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Nurburgring Lap Record

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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It’s Happening! Porsche Is Testing The 919 Hybrid Evo At The Nurburgring

A few weeks ago, after Porsche set the new lap time record at Spa Francorchamps with the new no-holds-barred rule breaking 919 Hybrid Evo, we speculated that Porsche could be bringing that bonkers ludicrous-speed car to the Nordschleife in order to take down that decades old Bellof record. Not only that, but we extrapolated that Porsche could even set a lap in the sub-5 minute range.

Some people thought we were out of our minds to say that. They thought Porsche would never break that long-standing record. They thought the 919 couldn’t break that record. They thought Porsches drivers couldn’t possibly navigate that tough course at the kinds of speeds necessary to break that five-minute barrier. We believe in Porsche, and there are certainly rumors that we may have been correct.


Porsche has been testing with Timo Bernhard on the Nordschleife, and as you can see in the above tweet, they are teasing that he may come back with the car in the near future. Then again, people thought they were just testing at Spa the day before they announced the record had been broken, and Timo was certainly moving at speed in his laps as shown in the video below.


With Le Mans looming, it is somewhat interesting that Porsche is devoting some of their motorsport attention to such a non-competitive effort. We sure are glad they are, however.


Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo Hatzenbach ???

Posted by Ring Allstars on Monday, June 4, 2018

Whenever the actual record attempt does occur, we cannot wait to see the onboard video. The 919 Evo travels at practically warp speed, and the views through the windshield are unbelievable. This kind of marketing-driven adventure with a now defunct racing car is the kind of thing that gives me life, as the youths say.


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If Porsche Were Going To Attempt To Break The Nürburgring Lap Record, Just How Fast Would The 919 Evo Be?

The Record Book

Ever since Porsche started hinting at the fact that they’d be aiming for track records in 2018, we’ve been discussing the possibility of Porsche using the 919 Hybrid LMP1 to tackle the outright Nürburgring lap record that has been unbeaten since 1983, when Stefan Bellof set an incredible pole lap of 6:11.13 in the now-famous Rothmans 956. That time was five seconds clear of anything anyone had ever done before, and it’s not been matched or exceeded since.

It has been said in the past that nobody would attempt to mount an effort on that lap time out of respect for Bellof, but perhaps honoring him by letting the record stand for 35 years and essentially needing a four-wheeled super machine time-warping hybrid super prototype to beat his record is the best way to let this happen? Furthermore, the Nürburgring has had its specification changed a couple of times in the last 35 years, so the two records could technically be separated by that caveat.

Tearing Up The Rule Book

So what did Porsche do to the 919 Hybrid to make it both faster than an F1 car, and produce more downforce than an F1 car? What has us so convinced that this Porsche is even capable of beating Bellof’s Nordschleife time? They tore up the rule book, that’s what.

WEC regulations require LMP1 cars to run at a specific fuel efficiency rate, limiting fuel flow per lap. Last year, Porsche was allowed just 2.464 liters of gasoline for a lap of the Spa circuit. That equates to 6.7 miles per gallon, which is quite high for a race car. By supplying the engine with more fuel, Porsche was able to shove more boost into their 2.0-liter V4. Running the same E20 bio-ethanol fuel they used in 2017, Porsche was able to crank that little engine up to 110%, making a whopping 720 horsepower rather than the 500 horses the 919 produced in WEC specification. Porsche was also limited to the amount of electric power they could use at Spa in 2017, making just 6.37 megajoules, which was below Porsche’s stated potential. During the 2017 pole lap, the electric assist had to be meted out where it was most effective to help the lap time. This time, however, driver Neel Jani could push the hybrid assist on wherever it was possible, having more than enough juice for the lap. Furthermore, the electric output was pumped up 10% from 400 horsepower to 440 horsepower.

When you’re going for a lap record rather than fitting inside the tight confines of an FIA rulebook, the aerodynamic bits can be pushed to their limits as well. The 919 Evo was developed with a new front diffuser that is much larger than the WEC-specification model, which helps to balance the new larger rear wing. The rear aerofoil is not only deeper in chord, but it is much wider as well, producing much more downforce effect. Thew new wing features a rearward standoff, which increases efficiency, and a bulging wing stanchions to accommodate its massive width. Not only that, but Porsche made both the diffuser and the rear wing aerodynamically active, with a hydraulically activated trim system to make the 919 more efficient on straights without reducing downforce through the corners. Porsche says the 919 Evo achieves 53% more downforce while increasing efficiency by 66% compared to the 2017-spec car.

Weight Loss,

Also critical to the lap time boost was the car’s loss of 86 pounds of extraneous components. Anything that was not critical to single-lap performance was dumped. You’ll notice that this 919 does not have headlights, because lap records are all done in the daylight. They also tossed away the air conditioning system, the windscreen wiper, most of the car’s condition sensors (helpful over a four-hour stint, but useless for a single lap), many of the 919’s race control devices, and the internal pneumatic jack system. The whole kit and caboodle now weighs just 1871 pounds.

