It’s been a little while since Porsche last fielded a prototype racer in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but the automaker confirmed today it will return to the endurance race with an LMP1 entry in 2014.What car? All the automaker is willing to say is that it will be “all-new,” don’t be too surprised if it resembles the 918 RSR Hybrid concept.
With its reentry into Le Mans, Porsche is building off of the success of the 911 GT3 R Hybrid and RS Spyder in the American Le Mans Series. The 911 GT3 R Hybrid helped Porsche develop and test a new kind of powertrain for its racecars, and the success (17 wins, before Porsche withdrew from the series) of the RS Spyder in the LMP2 class raised the bar for Porsche’s future prototype ambitions.
Although Porsche won’t comment on what we’ll see on the track in 3 years, the 918 RSR Hybrid showcar -- an evolution of the 918 Spyder concept and production supercar -- may have been a sneak peek. Porsche’s newest halo car was designed with motorsports ambitions in mind, so it would make logical sense that the new racer would build on existing development work. Further, the 918’s monocoque chassis is derived directly from the RS Spyder, as is its direct-injected 3.4-liter V-8 engine and KERS energy recovery system. Control-arm suspension systems and adjustable pushrod-activated spring and damper units will mostly likely be carried over from the concept as well.
Porsche hints the new car will continue to use technologies currently found in its race cars; coincidently, both KERS and direct fuel injection are currently in use and were also found in the 918 RSR. What do you think? Will Porsche’s 2014 LMP1 racer be based off of the 918 RSR Hybrid, or should it be a technological tour de force that’s unlike any other road car, Porsche or otherwise? What does Porsche’s LMP1 challenger need in order to conquer dominant forces like Audi and Peugeot? Send your recipes to us in the comments section below.