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Porsche 919 Hybrid

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Porsche 919 Hybrid
Porsche 919 Hybrid 20.jpg
A Porsche 919 Hybrid at the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans
CategoryLMP1-H
ConstructorPorsche AG
PredecessorPorsche RS Spyder
Technical specifications[1]
ChassisComposite of carbon fibre with honeycomb aluminium core
Suspension (front)Independent multi-link pushrod configuration with adjustable shock absorbers
Suspension (rear)Same as front
Length4,650 mm (183 in)
Width1,900 mm (75 in)
Height1,050 mm (41 in)
EnginePorsche 2.0 L (2,000 cc) direct-injected turbocharged V4 engine with lithium-ion battery for energy recovery in mid-mounted longitudinal configuration
TransmissionPorsche seven-speed hydraulically-activated sequential gearbox with rear-lock differential
Weight875 kg (1,929 lb)
(before driver or fuel)
FuelEsso/Mobil Synergy race fuels
LubricantsMobil 1
TiresMichelin Radial 310/710-18, front and rear
Competition history
Notable entrantsGermany Porsche Team
Notable driversNew Zealand Earl Bamber
Germany Timo Bernhard
France Romain Dumas
New Zealand Brendon Hartley
Germany Nico Hülkenberg
Switzerland Neel Jani
Germany Marc Lieb
Australia Mark Webber
United Kingdom Nick Tandy
Germany André Lotterer
Debut2014 6 Hours of Silverstone
RacesWinsPodiumsPolesF.Laps
331743114
Constructors' Championships3 (2015 FIA WEC), (2016 FIA WEC), (2017 FIA WEC)
Drivers' Championships3 (2015 FIA WEC), (2016 FIA WEC), (2017 FIA WEC)

The Porsche 919 Hybrid is a Le Mans Prototype 1 (LMP1) sports car built and used by the German manufacturer Porsche in the 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 seasons of the FIA World Endurance Championship. It was Porsche's first all-new prototype since the RS Spyder and the first to compete in sports car racing's premier level since the Porsche 911 GT1. Work on the car began in mid-2011 and its monocoque was finalised at the end of 2012 with inspiration from the 911 GT3 R Hybrid racing car and the 918 Spyder hybrid-powered sports vehicle. The car features two separate energy recovery hybrid systems to recover thermal energy from exhaust gases and convert kinetic energy into electrical energy under braking for storage into lithium-ion battery packs. In accordance with the 2014 regulations, the vehicle was placed in the 6 MJ (1.7 kWh) class. Its engine, a 2 l (120 cu in) 90-degree angled mid-mounted, V4 mono turbocharged petrol power unit produced 500 hp (370 kW) and acted as a chassis load bearing member.

The 919 Hybrid was shown to the press for the first time during the Geneva Motor Show on 4 March 2014. Porsche supplied two cars, driven by six drivers, for the season. Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb won three pole positions and the season-ending 6 Hours of São Paulo as Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber helped the team finish third in the World Manufacturers' Championship. The car was further developed in accordance with the 2015 regulations. Its front was reshaped and weight was reduced by manufacturing the chassis as one. The hybrid system was made lighter and more efficient to produce additional power and was categorised into the 8 MJ (2.2 kWh) category. Bernhard, Hartley and Webber won four out of the eight contested races to claim the 2015 World Endurance Drivers' Championship and the World Manufacturers' Championship. Furthermore, Earl Bamber, Nico Hülkenberg and Nick Tandy triumphed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, driving a third 919 Hybrid.

The car was further developed for the 2016 season. Many of its components were improved through detailed performance enhancements and reducing overall weight. The engine was made lighter and the car's hybrid system was made more efficient and powerful. Three distinct body kits were created by Porsche to aerodynamically match the 919 Hybrid to a track. Dumas, Jani and Lieb won the 6 Hours of Silverstone along with the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Afterwards, consistent performances from the trio helped them clinch the 2016 World Endurance Drivers' Championship and the second for the team. Although Bernhard, Hartley and Webber had reliability issues in the season's first three races, the trio took victory in four of the campaign's six remaining rounds to help Porsche win its second World Manufacturers' Championship in a row.

Further development was undertaken for the 2017 season. The car was redesigned at the front to make it less aerodynamically sensitive from small debris and its rearward air intakes were redesigned for the radiators to cool the engine. Tandy and former Audi LMP1 driver André Lotterer joined Jani in place of Dumas and Lieb while Bamber was paired with Bernhard and Hartley to fill in for the retired Webber. Porsche finished on the podium in 2017's first two rounds. Bamber, Bernhard and Hartley recovered from the 13-lap deficit from having their car's front motor–generator replaced to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The trio won three more races and took Porsche's third consecutive World Drivers' and Manufacturers' Championships at the season's penultimate round, the 2017 6 Hours of Shanghai. The 919 Hybrid project was discontinued after 2017 to allow Porsche to focus on entering Formula E and an evolution of the car called the 919 Evo was demonstrated throughout 2018.

A total of 9 chassis were built.[2]

Development[edit]

Concept[edit]

In mid-May 2011, Porsche decided to compete as a works team in the Le Mans Prototype 1 (LMP1) category for the newly-created FIA World Endurance Championship that began in 2012.[3] The manufacturer publicly announced the plans two months later and stated that the car would debut in the 2014 season.[4] Around this time, the Porsche Motorsport Centre Flacht in Weissach expanded its operations to 200 full-time employees on the project's design, assembly and deployment.[5] Porsche employed Fritz Enzinger from fellow German marque BMW to serve as vice-president of LMP1 in late 2011 and oversaw the organisation of the vehicle's construction. At the end of the same year, they employed Alex Hitzinger, former Head of F1 Development for engine builder Cosworth and later Red Bull Racing's Head of Advanced Technologies, was responsible for the car's technical design.[6]

The car was named the 919 Hybrid as an acknowledgement of Porsche's embarkation into hybrid car technology and to honour its tradition of similarly named vehicles competing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.[7] It was the manufacturer's first sports car prototype built since the RS Spyder debuted in 2005, the first sports car racing prototype constructed by the company to compete in the top category of sportscar racing since the 1998 Porsche 911 GT1-98 and Porsche LMP1-98 and the first sports-prototype to be raced by them as a factory operation since the Porsche 911 GT1-98 and Porsche LMP1-98.[8]