In order to help the 919 Evo achieve such incredible feats, Porsche worked directly with Michelin to develop a new compound of tire that was capable of working on a car that produces more downforce than an LMP1 car typically does. Keeping the same tire dimensions as the 919 Hybrid used in 2017, a 31/71-18, the two companies set out to increase the level of grip significantly. Of course Michelin was able to deliver the new compound tires with the kind of grip Porsche desired, without any reduction in tire safety.

Porsche also developed a four-wheel brake-by-wire system so the car’s computer could independently brake each wheel as an additional measure of yaw control. The 919 Evo did gain back some of its lost weight as Porsche had to develop a more aggressive power steering system to handle the higher g-force loading, as well as beefed up suspension wishbones at all four corners.

919 Vs. 956

Comparing the 2018-spec 919 Evo to a 35-year-old Group C car is almost impossible. The two cars could not be further separated from each other. They’re both turbocharged, they both weigh around 800 kilos, they both make use of advanced aerodynamic concepts, and they both take a driver with massive cojones to wrestle them into submission.

The 956 features a 2.65-liter turbocharged flat six engine mated to a manually-shifted 5-speed transmission. In period, it made around 650 horsepower and was one of the fastest things on four wheels upon its introduction in 1982. The car swept the podium on debut at Le Mans, with Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell running in the lead from flag to flag for the entire 24 hours. Until the 956 was retired in favor of the updated 962, it was successful and incredibly fast.

The 919 Hybrid is Porsche’s most recent Le Mans winner, taking three victories in three years, just before retiring to pursue lap records at the end of last year. You’re likely already familiar with the 919’s carbon monocoque design, spaceship looks, and hybrid powertrain. It’s a 2.0-liter V4 turbocharged engine with a pair of hybrid assist systems, including motors at the front wheels to provide all-wheel-drive traction, as well as electrified turbocharger turbines to help eliminate boost lag to the small engine. In Le Mans trim last year, the 919 developed around 900 horsepower, but Porsche claims over 1,160 combined horse power from the full system in Evo spec.

Comparing Lap Times

For the record, I spent way too much time trying to do the math on all of this, and the result is still speculation. Allow me to get nerdy for a minute.

You can see by these numbers that the 956 was slightly quicker around most of these tracks than last year’s 919 Hybrid. The problem with direct comparisons, however, is that all of these circuits have been slightly modified in some way or another. Most famously, the Le Mans circuit was modified with a pair of chicanes in the 90s. Similarly, chicanes have been added to all of the fastest portions of these famed circuits, so while both Porsches raced and qualified on the same ground, the 919 is at an average-speed disadvantage, because this adds to the number of times the car has to slow down and accelerate back up to speed. The fact that the 919 posts nearly the same time as the 956 at Le Mans proves just how much quicker that car is, as it has two additional runs up through the gearbox to complete a lap. I am forced to assume that if the 956 and 919 were running on the same course, the 919 would beat it every time.

In order to get a speculative answer for about how quick a 919 Evo could possibly be at the Nürburgring, I figured out the average lap speed for each of these circuits. By averaging the average lap speeds of the 956s run at Silverstone, Spa, Le Mans, and Fuji, I was able to determine the car’s approximate average qualifying speed across all four circuits. Compared to the car’s average, the Nürburgring lap time is run at about 6% slower than the other courses. Here comes the speculative extrapolation.

By figuring that the 919 Evo’s F1-beating lap time at Spa this weekend was around 27% faster, and the Nürburgring Nordschleife is about a 6% deficit from standard race courses, I applied these factors to the 2017 Porsche 919’s average lap speed. Across the four WEC events above, the 2017-spec 919 managed an average average lap speed of 214.594 Km/H. Factor that the 919 Evo is 27% faster and you get a four-race speculative average of 272.535 Km/H. Reduce that by the Nürburgring’s 6% factor, and you get 256.182 Km/H. With the equation ‘distance/speed=time’, we can do some solving for X. We know the Nürburgring’s lap distance is 20.810 Km, and we have calculated a not wholly arbitrary average speed at which the 919 Evo could accomplish the lap.

20.810 / X = 256.182

That X is our time, in hours, and by reviving the part of my brain that held High School Algebra, I solved for the variable. In this case, X = 0.0812313 Hours, giving us an answer of 4:52.428

Will Porsche Actually Run The 919 Evo At The Nürburgring?

That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? The fact is, running a car this fast on a track like the Nordschliefe is still an incredibly dangerous proposition. There is a reason the 35 year old record still stands, because no open-wheel racers have gone and given it an attempt. I’m sure Neel Jani has attempted to run the factory simulator loading up the new car and the legendary track, and I’m sure he’s confident he could smash that record time. I’m also sure that I don’t want any part of driving an 1100 horsepower car around that track. That sounds frightening.

The schedule for Porsche’s 919 Tribute world tour does have a date on it for the Nürburgring, but that is listed only as a « demo lap ». Perhaps they will give Neel the ultimate decision to go for it or not. As much as I’d love to see that record broken, especially with something as bonkers as the 919 Evo, I’d also hate to see him fail. Then again, this is exactly what this car was built for, dominating the stopwatch. What do you say? Should Porsche risk it all and go for it, or are they better off playing it safe?


