It’s Official: Porsche to race 911 GT3 R Hybrid at Petit Le Mans

July 23, 2010

It’s Official: Porsche to race 911 GT3 R Hybrid at Petit Le Mans

July 23, 2010

The Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid will make its North American race debut at the Petit Le Mans in October. Photo courtesy Porsche Motorsport

After months of preliminary planning and organizing, it’s official. Porsche will debut its 911 GT3 R Hybrid GT car in North America at October’s Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, the 2010 American Le Mans Series season finale. It will also race in the Asian Le Mans Series race in Zhuhai, China in November.

This is a full factory effort as prepared at Porsche Motorsport’s factory base in Weissach, Germany. The orange-and-white 911 GT3 R Hybrid, which runs on MICHELIN® tires, does not yet have drivers announced but those should be revealed in the near future.

Porsche has worked tirelessly and for an incredible amount of time to work on development of the car. It made its biggest mark at the Nürburgring 24-hour race in May. The car ran for more than 22 hours and led overall for more than eight.

The Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid starred at the Nürburgring 24-hour race. Photo courtesy Porsche Motorsport

“After the 911 GT3 R Hybrid’s fantastic performance at the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we are now eager to gain more experience with the hybrid technology on a variety of race tracks,” said Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport, in Porsche’s official release. “At the same time, we would like to show fans and customers in our most important markets how our ‘race lab’ performs under racing conditions.”

The car has two electric motors at the front axle, and each one develops 60 kilowatts to supplement the 480 horsepower normally-aspirated rear-engine. Porsche saves energy in the process under braking, as the hybrid system converts kinetic energy to electrical energy and stores it in a flywheel.

From there, the energy goes to the front wheels when accelerating to support the combustion engine. That helps to decrease fuel consumption and increase the cruising range, while drivers can also activate the stored energy during overtaking thanks to a boost paddle on the steering wheel.

Fans at Petit Le Mans will have the opportunity to test drive something similar, as officials from Green Racing have developed a Green Racing Simulator that utilizes a Corvette with a hybrid system. The primary game developer said there is the potential of expanding the game to include the Porsche Hybrid as well.

As ALMS regulations do not yet have hybrid technology in the GT class, the Porsche will run unclassified. The Dyson Lola Mazda Coupe ran unclassified at two races last year with the preliminary use of isobutanol fuel, which was adopted for 2010. The first hybrid to race in ALMS was the Ginetta Zytek 09S Hybrid, which ran in six events in 2009 and scored its first podium at Lime Rock in third place.

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