2014 marks the return of Porsche to the World Endurance Championship after the sports car maker left the series in 1998, having racked up more wins than any other manufacturer. In Porsche’s absence, Audi has come to dominate the 24 Hours of Le mans, though the new Porsche 919 Hybrid with a turbo four-pot under the hood aims to unseat Audi once and for all.
In the 1970s, 8-s, and 90s Porsche absolutely dominated the Le Mans field, and the Porsche 917 is considered by many to be the best race car of all time. Since 1998 though Porsche has stepped away from endurance racing and Le Mans to focus on other motorsports, confident that its 16 wins would ensure it a top spot for decades to come. The 919 name no doubt hopes to recall the success of the original 917, as well as to promote the street cred of the 887 horsepower, $845,000 plug-in hybrid Porsche 918 Spyder supercar, which just entered production.
Audi had other machinations though, and since the year 2000 Audi has won 12 of the last 14 Le Mans races. This has prompted Porsche to return to the top-tier LMP1 field with the 919 Hybrid, as well as four world-class drivers; former F1 drivers Mark Webber and Romain Dumas have signed up to drive race the 919 Hybrid, along with veteran porsche drivers Porsche Timo Bernhard and Neel Jani.
Porsche already announcd that the 919 Hybrid will use a 2.0 liter, four-cylinder, as well as a new, dual-hybrid drivetrain that meets new FIA racing regulations. Audi has also developed a secondary hybrid system for its R18 E-Tron Quattro race car, and these two long-time rivals are going to be the cars everybody is watching come Le Mans 2014.
2014 is going to be a big year for green race cars.