Our friends over at Jalopnik raised a very valid point yesterday: traditionally, Porsche maintains a very strong link between the engines used in its race cars, and those in its production vehicles. For instance, the iconic 917 race car was powered by a flat-12, functionally similar to fusing two 911 engines together. The 934, 935 and 936 race cars all made use of variations on the Porsche (930) 911 Turbo’s forced-induction flat-6. And so forth.
Engines with 6 cylinders aren’t the only examples, either; both the Carrera GT’s V10, and the 918 Spyder’s V8, had their roots in Le Mans Prototype race cars.
So then, what about the Porsche 919 V4 internal-combustion engine? Jalopnik simply asks: could it make its way into a road car?
Of course, while the aforementioned examples of engine repurposing were undoubtedly driven largely by cost concerns, Porsche has grown since those days. The marque now enjoys considerably more annual sales than at any other time in its history, and can more easily swallow the cost of a clean-sheet engine design like that of the Porsche 919 V4.
But then, there is a lingering quote from Porsche Board Chairman Matthias Müller, made months ago. Regarding the marque’s decision to run three 919 Hybrid race cars at Le Mans this year, he said that “the highly demanding motorsport programme contributes directly to the development of future sports cars for the road. For the development and testing of future hybrid systems, you can’t ask for any harder test bench than the World Endurance Championship and especially the Le Mans 24-Hours.”
At the time, we had figured that Mr. Müller had intended “future hybrid systems” as a phrase to encompass (for instance) the Porsche 919 Hybrid’s electric drive motors, energy recuperation strategies, etc. It is, after all, common knowledge that Porsche is becoming increasingly serious about utilizing hybrid tech.
But could the phrase in fact indicate a re-appropriation of the race car’s drivetrain in its entirety? With the Porsche 919 V4, electric drive motors, exhaust-gas thermal energy and all? Perhaps the Porsche 918 Spyder could have a younger sibling in the form of a future hybrid halo car, using the Porsche 919 V4 as its ICE, dual electric motors, and other futuristic stuff tried and tested at Le Mans.
Wow. We just got goosebumps…