As Porsche prepares their campaign to defend their World Endurance Championship (WEC) crown next week, the company pays tribute to the remarkable 4-cylinder engine that was used in their 919 Hybrid to take a one-two result at the Le Mans 24 Hours and both manufacturer’s and driver’s WEC titles last year.
Built in a 90-degree V-formation, the 2-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine was one of the most remarkable power units on the WEC grid. Said to produce ‘over 500hp’, this compact engine was tasked with driving the rear wheels, while an exhaust energy recovery system paired to a lithium-ion battery pack and e-machine were used to drive the front wheels. Put together, Porsche says that the 919 Hybrid had an overall system power output of around 900hp.
Sadly the V4 engine in the 2015 919 Hybrid would be as powerful as it is going to get as the WEC series is slowly tightening their belts on the amount of fuel each Le Mans prototype race car can use. This is done to put more emphasis on energy efficiency and recovery systems, though regulations allow engineers the freedom to choose between diesel and petrol engines, naturally aspirated or turbocharged methods with varying engine displacements, and one or two energy recovery systems.
For 2016, regulations has outlined that each prototype would have to use a lower amount of energy from the fuel used per lap and have thus reduced the fuel flow for all the competing prototype race cars. As such Porsche says that the engine in their 2016 919 Hybrid racer will produce ‘less than 500hp’. The engine will be put on display at race events exhibitions, and in the Porsche Museum at Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen.
For the average man on the street however, Porsche says the technology and experience learnt from running the 4-cylinder engine in 2014 and 2015 is now seen in the new 2.5-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged boxer engine in the new 718 Boxster.
The 2016 WEC season will kick off from 25th March with a Prologue event at Paul Ricard circuit in France, while the season highlight, the 24 Hours of Le Mans will take place on the 18th of June. Excluding the Prologue event and Le Mans, the WEC series will comprise of nine races in nine countries.