Porsche 919 racing V4 detailed in intricate new images

Jewel-like images give us a glimpse at the engine that powered Porsche to victory in last year's World Endurance Championship

It’s as if Porsche has sensed the slight air of disappointment around its latest road cars. Perhaps not, but it’s a little too convenient that just as grumblings about turbocharged Carreras and four-cylinder Boxsters arise, the company chooses to remind us just what its engineers are capable of.

And so for the first time, Porsche has revealed images of the tiny, jewel-like engine that resides behind the rear bulkhead of its 919 Hybrid LMP1 car and utilises both forced induction and down-sizing.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to our exclusive new offer and SAVE 39% on the shop price, get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £20!

That this engine - a 2-litre turbocharged V4 - has won in the top class of endurance racing is some achievement. That it has done so when the 919 Hybrid’s closest rivals have rolled out the heavy artillery in the form of a 4-litre V6 turbodiesel (Audi) and a 3.7-litre V8 (Toyota) is even more impressive.

In fact last season Porsche collected the WEC drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles, securing a one-two finish at the Le Mans 24 Hours along the way. So this is a hugely successful engine, and the message from Porsche to everybody who loves sports cars is clear: stop worrying about the future, and buy our cars.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The engine, polished here to within an inch of its life, is part of a powertrain that features an exhaust energy recovery system and lithium-ion batteries that power an electric motor on the front axle. Alexander Hitzinger, the technical director responsible for the 919 Hybrid, describes it as a brave concept that is now paying off. That must be a pneumatic drill to the ears of Ralf Jüttner, his counterpart at Audi.

With such sophisticated technology, the link that Porsche so energetically attempts to draw between the 919 Hybrid’s powerplant and that of the 718 Boxster may seem tenuous (one is arranged in a vee while the other is horizontally opposed, for a start), but there are some parallels that stem from the fact that Hitzinger’s team work closely with engineers for the production cars. These parallels are said to concern ‘combustion development’ and ‘fuel-mixture generation’, but beyond these we’re left to draw our own conclusions.

In preparation for the 2016 WEC season, tightened restrictions on the amount of fuel the teams can burn has meant that the V4’s output has officially dropped from ‘more than’ 500bhp to ‘less than’ 500bhp. The full petrol-electric powertrain is still good for around 900bhp, however, so the 919 Hybrid should still be quick enough to put the wind up an F1 car.

The season-opener is the Silverstone 6 Hours on April 17. Other dates to put in your diary are for the Spa-Francorchamps 6 Hours (May 7), the Le Mans 24 Hours (June 18), the Nürburgring 6 Hours (July 24), and the Mexico City 6 Hours (September 3), which will be the first time the WEC has visited the Central American country.

Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/peugeot/201948/peugeot-to-launch-le-mans-hypercar-for-2022-wec-season
Peugeot

Peugeot to launch Le Mans hypercar for 2022 WEC season

13 Nov 2019
Visit/porsche/911/201865/porsche-919-hybrid-review-driving-one-of-stuttgarts-most-successful-racers
Porsche 911

Porsche 919 Hybrid review - driving one of Stuttgart's most successful racers

18 Oct 2019
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/mercedes-cla45-amg-hatchback/22953/mercedes-amg-cla-45-s-coupe-uk-review
Mercedes CLA45 AMG hatchback

Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S coupe UK review

The more stylish version of eCoty 2019’s bronze medallist is as impressive on UK roads as it was overseas
28 Mar 2020
Visit/nissan/202389/this-nissan-juke-r-can-be-yours-for-719579
Nissan Juke R

This Nissan Juke-R can be yours for $719,579

Near-700bhp Nissan special project Juke-R goes up for sale in Germany 
30 Mar 2020
Visit/ferrari/f40/6214/ferrari-f40-review-history-prices-and-specs
Ferrari F40

Ferrari F40 – review, history, prices and specs

Despite having a turbocharged V8 instead of a normally aspirated V12, the F40 is often regarded as the greatest-ever Ferrari road car
21 Mar 2020
Visit/features/22907/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-col-de-turini
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019