Design[edit]

The monocoque was finalised at the end of 2012 and was designed for maximum efficiency while meeting the 2014 LMP1 regulations on driver visibility with a raised cockpit.[9] The 919 Hybrid's developers forwent their rivals' LMP1 experience since they had been a recent entry into the category. Because of this, they drew inspiration from their prior forays with the 911 GT3 R Hybrid racing car from 2010 and 2011 and its hybrid-powered sports vehicle, the 918 Spyder.[10] The 2014 LMP1 regulations mandated that the car be no longer than 4,650 mm (183 in), be around 1,800 mm (71 in) to 1,900 mm (75 in) wide and be 1,050 mm (41 in) tall.[11] The aerodynamic fine-tuning of the carbon fibre with honeycomb aluminum core chassis began in February 2012,[10] and 2,000 hours were spent in the wind tunnels at its Weissach facilities and the University of Stuttgart.[12][13] It combined the car's low weight with a high amount of torsional rigidity and safety.[10] That allowed for the foundation of a precise wheel location via its independent multi-link suspension with pushrods and adjustable shock absorbers to exploit the maximum amount from its 14 in (360 mm) Michelin tyres.[12][14] The regulations reduced the car's maximum weight to 870 kg (1,920 lb).[11]

The front view of the Porsche 919 Hybrid on display at the 2014 Concours d'Elegance.

Its compact and lightweight 90 degree cylinder bank angled 2 l (120 cu in) mid-mounted, V4 mono turbocharged petrol engine,[15][16] ran at 9,000 rpm, with performance coming from a direct fuel injection system and a single Garrett-designed turbocharger with a dual overhead cam shaft.[12][14] It produces approximately 500 hp (370 kW) and acted as a chassis load-bearing member.[17] The small engine meant the transmission casing was fitted to the rear suspension and is almost a third of the car's length.[9] Engine cooling was achieved through a carbon fibre and gold thermal airbox in its centre. Front airflow was enabled by louvres along its flank and a single intake was mounted on its roof to allow for airflow into it for cooling.[18] The car had traction control and a hydraulically operated seven-speed sequential gearbox with rear-lock differential mounted inside a carbon fibre casing with titanium inserts around its high stress sections.[14][19] The brake discs were made from internally ventilated light-alloy carbon ceramic materials and features power steering.[9] For night driving, Porsche Style designed two four-point LED headlights at both the left and right hand side of the vehicle for better visibility.[10][11]

The 919 Hybrid had two separate energy recovery hybrid systems.[20] The first at the rear recovered thermal energy from exhaust gasses that would otherwise be expelled via an electric generator operated by an exhaust gas stream of two turbines in the exhaust system.[15][18][20] Hence, the exhaust outlet exited from an off-central outlet at the cars' rear on one side of the engine cover's dorsal fin.[19] The second utilised a 185 kW (248 hp) motor–generator (MGU) on the front axle to convert kinetic energy into electrical energy under braking and stored it in water-cooled A123 Systems lithium-ion battery packs that were installed centrally in the passenger side and eliminated turbo lag.[14][17][21][22] This meant the front axle under braking gave the car better electrical energy regeneration and traction.[9] Under acceleration, the front generator operated as a single electric motor to run the front wheels via a differential with petrol upfront and electricity at the rear.[11][22] This temporarily made the car four-wheel drive as the engine directed an extra 400 hp (300 kW) to the rear wheels for a total of 1,000 hp (750 kW).[18] The 2014 regulations divided the MGU hierarchy into 2 MJ (0.56 kWh) increments, from 2 MJ (0.56 kWh) to 8 MJ (2.2 kWh). Porsche chose the 6 MJ (1.7 kWh) category, allowing the 919 Hybrid to use 4.78 l (1.05 imp gal; 1.26 US gal) per lap at Le Mans,[23] although it had been designed to operate in the 8 MJ (2.2 kWh) class because of incompatibility.[24]

Preparation[edit]

In April 2013, Porsche named the first two drivers to the team. Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas, co-champions of the American Le Mans Series Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class in 2007 and 2008 and co-winners of the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans, were added to the team for their previous experience in Le Mans Prototype racing for the marque.[25] Two months later, Neel Jani was drafted from the Rebellion Racing team to sign a multi-year contract for the manufacturer.[26] Red Bull Racing Formula One driver Mark Webber, whose last experience in sports car racing was in the 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans for AMG-Mercedes, was confirmed as joining Porsche's LMP1 operation two days later.[27] The line-up was completed with Mercedes-Benz Formula One test driver and Murphy Prototypes European Le Mans Series LMP2 competitor Brendon Hartley and long-time Grand Touring racer Marc Lieb announced as the programme's final two drivers in December 2013.[28]

Dumas shared the No. 14 car with Jani and Lieb, while Bernhard was paired with Webber and Hartley in the No. 20 entry.[29] Enzinger explained that Dumas and Bernhard were paired separately because Porsche wanted to create parity in terms of experience and driver weight within both crews, "Timo and Romain have the most prototype experience of our drivers, so we decided to split them, We have two newcomers to Porsche in Neel [Jani] and Brendon [Hartley], and decided to put one in each car. The other factor was weight. We looked at the weight of the drivers and have tried to equalise that across the two cars because we want to be absolutely fair to give both cars an equal chance."[30]

Livery, testing and launch[edit]

The Porsche 919 Hybrid at its official reveal at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show

The 919 Hybrid was liveried in white and incorporated the 'Porsche Intelligent Performance' slogan, with the first letters of each word emblazoned down the vehicle when viewed from topside. The rear wing was liveried in black with the word 'Porsche' in red letters.[31] The team had no title sponsor, with few sponsor stickers aborning the car. Its race number was put in a red square in the middle of the top section of its sidepods and near both fenders but below both door panels.[32] On 12 June 2013, Bernhard drove the 919 Hybrid in a one-day private test session under a camouflage livery at Porsche's Weissach test track.[5] Testing continued into September with car development carried out at France's Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours and the Circuit Paul Ricard, the Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Italy, Germany's EuroSpeedway Lausitz, before its 2013 schedule concluded at the Algarve International Circuit in Portugal in December.[33]

