Audi has dominated the 24 Hours of Le Mans by winning 12 of the last 14 races, a record second only to Porsche. But while Audi is sticking with the same tried-and-true turbodiesel V6 hybrid setup, Porsche is trying something different. Today Porsche revealed that its LMP1 endurance race car would use a pair of energy recovery systems, and a turbocharged gasoline four-cylinder.
No details on specs or performance, but you can bet that Porsche engineers knows how fast they need to be to beat Audi. The direct injection gasoline engine will be paired with two energy recovery systems, though just what kind remains up in the air. The new FIA World Endurance Championship rules give manufacturers greater leeway for their drivetrains.
That’s why we’ve seen such radical designs like the DeltaWing take to the track, and Nissan will be bringing its own hybrid race car to the world’s oldest endurance race in 2014. Toyota also tried its luck at dethroning Audi with a hybrid race car, also falling short though providing plenty of thrills and spills along the way. It’s exciting to watch automakers branch out and try new and exciting ideas in the spirit of competition. Porsche recruited former Red Bull racer Mark Webber to test the new race car at Portimão, Portugal, though whether he’ll be at the wheel for Le Mans remains to be seen.
This is serious business, and Porsche isn’t going to just roll over for Audi at the 2014 Le Mans, despite the two-cylinder disadvantage.