Neel Jani and Porsche are both sitting on cloud nine after Jani set a new track record at Spa-Francorchamps while driving Porche’s 919 Hybrid. In what has proven to be faster than a Formula One race car, the Porsche 919 Hybrid zoomed around the Belgian Grand Prix track in 1 minute 41.770 seconds, besting the 1 minute 42.553 seconds it took Lewis Hamilton in a Formula One last year.
With the pedal to the metal in the modified Evo, Jani achieved a top speed of 359 kilometers per hour, or a hair over 223 miles per hour, while averaging 245.61 km/h (~152.61 mph).
“This was an absolute fantastic lap—an outstanding drivers’ performance from Neel and the result of great engineering. Today’s track record impressively proves the ultimate performance of the most innovative race car of its time. Our target was to show what the Porsche 919 Hybrid is able to do when we loosen the restrictions that normally come from the regulations,” said Fritz Enzinger, vice president, LMP1.
Jani called the 919 Hybrid a “brutally impressive” machine and “definitely the fastest car” he has ever driven. The hybrid vehicle is outfitted with a 2-liter turbo charged V4 engine married to two different energy recovery systems, including brake energy from the front axle combined with exhaust energy. The combustion engine drives the rear axle while the electric motor boosts the front axle to accelerate the 919 Hybrid with four-wheel driver. While all that is going on, the exhaust system recuperates energy that would otherwise pass unused in to the atmosphere.
“The electrical energy that comes from the front brakes and the exhaust system is temporarily stored in a liquid-cooled lithium ion battery,” Porsche explains.
Porsche’s engineers tweaked the aerodynamics of the 919 Evo with a new and larger front diffuser that balances the new and large rear wing, with of which have actively controlled drag reduction systems. Other changes include optimized turning vanes and floors with fixed height side skirts to increase aerodynamics. All combined, the aerodynamic modifications resulted in 53 percent higher downforce and an increase in efficiency by 66 percent, compared to the 2017 Spa WEC qualifying.
This probably won’t be the only time the Porsche 919 Hybrid makes headlines for breaking records, as it is scheduled to appear in several more events this year, including hte Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Porsche Rennsport Reunion at Laguna Seca in Monterey, California.