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Porsche’s Most Significant Moments Of 2017

2017 was an interesting year for Porsche and fans of the brand. We had a great year of bringing you the most important Porsche news stories and entertainment, and thanks for reading along. Over the last twelve months, the Porsche community has grown in a big way with Porsche setting sales records seemingly every month, we’ve seen a big jump in enthusiast-backed events and social gatherings, and there were quite a few significant motorsport victories. Here’s our breakdown of 2017 from the perspective of a Porsche enthusiast.

1. Porsche Wins Le Mans

For the third year in a row, Porsche can call themselves Le Mans victors. This was a hard fought race that wasn’t without tumultuous times. Basically both of the Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1s suffered failures, but the three Toyota TS050s suffered worse failures. Porsche’s final margin of victory over the leading LMP2 was only one lap. It was certainly an exciting finish, and one that won’t soon be forgotten. Sadly it was also the 919 Hybrid’s final season this year, so there definitely will not be a repeat win for 2018. You can read more about it here.

2. All The New Car Launches

This year was seriously busy for Porsche new car launches. In addition to a brand new Cayenne, Porsche debuted the wild GT2 RS, the now-available-in-manual GT3, wagon and hyper hybrid versions of the Panamera, GTS variants of the 718 range, the minimalist Carrera T, and the extra special 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series.

3. Patrick Long Wins Pirelli World Challenge Championship

We can’t help but feel this flew just a little bit under the Porsche community radar. Patrick Long, now in his 15th year of competition as a Porsche factory driver, won the Pirelli World Challenge GT championship with Wright Motorsports. After missing out on the championship last year thanks to a last-lap punt from an elderly Cadillac driver (typical), he came back in 2017 with a vengeance, winning four of 19 rounds, and taking the championship by 27 points over Cadillac’s Michael Cooper. Well done, Patrick.

4. Porsche Announces Rennsport Reunion 6

logo for Porsche's Rennsport Reunion VI

We absolutely loved Rennsport Reunion V, and can’t wait until the next one. Announced for late September of 2018, you’d better get your plans settled now, because this is going to be a huge Porsche show that you don’t want to miss.

5. New Mid-engine 911 RSR Launches 

Porsche finally submitted to competitive pressure and unveiled their mid-engine 911 RSR racer for the 2017 racing season. This car was responsible for factory-backed efforts in IMSA’s GTLM class and the FIA WEC’s GTE Pro category. Unlike 2016, the car proved competitive in both series, taking wins both in the US and overseas. While they didn’t win either championship (largely due to poor luck), they had a great showing this year, and we look forward to seeing how competitive they can be in 2018 (did you see there will be four factory cars at Le Mans in 2018? Awesome!).

6. Emory Porsche Campout Returns

What can be said about Emory Porsche Campout that hasn’t already been said? It was a three day event up in Oregon that we are so happy to have been a part of. The entire Emory family played host to hundreds of Porsche fans from all over the country, and it was a ton of fun. With a car show, a film festival, and a bit of diving for parts, we were in awe of this event. Sadly it’s no longer annual, so we’ll have to wait a few years to see such an event again. If you get the chance to go, absolutely go! Read more about the event here.

7. The Millionth 911 Built

It’s hard to believe that as popular as Porsche’s famed 911 is, it took over 50 years for them to sell one million units. This gorgeous green car is the one-millionth example to roll off Porsche’s 911 assembly line, and it pays homage to many different cues from those first 901 models. It’s a truly special car, and it deserves its place in Porsche’s museum. It’s just so vintage cool.

8. Luftgekuhlt Continues Growth In 4th Year

Despite the overcast day and early morning rain, Patrick Long and Howie Idelson managed to kick off Luftgekühlt 4 without any issues, attracting a huge crowd of aircooled Porsches and spectators alike. The venue wasn’t quite as visually stunning as Luft 3, but the cars were laid out in a coherent and attractive way by event organizers. They worked hard on this one and deserved the huge attendance they received. We now know the date for Luftgekühlt 5 and will bring you more details as we get them.

9. Porsche 911 GT2 RS Sets Nürburgring Lap Record

For the most part, we don’t hold much esteem for street car lap times. There are so many factors at play here that can give one car a faster time than another, and that’s particularly the case at the Nürburgring. Then again, Porsche’s most powerful 911 in history beat up on a wildly powerful mid-engine V10 Lamborghini, so the bragging rights are deserved. The fact that a 911 variant is faster even than Porsche’s recent hybrid hypercar really puts the development of speed into perspective. Well done, Porsche.

10. Porsche Sells More Cars Than Ever Before

With more models and variants than ever before, Porsche is selling more cars than ever before. While SUVs are now the majority of Porsche’s sales numbers, they’re still selling quite a few sports cars that we enthusiasts are happy to drive. With big sales numbers comes more investment in these super fast and super fun sports cars. Without the four-cylinder Macan, we might not have had the GT2 RS. Keep it up Porsche, here’s to an even stronger 2018 sales year! Here are the latest sales numbers.

The post Porsche’s Most Significant Moments Of 2017 appeared first on FLATSIXES.


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