On 4 March 2014, the car was officially revealed at a press conference during the Geneva Motor Show.[34] Porsche held its first two car endurance test at the Circuit Paul Ricard and fine-tuned the 919 Hybrid's setups with its drivers between 24 to 26 March, covering a total of 4,756 km (2,955 mi) with multiple technical problems stopping both cars several times during the three-day session.[35] The team stayed at the track for the official two-day pre-season test. Hartley set the fastest overall lap time over the two days at 1 minute and 41.289 seconds in a low-downforce configuration car package during the Friday night session.[36]

Subsequent alterations[edit]

2015 version[edit]

The red liveried No. 17 Porsche 919 Hybrid that was driven in the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Porsche redesigned the 919 Hybrid for the 2015 season, carrying over the concept from 2014, but it featured a new chassis with an identical layout. It was however manufactured in one section to save weight in the rear crash structure, suspension and aerodynamics from 900 kg (2,000 lb) to 870 kg (1,920 lb).[37][38] The car was categorised into the 8 MJ (2.2 kWh) class because of a lighter, refined and improved hybrid system that increased its maximum power to 294 hp (219 kW),[37] following a decision made by Porsche around early March 2015.[38] The car's nose cone impact structure was lowered and narrowed with its lead supported by the front bodywork's leading edge. Its curved louvres were replaced by two straight slats with a bulge on the rear floor.[37] Porsche changed the car's centralised exhaust system to a twin exhaust-pipe layout that its engineers arranged symmetrically to the axis for improved output and more efficient aerodynamics.[16]

The 2015-specification car began private testing at Porsche's Weissach test track with Lieb in December 2014.[39] Drivers further tested it at the Yas Marina Circuit in the United Arab Emirates, the Bahrain International Circuit and the Ciudad del Motor de Aragón in Spain from January to March.[38] The first pictures of the car were published on the internet on 16 January,[40] and it was officially revealed to the press at Circuit Paul Ricard's official two-day pre-season test session on 26 March.[41] Porsche used three liveries for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The No. 17 car was adorned in red as a tribute to the manufacturer's first overall victory at Le Mans with the Porsche 917 in 1970. The team's No. 18 entry was liveried in black to showcase the close technical similarities between the 919 Hybrid and the 918 Spyder. The No. 19 vehicle was adorned in white, which is the national standard colour of German racing cars and of all of Porsche's endurance racing entries.[41]

2016 version[edit]

The carbon fibre sandwich chassis was retained for the 2016 season but much of the car's components were improved because of detailed performance enhancements and weight reduction. The wheel rim was redesigned to be deeper in an attempt to reduce the car's overall amount of drag and the mandatory air extractor to cool the top of the front wheel arches had a turning vane on its inner edge. It also had new rear wing endplates with a small extension at its base that was part of the car's bodywork. The 2016-specification 919 Hybrid had three distinct aerodynamic packages.[37] They were used depending on the type of circuit, with two high-downforce configurations for the Silverstone Circuit and a low downforce package for the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans (developed in Williams Grand Prix Engineering's wind tunnel in Grove and full scale testing took place in Germany for correlation purposes).[37][42]

The No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid on display at the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Because of a new World Endurance Championship regulation that restricted the amount of available electrical energy and fuel by 8%,[43] engineers redesigned the vehicle's engine to be lighter and produce around 480 hp (360 kW) to 495 hp (369 kW).[37] Conversely, the car's kinetic energy recovery system was optimised to make it more powerful and efficient. The electric motor on the front axle, the power electronics, and a new generation of lithium-ion battery cells in the in-house designed car battery were built and made more effective for producing more horsepower.[37] The power delivered by the front axle is more than 400 hp (300 kW) with a cumulative total of 900 hp (670 kW) from both the car's front and rear to a 800V battery.[43]

Porsche held an eight-day tyre development test session at the Yas Marina Circuit in mid-February 2016, and covered a total of 6,201 km (3,853 mi) between its six drivers.[44] On 23 March, the car was officially revealed to the public online, two days before the annual pre-season test session at Circuit Paul Ricard.[45] The livery was different than in the previous two years with it mostly in black and white with touches of red.[43]

2017 version[edit]

According to Porsche, it retained the monocoque from 2016, but 60 to 70% of the 2017 specification car was new, with the largest alterations being to the vehicle's aerodynamic demands.[37] This included a major redesign of the front of the car with wider arches for the front wheels to make the 919 Hybrid less aerodynamically sensitive from small bits of discarded rubber from the track surface. To the car's side, a new channel from the monocoque to the wheel arch was made visible, along with redesigned rearward air intakes for the radiators to cool the engine.[37][46] New cost-cutting regulations mandated LMP1 teams to slow the cars and use just two aerodynamic packages for the season, restricting the amount of flexibility depending on the type of track.[47] One aerodynamic alteration was the raising of the front splitter to lower its cornering speeds and it featured two strakes on its underside.[37][48] Porsche elected for a low-downforce package that minimised air resistance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and a second that compensated for an increased amount of drag and downforce for tighter circuits.[49]

The 2017-specification Porsche 919 Hybrid being tested at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.

