LM24: Porsche announces Le Mans return for 2014.

The 917K sports 5000 prototype of KG Salzburg; Porsche's first outright Le Mans winner. - Image courtesy Porsche Motorsport.

The 917K sports 5000 prototype of KG Salzburg; Porsche's first outright Le Mans winner. - Image courtesy Porsche Motorsport.

After years of intense speculation, Porsche AG today confirmed its long-rumoured intentions for a return to the top-tier of sports prototype racing via the release of a promotional video (see below), signaling its plans to enter the currently factory-diesel dominated LMP1 ranks as of 2014.

Porsche Motorsport revealed preliminary details of the marque’s historic return by announcing the undertaking of its LMP1 development programme, with a planned factory assault for outright honours at the the 2014 edition of the Le Mans 24 hour event.

Technical information has not yet been provided. Further details regarding the nature of the chassis, engine, or programme are yet to be confirmed.

Porsche's most recent outright Le Mans winner, the 911 GT1. - Image courtesy Porsche Motorsport.

Porsche's most recent outright Le Mans winner, the 911 GT1. - Image courtesy Porsche Motorsport.

“Porsche’s successes in Le Mans are unrivalled. We want to follow up on this with the 17th outright victory.” – Matthias Müller, President of the Executive Board at Porsche AG.

Given Porsche’s already clear desire for the development, demonstration, and motorsport application of energy recovery technologies (as evidenced by the GT3R Hybrid), the manufacturer’s new LMP is expected to be bear a petrol-hybrid powertrain. This is yet to be confirmed by official sources, and likely dependent on allowances afforded by (not-yet published) ACO technical regulations.

Porsche last raced for outright honours in 1998, when the marque’s factory lineup of McNish, Ortelli and Aiello secured the German manufacturer’s sixteenth and most recent outright victory at Le Mans.

What effect (if any) the announcement may have on the motorsport future of VAG sister company, Audi is yet to be confirmed.

Edit:

AudiSport official response:

“This is the decision of Porsche company, a decision in which Audi is not involved. Audi relishes the prospect of every strong new opponent at Le Mans and in the new FIA World Endurance Championship. Porsche’s entry into the LMP1 class is evidence of the high level of attraction of sport prototypes.”

Video:

Comments: 

Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport:

“We’re looking forward to the task of developing new technologies and to continue on with the success of the Porsche RS Spyder. After the conclusion of our works-supported sports prototype programme in the American Le Mans Series we have kept up with the latest technological advances.

Now we will begin with detailed research in order to evaluate the various concept alternatives for our new car. These obviously depend on how the regulations for the year 2014 look in detail. In principle, these regulations are interesting for us because the integration of our hybrid technology in the vehicle concept is one possible option.”

LMS: Hope-Polevision Unveils Hybrid Powered Future.

 

HPV's Oreca FLM09 contesting the ILMC series finale at Zhuhai. - Image Courtesy Hope Polevision.

HPV's Oreca FLM09 contesting the ILMC series finale at Zhuhai. - Image Courtesy Hope Polevision.

Formula Le Mans team, Hope PoleVision have become a familiar name on the European sportscar scene and, after an impressive showing throughout the Le Mans series, have recently rounded out their 2010 season with a successful finish at the ILMC finale in Zhuhai, China.

In a surprise announcement, the Swiss team has revealed ambitious plans to enter the highly-competitive LMP1 category equipped with hybrid technology in 2011. In light of the announcements, the squad has unveiled a partnership with Oreca, which will see the use of a modified Oreca-01 chassis with KERS system attached.

Opting against utilisation of heavy and (currently) inefficient means of battery storage, the team will utilise KERS Hybrid equipment of mechanical derivation, similar to the system seen in Porsche’s GT3R Hybrid. Designed by energy recovery specialists Flybrid, the system will accompany a 2.0L gasoline powerplant, engineered by Lehmann. Technical details regarding the engine package are not yet known.

Team co-owner, Benoit Morand made the following statements:

“We looked at several options that were available, both on the market and specially designed for us that we could implement,” Sayer said. “We chose the mechanical route because we feel for the environment, from the start of the product to the finish of the product, and its life on the track, the mechanical system is 100 percent recyclable and we don’t have any chemicals involved.”

“We want to be in a position to run just behind the works teams, to stand out and catch the eye of a manufacturer for 2012. To aim for outright victory, we’ll need the resources of a factory squad to be able to take the fight to the front runners.”

Although both Peugeot and Audi squads are rumoured to be investigating the feasibility of hybrid technology for inclusion within their respective chassis, the announcement sees Hope Polevision lay it’s stake as the first privateer operation to embark on the hybrid development journey.

Tokai University announces LMP1 Hybrid development.

Tokai University's Courage LC70, Le Mans 2008 - Image courtesy Speedtv.com

After narrowly missing out on a Le Mans 2010 invite, the Tokai University team has announced an ambitious undertaking for 2011.  In a recent interview with Endurance-Info, Professor Hayashi Yoshimisa (Program director) revealed plans to develop an LMP1 Hybrid system for use in 2011.

Yoshimisa also stated that the team had been testing over the winter, working on aerodynamic, suspension, and engine developments with the aim of improving both performance/reliability, and reducing the overall weight of the car.

While Yoshimisa revealed very little regarding the team’s latest project, the proposed system is said to differ from traditional Hybrid technologies (i.e. KERS).

Porsche GT3-R Hybrid ALMS bound?

GT3_Hybrid

Image courtesy Autoblog.com

Two days ago, Porsche’s GT3-R Hybrid turned it’s first competitive laps at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, during the season-opening round of the VLN championship.

The Manthey-supported GT3-R Hybrid, driven by Porsche works regulars, Bergmeister, Lietz, and Ragginger, managed an impressive sixth place on it’s race debut. With the sister car of Lieb/Tiemann/Bernhard taking victory ahead of factory-supported entries from Audi (Abt-Sport), and BMW (Schnitzer).

Porsche motorsport spokesmen, Steve Janisse and Andy Schupak claim that Porsche is currently in discussions with ALMS organisers to bring the GT3-R Hybrid to North America.

Porsche aims to have the car competing by late 2010, with the goal of participating in the Petit Le Mans classic.

Note that with ILMC (Intercontinental Le Mans Cup) rounds operated under fully ACO-compliant regulations (i.e. Petit Le Mans), any plans for participation would first require an ACO stamp of approval and, due to the base-chassis being a GT3-homologated design (e.g. outside of traditional class structure), special dispensation.

Porsche announces all-star Nürburgring 24H lineup.

 

 

GT3-R Hybrid

Porsche's GT3R Hybrid. - Image Courtesy PorscheAG.

 

Early last week, Sportscargeek covered Manthey racing’s announcement to support eight cars for the Nürburgring 24 hour, one of those cars being the recently unveiled GT3-R Hybrid. Yesterday, Porsche Motorsports announced the all-star lineup that will handle driving duties during the legendary 24 hour race.

The crew consists of Porsche factory heavyweights Jörg Bergmeister, Richard Lietz, Martin Ragginger, and Porsche-Junior team driver, Marco Holzer.

The quartet has no shortage of experience, Bergmeister having achieved back to back ALMS championships with the Flying Lizard team, Lietz taking victory in the 2009 LMS championship (with partner Marc Lieb, also part of the Manthey squad), Ragginger managing two podiums during the 2009 FIA-GT season, and Holzer recently achieving victory in the Dubai 24 hours, all drivers are well versed in the art of endurance.