Porsche has announced it is extending its 919 LMP1 racing program through to the 2018 FIA World Endurance Championship season. The extension adds two years to Porsche’s initial two season commitment to the series and will take the automaker into the next series of WEC rule changes, due for the 2017 racing season.
So far, Porsche’s LMP1 program has been immensely successful. The team took six podiums in its first season of racing, including a win at Brazil, and recently drove to a 1-2 finish at the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans. Porsche is also leading the manufacturer’s championship this year with 140 points to Audi’s 124.
“That we have managed to take the crown jewels of endurance racing in only our second year, with a one-two result in Le Mans in 2015 with our highly innovative and complex 919, is an outstanding testimony to the people in the Weissach research and development centre,” Porsche chairman Matthias Müller said in a statement. “The competition bears fruits and we see further potential for future synergy between the racing and road car programmes. This is why we have extended the programme.”
Porsche says its 1,000 horsepower 919 hybrid “serves as a research laboratory for future sports car technology.” With a turbocharged V4 engine producing over 500 horsepower and two energy recovery systems, racing with the 919 is helping Porsche to better understand technologies such as engine downsizing, turbocharging and hybrid systems.
FIA WEC action returns this weekend for the 6 Hours of Nurburgring. Porsche’s two No. 17 and No. 18 919 hybrids posted the second and fourth fastest lap times in Free Practice 2 Friday, sitting behind the fastest car of the day, the No. 7 Audi R18 e-tron Quattro.