Porsche remained in the 8 MJ (2.2 kWh) MGU category for the 2017 season.[37] The 919 Hybrid's engine was modified to be lighter and more compact and Porsche stated it was the company's most efficient power plant in its history. Power output was still less than 500 hp (370 kW) and just more than 400 hp (300 kW) when the car's dual kinetic energy recovery systems were active for a total of 900 hp (670 kW). Approximately 60% of kinetic energy produced under braking was recovered by its front kinetic energy recovery system and the remaining 40% was generated by the rear duel exhaust pipe system.[47] Exhaust gases allowed the turbine to run at more than 120,000 rpm, operating a MGU that converted kinetic energy into electricity and stored it into the third generation lithium-ion battery.[47][48] The turbine was designed to run efficiently with variable geometry when there was low exhaust pressure at low speeds.[50] The 919 Hybrid's livery was changed to white and black, with grey and red lines adorning its body.[47]

Testing of the car began at the Ciudad del Motor de Aragón for one week in December 2016.[51] Two months later, the team returned to the track for five days for further vehicle development testing and undertook endurance runs of 7,200 km (4,500 mi).[52] The first spy photographs of the 2017 919 Hybrid testing at the Circuit Paul Ricard were published on 27 March.[53] Four days later, the car was officially revealed to the press.[48] The two cars ran with its six drivers in the official two-day pre-season test session at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.[54]

Racing history[edit]

2014[edit]

At the season-opening 6 Hours of Silverstone, Dumas and Jani qualified the No. 14 entry in third and Webber and Bernhard's No. 20 car started from sixth.[55] In the race, Jani fell to sixth in the opening laps; the No. 14 car later had a front left wheel bearing problem that necessitated Jani's return to the garage before retiring with an unrelated hydraulic problem after 30 laps. Bernhard passed Alexander Wurz's No. 7 Toyota TS040 Hybrid for second at the beginning of hour two on lap 53, but the No. 20 car later struggled when rain fell on the circuit because of the car's low downforce package and it finished the weather-shortened race in third overall, two laps behind the winner, the No. 8 Toyota.[56][57] Two weeks later, Jani and Lieb took the car's first pole position in changeable weather conditions in qualifying's final seconds at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, while Bernhard and Hartley began from fifth place.[58] The No. 14 car led the first two hours, before the No. 8 Toyota of Sébastien Buemi took the first position, and Lieb stalled in the pit lane, allowing Buemi to increase his advantage over Lieb (and later) Dumas, who slowed with an electrical fault which disabled his hybrid system and resulting in the car losing two laps. The No. 14 car was halted by a rear damper and two front driveshaft problems that dropped it to 23rd overall.[59][60]

In the trio of qualifying sessions held to determine the grid for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the No. 20 vehicle of Hartley set the first session's fastest lap,[61] but the car fell to fourth the next day despite Bernhard improving its lap time during the second session.[62] Jani's No. 14 car was second after the conclusion of the first session and it maintained it through the remaining two sessions as Dumas twice bettered its best lap.[61] The No. 20 entry led in the early stages of the race and in the early morning but it failed to finish enough laps for classification because of a broken anti-roll bar while the sister No. 14 car had fuel pressure and gearbox problems and placed eleventh overall.[63][64] For the 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas, Jani and Dumas qualified the No. 14 car in second despite one of Jani's laps being nullified for transgressing energy recovery system limits and Hartley and Webber took third in the No. 20 entry.[65] In a race that was red flagged for 77 minutes because of a thunderstorm that flooded the Circuit of the Americas, the No. 14 of Jani overtook the Toyotas for the lead on the restart but the car's challenge faded because of a loss of engine power and it finished fourth. Bernhard aquaplaned and beached the No. 20 car in a gravel trap but his co-drivers Webber and Hartley got the entry to finish fifth.[66][67]

The No. 14 Porsche 919 Hybrid (pictured at the 2014 6 Hours of Fuji) took Porsche's first overall victory in endurance prototype motor racing since 1989 in São Paulo.

At the season's fifth race, the 6 Hours of Fuji, Webber and Bernard's No. 20 Porsche were beaten to the pole position by Buemi and Anthony Davidson's No. 8 Toyota with less than two minutes left in qualifying and the No. 14 entry of Jani and Lieb took third.[68] Webber and the two Toyotas duelled early on until Webber made a pit stop to replace a slow puncture and causing his crew to lose time by double stinting his tyres. He later led 12 laps and Porsche took its second podium of 2014 by finishing the No. 20 car in third after power issues, a lap behind the race-winning No. 8 Toyota. The sister No. 20 car was a further lap adrift in fourth.[69][70] Three weeks later at the 6 Hours of Shanghai, Jani and Dumas qualified with an identical two-lap average to Buemi and Davidson's No. 8 Toyota; pole position was awarded to the former, since they set their times first. Webber and Hartley's No. 14 car was 0.024 seconds slower in third.[71] Dumas led until his teammate Hartley passed him on the 22nd lap. After the No. 20 Porsche's first pit stop in the second hour, Hartley sustained a puncture and fell to sixth.[72] Jani's No. 14 car duelled with Tom Kristensen's No. 1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro for third and won the battle with assistance from Webber to claim Porsche's third podium of 2014.[73]

Jani and Dumas took Porsche's third pole position of the season and their second in a row at the 6 Hours of Bahrain while Bernhard and Hartley were 1.046 seconds slower in third.[74] The No. 14 Porsche of Dumas led the first four laps until Buemi passed him through slower traffic on lap five. Hartley temporarily got into second place before falling to fourth and his No. 20 car had brake temperature problems. Dumas retook the lead by not making a pit stop during a short full course yellow flag period and kept it until lap 30. Both cars matched Toyota's pace and secured its first double podium with the No. 14 car finishing in second and the sister No. 20 vehicle was third.[75] At the season-closing 6 Hours of São Paulo, Webber and Bernhard took the No. 20 vehicle's first pole position of 2014 as Jani and Lieb were 0.107 seconds slower in second.[76] Webber and later his teammate Lieb led the event's first quarter until a battle developed between Porsche, Toyota and Audi during its middle phase. Although they were outside the normal pit stop sequence due to a puncture, Jani advanced the No. 14 Porsche into first and he led Davidson by 14 seconds until a serious collision involving Webber and Matteo Cressoni's No. 90 8 Star Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 with 28 minutes left caused the race to end under safety car conditions. Thus, the No. 14 Porsche won the race while the No. 20 car went unclassified.[n 1][77][78] Competing with the 919 Hybrid, Porsche scored 193 points and finished third in the World Endurance Manufacturers' Championship.[79]

2015[edit]

