Porsche reveals FIA WEC-winning 919 Hybrid engine

How can something so small be a world championship-winning internal combustion engine? Porsche has released its first ever photos of the 2015 FIA WEC-winning engine from the Porsche 919 Hybrid and it really is tiny.

The 2.0-litre powerplant eschews the flat configuration made so famous in Porsche’s historic racers (such as the 917s and 956s of the Seventies and Eighties) and instead uses a 90-degree V setup.

With just four cylinders to fit in, this makes for an incredibly short engine, allowing Porsche to slim down the 919 Hybrid’s engine bay and improve the aerodynamics of the prototype’s rear end.

919 engine front

In 2015 specification (which allowed for a higher fuel flow rate than is mandated for this season), the Porsche 919’s internal combustion unit produced over 500hp thanks to the use of two turbochargers. This season, with eight per cent less fuel allowed, that figure will reduce to just under the 500hp mark.

Combined with the Porsche 919’s lithium-ion hybrid system (which regenerates kinetic energy under braking and thermal energy from the exhaust) driving the front wheels, the LMP1 class racer puts out a total of around 1000hp.

While the V4 configuration is highly unusual (and suffered from huge vibration issues in early testing in 2013), Porsche claims its 2.0-litre engine is the most efficient powerplant it has ever produced.

919 engine side

“Right from the beginning we had a brave concept, but it was also the right concept. This is paying off now,” explains Alexander Hitzinger, the Technical Director for the 919 Hybrid programme.

After a year of learning in 2014, the pay off was winning both the drivers’ and manufacturers titles in the FIA WEC last year, as well as a famous 17th overall victory at the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Of course, despite all the facts and figures, the photos are captivating enough on their own. It’s always fascinating to look at top echelon race engines (from the hugely lightweight flywheel to their beautiful finishing). Enjoy.

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919 engine back

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