2017 Porsche 919 Hybrid #2
Pilots: T. Bernhard, B. Hartley, E. Bamber
Team: Porsche LMP Team
Race: 1st place (LMP1 class) at Le Mans in 2017
Spark - MAP02031717 (resin)
In the world of high-level racing, you can’t stand still. It doesn’t matter if you won before. Even with victories at La Sarthe in 2015 and 2016, Porsche didn’t stop developing the 919 Hybrid. So for the 2017 season, Stuttgart made quite a few modifications to the car. According to Porsche, 60 to 70 per cent of the vehicle was newly developed. To make the cars safer, for 2017 FIA limited the amount of downforce that a LMP1 could produce. What that meant was that LMP1 cars would be slower on corners, so the 919’s aerodynamics had to be totally revised. However, the 919 retained the previous 2.0 V4 gasoline-powered engine and hybrid system. What Porsche did was optimize the energy recovery systems to feed even more power to an updated lithium-ion battery.
LUWerner on W-143:
The 2016 919 Hybrid is a tweaked version of the car that debuted in 2014. The chassis remains unchanged, and so do the major components of the power train. The engine is the same 2.0-liter turbocharged V4 of 2015, but lighter and more fuel-efficient, though producing less than the 500 hp of the previous year. The power layout is also the same: the combustion engine powers the rear wheels and the pilot still has on tap an extra 400 hp for the front wheels from an electric motor.
The 2017 24 Heures du Mans was Porsche’s 19th overall victory at La Sarthe. But it was not an easy path to the podium. The 919 #2 here had a motor generator unit failure in the fourth hour that dropped the car to 55th place! With a drawback like that, the general consensus was that the car was out of the race, so to speak.
On the other hand, the 919 #1 sister car was doing very well. By lunchtime on Sunday it had amassed a lead of 13 laps. But with just three hours to go #1 ground to a halt with a lack of oil pressure. Undaunted and with the generator fixed, 919 #2 was steadily recovering. With brilliant piloting, Bernhard, Hartley and Bamber, in the penultimate hour, finally managed to pass Jackie Chan’s ORECA 07 #38. Finally Porsche was on the lead again and 919 #2 finished in 1st place.
First things first: this is a grail model for me. But the livery is (really) boring. And it looks a lot like it’s predecessors. So a “grail model”, why? Two reasons. First, the story behind the Hybrid #2. It’s a blood-sweat-and-tears story, exactly the kind of story that makes Le Mans so dear to me. And second, this is the last Porsche prototype that we’ll see at La Sarthe for a loooong time. Model-wise it’s terrific, an awesome effort by Spark, just like the 2016 and 2015 cars. All three are very neat models. However, if I were to choose, I would say that #19 is my favorite.