In November 2014, Porsche confirmed that all six of its drivers would be retained for the 2015 season.[80] For the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the marque entered a third 919 Hybrid for GT racers Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy and Force India Formula One driver Nico Hülkenberg.[81] Webber and Hartley qualified the re-numbered No. 17 car in pole position and Jani and Dumas secured second in the No. 18 vehicle at the season-opening 6 Hours of Silverstone.[82] An hour and 20 minutes in, Webber's No. 17 Porsche retired from the lead with a rear drivetrain failure.[83] Jani, Lieb and Dumas' sister No. 18 car used its better acceleration and straight-line speed to exchange the overall lead with André Lotterer, Marcel Fässler and Benoît Tréluyer's No. 7 Audi in slower traffic over the following laps. Porsche chose not to double stint its tyres and conserved fuel so that it could avoid making an extra pit stop in the final hour. Jani lowered the gap to Fässler when he made a late pit stop for fuel, and served a drive-through penalty for transgressing track limits while lapping a slower Aston Martin Vantage at the exit to Club turn. Jani however was not close enough to challenge Fässler and finished the No. 18 car in second.[84][85]

The three Porsche 919 Hybrids at the 2015 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps

During qualifying for the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, Porsche took the first three starting positions on the grid with Hartley and Bernhard's No. 17 car earning the pole position, Hülkenberg and Tandy's No. 19 vehicle taking second and Jani and Lieb's began from third in its No. 18 entry.[86] Hartley held the lead on the first lap while Lieb overtook Tandy for second.[87] Six laps later,[87] Tandy made side-to-side contact with Kévin Estre's No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR, requiring a pit stop for frontal bodywork repairs that dropped the No. 19 Porsche to the rear of the field. Hartley incurred a 15-second stop-and-go penalty for driving onto the escape road at the Bus Stop chicane, entering a gap in a tyre wall and the beginning of a guard rail where marshals were stationed. He lost further time to a damper problem while being relieved by Webber and gave Lieb the lead. Jani and later Lieb battled Tréluyer's No. 7 Audi for the victory in the final two hours, which went in the latter's favour. Thus, the No. 18 car finished in second, the sister No. 17 entry recovered to third and the No. 19 vehicle came through the field to claim sixth.[88][89]

At Le Mans, Bernhard's No. 17 car broke the 2008 track record of the Circuit de la Sarthe until Jani bettered it to claim pole position in the first qualifying session.[90] Tandy put the No. 19 Porsche in third as the team's other two cars did not improve their lap times in the following two sessions.[91][92] During the race, Bernhard overtook Jani on the first lap as Hülkenberg fell to fifth when he was passed by two Audis by the end of the second lap. Porsche battled with Audi and later pulled away as night fell and asphalt temperatures lowered. That enabled Porsche to push harder on their tyres and equalled Audi's pace though Dumas braked too late for Mulsanne Corner and hit a tyre barrier. The No. 18 car drove to the pit lane for bodywork repairs and it recovered to finish fifth. Later, the No. 18 entry was observed passing in a yellow flag zone, earning it a one-minute stop-and-go penalty, and relegating it to second. Tandy improved his place and later Bamber took the first position midway through the 14th hour and the No. 19 car was unhindered from thereafter to claim Porsche's first overall Le Mans victory since 1998.[93]

For the season's fourth round, the 6 Hours of Nürburgring, Lieb and Dumas continued Porsche's unbeaten streak in qualifying with pole position and Webber and Bernhard secured second.[94] Jani led the opening stint while a broken front diveplane slowed Bernhard. An early pit stop where Webber relieved Bernhard saw the diveplane repaired and he got a large lead when the No. 18 car incurred three separate stop-and-go penalties for excess fuel flow caused by a faulty engine sensor. Jani recovered to second after prevailing over the Audis of Lucas di Grassi and Lotterer while the No. 17 car won.[95] Although Jani lacked hybrid boost on his first lap, he and Lieb won pole position for the 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas as Hartley and Bernhard took second.[96] Webber overtook Jani at the start and held it until his co-driver Bernhard served a minute stop-and-go penalty because a mechanic touched his car under refuelling conditions. Dumas' No. 18 car appeared likely to win but a issue with its 12 volt onboard circuit with 35 minutes left forced him into the garage. He returned to the track to complete the final lap in 12th as Hartley got the No. 17 car to its second successive win.[97][98]

The No. 17 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber that won four races and the 2015 World Endurance Drivers' Championship.

In qualifying for the 6 Hours of Fuji, Porsche secured the front row with Bernhard and Webber on pole position and Dumas and Lieb in second.[99] The race began after 40 minutes behind the safety car because of a wet track, mist and fog and Webber immediately fell to fourth due to a driver error.[100] Once the track dried up, Dumas took the lead and it appeared the No. 18 car would win but his crew incurred a drive-through penalty for passing under full course yellow flag conditions. Porsche employed team orders to Jani on the final lap to give Bernhard, Webber and Hartley the win.[101] At the 6 Hours of Shanghai, Hartley and Webber took another pole position with Lieb and Dumas again in second.[102] Hartley led the weather-affected race from the start but Lieb hit Lotterer's No. 7 Audi and spun on a kerb. Jani took over the No. 18 entry and he recovered to pass the Audis for the lead but Dumas spun with 1 hour and 20 minutes to go. The No. 18 car recovered to finish second while Bernhard and Webber's No. 17 car led the event's second half to win their fourth race of 2015 and the World Manufacturers' Championship for Porsche with one race left in the season.[n 2][104][103]

Going into the season-closing 6 Hours of Bahrain, Bernhard, Hartley and Webber led the World Endurance Drivers' Championship by 12 points over Lotterer, Fässler and Tréluyer's No. 7 Audi; a fifth-place finish and their rivals winning meant the trio would lose the title.[105] They increased their advantage by one point with Hartley and Bernhard setting the fastest two-lap average in qualifying to ensure Porsche won every pole position of 2015 and Jani and Lieb began from second.[106] Bernhard spent five laps in the pit lane with a broken throttle actuator and the No. 17 car later had a failure of the energy recovery system on the front axle in the fifth hour but Webber completed the race on hybrid power in fifth overall to secure his, Hartley's and Bernhard's first Drivers' Championship. Dumas, Jani and Lieb beat the mechanically-impaired Audis in a mid-race duel to claim the No. 18 team's sole victory of 2015.[107][108] Competing with the 919 Hybrid for the second year in a row, Porsche accumulated 344 points to win the World Manufacturers' Championship.[109]

