Off” safety valve complying with FIA regulations (“Trackday”)

Suspension Front axle: • MacPherson suspension strut, adjustable in height, camber and track • Forged suspension links: optimised stiffness, double shear mounting, high-performance spherical bearings • 5-bolt wheel hubs • Racing 3-way shock absorbers with rebound and 2-stage compression adjustment, high and low speed (“Competition”) • Fixed shock absorbers (“Trackday”) • Electromechanical power steering with variable steering ratio • Anti-roll bar, 3-hole design

Rear axle: • MacPherson suspension strut, adjustable in height, camber and track • Forged suspension links: optimised stiffness, double shear mounting, high-performance spherical bearings • 5-bolt wheel hubs • Racing 3-way shock absorbers with rebound and 2-stage compression adjustment, high and low speed (“Competition”) • Fixed shock absorbers (“Trackday”) • Adjustable blade-type anti-roll bar

Brake system Front axle: • Aluminium, mono-bloc six-piston racing callipers with “Anti Knock Back” piston springs • Steel brake discs, multi-piece, ventilated and grooved, 380 mm diameter • Racing brake pads • Brake balance adjustment via a balance bar system (“Competition”) • Brake booster (“Trackday”)

Rear axle: • Aluminium, mono-bloc four-piston racing callipers with “Anti Knock Back” piston springs • Steel brake discs, multi-piece, ventilated and grooved, 380 mm diameter • Racing brake pads • Brake balance adjustment via a balance bar system (“Competition”) • Brake booster (“Trackday”)

Electrics • COSWORTH instrument cluster ICD with integrated data logger • Upgraded fault diagnosis with PIWIS motorsport tester • Porsche Track Precision Race App • Integrated lap trigger via GPS signal • Electronic throttle system • Lightweight lithium-ion (LiFePo) battery, 60 Ah, leak-proof, mounted in passenger footwell (“Competition”) • Battery 12 V, 70 Ah (AGM), leak-proof, mounted in passenger footwell (“Trackday”) • Emergency cut-off switch in cockpit and outside left of the windscreen • Driving stability system PSM (Porsche Stability Management) with ABS, traction Control (TC) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC), able to be completely deactivated • Tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) • Central fire extinguishing system in accordance with FIA regulations (“Competition”) • Handheld fire extinguisher (“Trackday”) • Air conditioning • Electric wing mirror adjustment • Multifunctional CFRP motorsport steering wheel with pit speed limiter and quick release coupling (“Competition”) • Multifunctional motorsport steering wheel with pit speed limiter (“Trackday”) • Centre console with map switch to adjust the ABS, ESC, TC and switch between preset tyre circumferences

Weight/dimensions • Total weight: 1,320 kg • Total length: 4,456 mm • Total width: 1,778 mm • Total height: 1,238 mm • Wheelbase: 2,456 mm

Rims/Tyres Front axle: • One-piece light-alloy forged wheels in new weight-optimised rim design, 9J x 18 offset 28 with 5-bolt mounting • Delivered with Michelin transportation tyres, dimension: 25/64-18 • Michelin slick/wet tyres, dimension: 25/64-18

Rear axle: • One-piece light-alloy forged wheel in new weight-optimised rim design, 10.5J x 18.5 offset 53 with 5-bolt mounting • Delivered with Michelin transportation tyres, dimension: 27/68-18 • Michelin slick/wet tyres, dimension: 27/68-18

Colours • Water-based paint • Exterior: white C9A • Interior: white filler-coat, without lacquer

Delivery Starting in February 2019

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