When we learned that the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid would be headed to Petit Le Mans, we were stoked. We’ve been following this car with a passion. Take a Porsche 911 GT3 R producing 480 rear-wheel horsepower add in electric motors to kick another 60 kilowatts to the front wheels, when needed and you have the future. Sprinkle in last years Le Mans 24 Hours winners and the GT2 class could be in for an upset. The is not eligable for points, so this will have no effect on the Championship.
Porsche works drivers Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) return to the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) as teammates. The pair join forces on the “Road Atlanta” race track for the season final on 2 October to pilot the innovative Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid, which features two electric motors at the front axle each developing 60 kilowatts to supplement the 480 horsepower normally-aspirated rear-engine. The third driver is former Porsche-Junior and current Audi factory pilot Mike Rockenfeller (Germany). Together, the trio won the Le Mans 24 Hours in June. In January, Rockenfeller claimed victory in a Porsche-powered Daytona Prototype at the Daytona 24 hour race.
At the 1,000 mile race on the outskirts of the US city of Atlanta, the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid will not be eligible for points, as hybrid technology is not yet included in the GT regulations. “Our priorities are to further develop the hybrid technology and to optimise the fuel consumption under racing conditions. Nevertheless, I’m very interested to see how we compare to the GT2 cars,” says Timo Bernhard. “Nowhere is the competition in the GT segment as hard as it is here in the USA,” adds Dumas.
As a driver pairing, Bernhard and Dumas have already notched up many historical victories, including the ALMS title in the LMP2 prototype class in 2007 and 2008, the overall win at the 2008 Sebring 12 Hours, as well as three overall victories at the Nürburgring 24 hour race from 2007 to 2009.
The Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid, that demonstrated the potential of its groundbreaking technology over 22 hours and 15 minutes at this year’s Nürburgring 24 hour race and led the overall classification for more than eight hours, expressly typifies the philosophy of “Porsche Intelligent Performance”. Under braking, the 911 GT3 R Hybrid converts kinetic energy into electrical energy and stores it in a flywheel. During acceleration, this energy is automatically delivered to the front wheels, supporting the combustion engine. This leads to a reduction in fuel consumption and increases the cruising range. Moreover, drivers can manually utilise the stored energy with a boost-paddle on the steering wheel for overtaking.