2016[edit]

Porsche confirmed in November 2015 that all six of its drivers would remain for the 2016 season.[110] However, it made a joint decision with Audi not to field a third car for the 24 Hours of Le Mans as a cost-cutting measure in anticipation of potential financial penalties from the Volkswagen emissions scandal.[111] At the season-opening 6 Hours of Silverstone, Porsche's streak of pole positions that extended back to the 2014 6 Hours of Fuji ended when the No. 1 of Hartley and Webber qualified in third and the sister No. 2 entry of Jani and Dumas took fourth.[112] Webber passed the Audis of Oliver Jarvis and Lotterer in the first hour before Hartley relieved him. The No. 1 later car retired due to heavy contact with the No. 86 Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR of Michael Wainwright that saw Hartley launched over its bonnet at the exit of Farm corner. The No. 2 car battled with the lead No. 7 Audi until Jani made an unscheduled pit stop to replace a puncture and finished the race 47 seconds behind in second.[113] Porsche were later promoted to the victory after the Audi was disqualified because scrutineers found its front skid block to be worn by more than 5 mm (0.20 in).[114]

The No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb won two races, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the team's second consecutive World Endurance Drivers' Championship.

Hartley and Bernhard won Porsche's first pole position of 2016 in qualifying for the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and were joined by Jani and Lieb on the grid's front row.[115] In the race, the No. 1 car led until Bernhard and later Webber sustained two separate punctures of the left-front tyre and it spent 1 hour and 40 minutes in the garage to replace the gearbox at the front axle. It later emerged on the track to finish 27th overall and earned championship points for completing 70% of the total distance. The No. 2 919 Hybrid had its main energy recovery system switched off for the majority of the event, forcing its drivers not to utilise the Porsche's full electric power capability, but nevertheless finished second, two laps behind the race-winning No. 8 Audi.[116][117] At Le Mans, Jani took the pole position in the first ten minutes of qualifying and Bernard began from second as heavy rain affected Thursday's two qualifying sessions.[118] Porsche's No. 2 car battled Toyota for the win after the No. 1 entry was forced out of contention when it was wheeled into the garage to replace a malfunctioning water pump and recovered to finish 13th overall. Jani, Lieb and Dumas had their fuel strategy changed to match Toyota with 14 laps on track and won Porsche's 18th overall Le Mans victory when the No. 5 Toyota had a failure of the connector line linking the turbocharger and the intercooler.[119]

Webber and Bernhard out-qualified Jani and Lieb at the 6 Hours of Nürburgring, taking third place and the latter two qualified in fourth.[120] Porsche prevailed against Audi's strong challenge by making pit stops during a series of full course yellow flags and got past Jarvis' No. 8 entry. Although a slow puncture put the No. 1 team off strategy, Bernhard overtook his teammate Jani to win after the latter incurred a drive-through penalty for hitting the No. 88 Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR. The No. 2 car finished fourth after Lotterer's No. 7 Audi passed Jani.[121] At the inaugural 6 Hours of Mexico, Dumas and Jani put the No. 2 car in second and Hartley and Webber's No. 1 car qualified fourth.[122] Porsche's No. 1 entry took the lead early in the second hour and maintained it until it was handed a drive-through penalty two hours later for crossing the pit entry line after aborting a pit stop. Nonetheless, the team made effective tyre changes in response to the changing weather conditions and Bernhard overcame time loss from avoiding crashing his car to win. The No. 2 car was off the pace and finished fourth after Lieb was hit from behind by Nicolas Lapierre's No. 36 Signatech Alpine A460 and removed the Porsche's rear-left legality panel.[123][124]

For the 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas, Bernhard and Hartley qualified the No. 1 car in third and Dumas and Jani's No. 2 vehicle took fifth after Dumas' fastest lap was deleted for a track limits violation.[125] Porsche's No. 1 entry took advantage of multiple mechanical problems and driver errors affecting the Audi squad and the activation of full course yellow flag with two hours and seven minutes remaining to win its third race in a row. The No. 2 team lacked its sister vehicle's outright pace and finished a lap adrift in fourth.[126] At the 6 Hours of Fuji four weeks later, Bernhard and Webber qualified the No. 1 919 Hybrid in second while a handling imbalance for Jani and Dumas' No. 2 car at turn three relegated them to starting sixth.[127] The No. 1 car was beaten in a tactical exchange of position by Toyota's No. 6 TS050 Hybrid and fell to third because of an aerodynamic and car balance inefficiency. The sister No. 2 vehicle placed fifth after it could not match the No. 1 car's pace because its drivers trouble handling it due to tyre debris that got lodged inside its front bodywork and disrupted its aerodynamics, leading to its replacement at a pit stop after 110 laps.[128]

At the season's penultimate round, the 6 Hours of Shanghai in November, Hartley and Webber claimed pole position despite Hartley's first lap being nullified for a track limits violation while Lieb and Jani qualified in sixth after Lieb's first lap was voided because of excess fuel consumption.[129] Hartley was passed by Buemi for the lead at the start but he retook it soon after as the No. 1 team dominated the race to claim Porsche's second consecutive World Endurance Manufacturers' Championship despite a front wing replacement for rubber debris pickup.[130][131] The No. 2 squad lost to the duo of Toyotas and came fourth.[130] It entered the season-ending 6 Hours of Bahrain with a 17-point lead over the No. 6 Toyota team and need to finish fifth and the latter squad to win but not take pole position to claim Porsche's second World Drivers' Championship in a row.[132] Hartley and Bernhard took second in the No. 1 entry and Jani and Lieb began from third in the No. 2 car.[133] Third place went to the No. 1 team which held off the No. 5 Toyota but it was off the pace and 77.001 seconds behind the race-winning No. 8 Audi. The No. 2 Porsche claimed the World Drivers' Championship after finishing three laps down in sixth but Jani sustained a left-rear puncture and rear bodywork damage from contact with the No. 78 KCMG Porsche 911 RSR 50 minutes in.[134] Competing with the 919 Hybrid for the third successive season, Porsche accrued 324 points to claim the World Manufacturers' Championship.[135]

