January 24 2014

New Le Mans Porsche 919 To Run V4 Hybrid Engine

The forthcoming Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 Le Mans challenger will run a V4 design engine and use a single turbocharger between the two banks

The engine is a turbocharged 16-valve 2.0-litre direct-injection engine but unlike Audi’s LMP1 car, the turbocharger is not electric.

Due to problems in achieving smooth running, the V4 is one of the least popular in automotive engineering and none have been used recently in sports cars or at Le Mans.

Porsche has already announced that the 919 will have four cylinders and two recuperation systems that will store energy in a battery until it is deployed by the driver through an electric motor driving the front wheels.

The petrol engine drives the rear wheels with an electric motor sitting up front powering the front wheels. The two energy recuperation systems are called KERS and ERS (the ERS is called AER by Porsche, AER standing for Abgasenergierueckgewinnung, Abgas being the German word for exhaust).

The KERS recovers kinetic energy from the brakes on the front axle, the ERS operates via the exhaust gas on the turbocharger. The battery is a lithium-ion unit supplied by US-based A123 Systems.

This hybrid set-up is similar to the system used by Audi but different to the system used by fellow Le Mans rival Toyota, which has KERS on both the front and rear braking system. Porsche thinks the recuperation on the rear brakes is not efficient enough, hence why its system differs.

Porsche has also announced that the 919 will contest the entire 2014 World Endurance Championship (WEC) but with a primary focus on the Le Mans 24 hours. Drivers known to be driving include Mark Webber, former Le Mans winners Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas and Neel Jani. Brendon Hartley and Marc Lieb are other names also being considered.

The Porsche 919 will make its race debut when the 2014 WEC season starts on 20 April with the Silverstone Six Hours. The next test will be in Bahrain in mid-February.

Other manufacturers to use V4s include Lancia and Ford whose engines were also used by Saab.

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