Fierce competition in hybrid
technology among auto makers keeps
the World Endurance Championship’s
LMP1 category humming with new
machinery and fresh approaches.
Reigning WEC and Le Mans 24 Hours
champion Porsche has prepared three
distinct aerodynamic packages for its
919 Hybrid to suit a variety of tracks.
And in pre-season testing at Paul Ricard,
where it was consistently fastest,
Porsche’s drivers produced almost
identical times to the year before –
All-new cars and varied tech approaches for this year’s war of the marques at Le Mans
WEC’S ALTERNATING CURRENTS
despite new rules reducing each car’s
per-lap fuel allocation by 7. 5 percent.
A “fundamentally new” aero concept
for Audi’s latest R18 e-tron quattro is led
by a raised nose, while the monocoque,
four-liter, turbo-diesel V6 engine and
transmission are all new. Audi has also
switched from the flywheel energy
storage system of previous R18 hybrids
to lithium-ion battery technology similar
to that used by Porsche.
Toyota, which slumped last year after
its title-winning 2014 campaign, strikes
back with an all-new TS050 HYBRID
powered by a turbo V6, replacing the
naturally-aspirated V8 of its predecessor.
“A naturally-aspirated V8 can provide
good peak efficiency, but in a narrow rev
range,” noted Toyota’s technical director,
Pascal Vasselon. “The turbo is able to be
much more robust and more consistent
in terms of peak fuel efficiency.”
Toyota also switches from supercapacitor
energy storage to a lithium-ion battery
system, as it moves up from the six to
eight megajoule energy-recovery band.
Ferrari’s new 488 established enduro cred
by winning the GTD class at Sebring with
Jeff Segal, Christina Nielsen and Alessandro
Balzan. They started from the pole, too, so
it’s not just a long-distance runner.
Although rule makers try
to trim their sails, tech
advances on the works
LMP1s keep moving the
Revised version of last year’s all-
conquering LMP1 features an even
lighter engine, lower fuel consumption.
2016 Porsche 919 Hybrid