2017[edit]

After the 2016 season, Lieb and Dumas were dropped from the team and Webber retired from motor racing.[136] Lieb and Dumas were replaced by Lotterer, who transferred from Audi's discontinued LMP1 project, and Tandy, whom Porsche promoted from its IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT operation, to share the No. 1 car with Jani. Bamber also moved from Porsche's GT programme and he shared the No. 2 919 Hybrid with Bernhard and Hartley in Webber's place.[137] Tandy and Jani qualified third for the season-opening 6 Hours of Silverstone while Bernhard and Hartley took fourth.[138] A final late-event pit stop for fuel put Hartley into the overall lead but he lost the win to a pass by Buemi's No. 8 Toyota with 12 minutes remaining and the No. 2 squad were 6.173 seconds adrift in second. Tandy became the leader during a brief rain shower in the third hour but the No. 1 team subsequently lost position through a pit stop to change from the intermediate compound tyre to slick dry tyre compound when the weather conditions improved and it ultimately took third.[139]

The 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans race-winning No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid

Three weeks later in qualifying at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the No. 1 car of Jani and Lotterer earned Porsche's first pole position of the season and the trio of Toyotas separated Hartley and Bernhard's No. 2 919 Hybrid in fifth after Hartley made a driving error at the Bus Stop chicane.[140] Hartley recovered from a slow puncture in hour three to pass Mike Conway's No. 7 Toyota for second in the fifth hour but subsequent contact with Dumas' No. 36 Singatech Alpine A470 forced the No. 2 Porsche into the pit lane to replace its front-left corner and relegating it to third. The sister No. 1 car had tyre wear problems and was off the pace en route to finishing fourth.[141][142] At Le Mans, Jani and Bernhard set the team's best lap times in the second qualifying session and began from third and fourth.[143] The No. 2 Porsche had been delayed for 65 minutes and 19 laps because its front MGU was replaced, while the No. 1 car moved to the lead when the No. 7 Toyota retired with a broken clutch during the night. It appeared that the No. 1 Porsche would win but engine problems in the 21st hour forced Lotterer to retire the car. Nonetheless, Bernhard's No. 2 car recovered and overtook Ho-Pin Tung's No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07 with an hour and seven minutes remaining to take Porsche's third Le Mans victory in a row and 19th overall.[144][145]

Brendon Hartley in the No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid battling José María López's No. 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid at the 2017 6 Hours of Nürburgring.

During qualifying for the 6 Hours of Nürburgring a month later, Porsche were outpaced by Toyota and Bernhard and Hartley put the No. 2 car in second and Jani and Lotterer took third.[146] Hartley passed José María López's No. 7 Toyota for the lead in the second hour; the two Porsches exchanged the lead several times and controlled the pace.[147] At the final pit stops during the last ten minutes, Porsche invoked team orders to delay Lotterer for 20 seconds longer than his teammate Bernhard, enabling the No. 2 entry to win for the second successive race.[148] The No. 2 Porsche of Bernhard and Hartley out-qualified the No. 1 car of Tandy and Lotterer to take its first pole position of 2017 at the 6 Hours of Mexico.[149] Hartley opened out a gap over Tandy, who fell further back when his co-driver Lotterer served a drive-through penalty for pit lane over-speeding because of a faulty speed limiter. A straightforward pit stop became problematic for Bamber as a defective FIA-mandated fuel flow sensor was replaced but the No. 2 entry won by 7.141 seconds over the sister No. 1 car.[150][151]

Although Tandy's first qualifying lap of the 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas was deleted for a track limits transgression, he and Jani qualified the No. 1 Porsche on pole position and they were two-tenths of a second faster than Bamber and Bernhard in the No. 2 919 Hybrid.[152] Porsche won a near race-long duel with Toyota as the marque elected to make tyre changes at the first pit stop phase. Later, the No. 1 vehicle of Tandy was issued team orders to relinquish the lead to Bernhard with eight minutes remaining and the latter took the No. 2 team's fourth consecutive win by 0.276 seconds.[153] One month later at the 6 Hours of Fuji, Bamber and Hartley took the No. 2 car's second pole position of the season and Lotterer and Tandy qualified the sister entry in second.[154] Lotterer damaged the No. 1 car's dive plane by hitting the rear of Buemi's Toyota in the first hour; although it lowered the car's outright pace, its crew finished the rain-shortened event in third, while the sister No. 2 Porsche that led early on took fourth after being unable to equal Toyota's later speed.[155][156]

Entering the 6 Hours of Shanghai, the No. 2 Porsche squad were 39 points ahead of Toyota's No. 8 team and required a third-place finish to claim the marque's third World Endurance Drivers' Championship with one round left in the season.[157] In qualifying, Tandy and Lotterer took second in the No. 1 car despite Lotterer's first lap being disallowed for a track limits violation while Bamber and Hartley began from fourth after Bamber spun on his timed lap.[158] The No. 2 car could not match Toyota's speed but it finished second to secure the World Endurance Drivers' Championship, while the sister No. 1 entry recovered from a throttle sensor issue to place third, and helped take Porsche's third World Manufacturers' Championship in a row.[159] At the season-closing 6 Hours of Bahrain, Tandy and Jani took pole position in the No. 1 car and Bernhard and Hartley's No. 2 car qualified in third.[160] The following day, a trackside bollard was lodged underneath the No. 2 vehicle's front bodywork and Bernhard made an unscheduled pit stop after 15 minutes to dislodge it, losing 80 seconds but recovering to second. Jani lost first to Buemi in the first hour and Tandy later relieved him in the No. 1 car. Tandy damaged its left-front corner in lapping Nick Foster's No. 86 Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR in the fourth hour, earning him a drive through penalty, but the No. 1 car placed third.[161][162] Competing with the 919 Hybrid for the fourth successive season, Porsche won the Endurance Manufacturers' Championship with 337 points.[163]

Retirement from competition[edit]

A 919 Hybrid was driven by the 2017 World Series Formula V8 3.5 champion Pietro Fittipaldi (who shared it with Bernhard) at the post-season rookie test session at the Bahrain International Circuit the day after the 6 Hours of Bahrain.[164] After the test session, Porsche officially ended the 919 Hybrid programme to concentrate on entering the all-electric, single seater Formula E championship in the 2019–20 season but increased its commitment to its global GT programmes.[165]

Porsche 919 Evo[edit]

Porsche revealed an evolution of the 919 Hybrid on 11 April 2018, as it broke the lap record of the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps with a lap time of 1 minute and 41.77 seconds, with Jani behind the wheel. The time was 0.783 seconds faster than the four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton's qualification lap at the 2017 Belgian Grand Prix, previously posting a 1 minute and 42.553 seconds in a Formula One car, the Mercedes AMG F1 W08 EQ Power+.[166] Jani was also over 12 seconds faster than the standard 919 Hybrid's 2017 pole position lap of 1 minute and 54.097 seconds. During the lap, Jani's speed trap was recorded at 359 km/h (223.1 mph) on the Kemmel Straight, with an average speed of 245.61 km/h (152.6 mph).[167][168]

The V4 engine was retained for the Evo, producing 720 PS (530 kW; 710 hp) without fuel flow restrictions. As the amount of recovered energy that could be used was increased from 6.37 MJ (1.77 kWh) for Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps to 8.49 megajoules (2.36 kWh), the output of the electric motors was increased from 400 PS to 440 PS (324 kW; 434 hp). The car's weight was reduced by 39 kg (86 lb), by removing air conditioning, windscreen wipers, headlights and other electrical devices, now weighing in at 849 kg (1,872 lb) dry and 888 kg (1,958 lb) with driver ballast. Extensive aerodynamic upgrades were also added to the 919 Evo, resulting in a 53% increase in downforce and 66% increase in aerodynamic efficiency compared to the 919 Hybrid's 2017 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps qualifying specification. These were the inclusion of an active drag reduction system, an enlarged rear wing, a wider front diffuser and fixed height side skirts.[166][167][168][169]

The 919 Evo was run on demonstration runs through 2018 as part of the "919 Tribute Tour" at the Nürburgring Nordschleife for the 2018 24 Hours of Nürburgring, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in June, for the Festival of Porsche at Brands Hatch and at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca as part of Porsche Rennsport Reunion VI.[167][168] On 29 June, Porsche ran the 919 Evo on the Nürburgring and Bernhard recorded a lap time of 5 minutes and 19.546 seconds, breaking the long-held record of 6 minutes and 11.13 seconds set by Stefan Bellof in a 956 in May 1983.[170]

Complete World Endurance Championship results[edit]

Races in bold indicate pole position and races in italics indicate fastest lap

(For more information about legend click here)

Year Team Class Drivers No. Rounds FIA WEMC
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Pts. Pos.
2014 Germany Porsche Team LMP1-H France
Switzerland
Germany
Romain Dumas
Neel Jani
Marc Lieb
14 United Kingdom
SIL

Ret
Belgium
SPA

4
France
LMS

4
United States
COA

4
Japan
FUJ

4
China
SHA

3
Bahrain
BHR

2
Brazil
SÃO

1
193 3rd
Germany
New Zealand
Australia
Timo Bernhard
Brendon Hartley
Mark Webber
20 United Kingdom
SIL

3
Belgium
SPA

12
France
LMS

NC
United States
COA

5
Japan
FUJ

3
China
SHA

6
Bahrain
BHR

3
Brazil
SÃO

Ret
2015 Germany Porsche Team LMP1 Germany
New Zealand
Australia
Timo Bernhard
Brendon Hartley
Mark Webber
17 United Kingdom
SIL

Ret
Belgium
SPA

3
France
LMS

2
Germany
NÜR

1
United States
COA

1
Japan
FUJ

1
China
SHA

1
Bahrain
BHR

5
344 1st
France
Switzerland
Germany
Romain Dumas
Neel Jani
Marc Lieb
18 United Kingdom
SIL

2
Belgium
SPA

2
France
LMS

5
Germany
NÜR

2
United States
COA

5
Japan
FUJ

2
China
SHA

2
Bahrain
BHR

1
New Zealand
Germany
United Kingdom
Earl Bamber
Nico Hülkenberg
Nick Tandy
19 - Belgium
SPA
6
France
LMS
1
- - - - -
2016 Germany Porsche Team LMP1 Germany
New Zealand
Australia
Timo Bernhard
Brendon Hartley
Mark Webber
1 United Kingdom
SIL

Ret
Belgium
SPA

4
France
LMS

5
Germany
NÜR

1
Mexico
MEX

1
United States
COA

1
Japan
FUJ

3
China
SHA

1
Bahrain
BHR

3
324 1st
France
Switzerland
Germany
Romain Dumas
Neel Jani
Marc Lieb
2 United Kingdom
SIL

1
Belgium
SPA

2
France
LMS

1
Germany
NÜR

4
Mexico
MEX

4
United States
COA

4
Japan
FUJ

5
China
SHA

4
Bahrain
BHR

6
2017 Germany Porsche LMP Team LMP1 Switzerland
United Kingdom
Germany
Neel Jani
Nick Tandy
André Lotterer
1 United Kingdom
SIL
3
Belgium
SPA
4
France
LMS
Ret
Germany
NÜR
2
Mexico
MEX
2
United States
COA
2
Japan
FUJ
3
China
SHA
3
Bahrain
BHR
3
337 1st
Germany
New Zealand
New Zealand
Timo Bernhard
Brendon Hartley
Earl Bamber
2 United Kingdom
SIL
2
Belgium
SPA
3
France
LMS
1
Germany
NÜR
1
Mexico
MEX
1
United States
COA
1
Japan
FUJ
4
China
SHA
2
Bahrain
BHR
2

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The No. 14 car's overall victory was Porsche's first in world endurance prototype motor racing since 1989 and the first since the manufacturer competed with the RS Spyder in the American Le Mans Series.[77]
  2. ^ It was Porsche's 13th Manufacturers' Championship in endurance racing and its first title since Derek Bell won the 1986 World Sportscar Championship.[103]

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