Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo – Spark

2018 Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo
Spark - WAP0209260K (resin)

Published 04/17/19

Porsche 919 Hybrid #19 (05/05/17):
Since 1998 (with the GT1-98) there wasn’t a Porsche works car at Le Mans. After 14 years the brand startled the racing world announcing in 2012 that they would be back to the prototype business. By April 2014 the all-new Porsche 919 debuted at Silverstone. The big deal about the 919 is that it’s an hybrid. It has a 2 l V4 turbocharged gasoline engine with direct fuel injection and two energy recuperation systems. The first of these systems is a KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System, primarily an electromotive brake) on the front axle. The second one is via an exhaust gas energy recovery system. It is truly interesting because it allows the recovery of energy whenever the engine is running, while all other systems are only able to recover energy under braking. The 919 is the only LMP1 car currently able to do this.

Though I’m used to the shark fin by now, imagine how cool it would look without it.

The 919 won Le Mans in 2015, 2016 and 2017, and the WEC from 2014 to 2017. But after Le Mans in 2017, Porsche announced that they were leaving prototype racing. Still, the 919 continued to be a heckuva race car but with nowhere to race. One day, someone at Stuttgart asked “What could the 919 do if we really let it loose?”. So Porsche had the idea of using it as a marketing tool. They asked the engineering department to unleash the 919’s full potential, without any ACO or WEC restrictions.

This unrestricted car was the 919 Hybrid Evo. While retaining the original V4 engine, output was derestricted to 710 hp. The electric engines were also freed up to deliver 434 hp, and the car lost 39 kg. Downforce was increased by 53%, while aerodynamic efficiency got better by 66%. The car became an absolute track monster, with no creature comforts whatsoever.

Speed – everything else be damned!

All that came into fruition on April 11th, 2018, when the car broke the Spa-Francorchamps lap record. In 2017 Lewis Hamilton, aboard his Mercedes-AMG F1 W08, lapped the circuit in 1:42.553. The 919 Evo did it in 1:41.77. But the best was yet to come, on June 29th at Nürburgring. Piloted by Timo Bernhard, the Evo lapped the track in 5:19.546, shattering the previous record. In 1983 Stefan Bellof in a Porsche 956 lapped Nürburgring in 6:11.13, a record that many said was unbeatable.

You can’t see from the photo, but up close the cars are quite different from one another.

Some people will argue that the 919 Hybrid Evo is nothing more than a publicity stunt by Porsche. And they are correct – the car is just for show, not being legal for any FIA event. But for me, that’s beside the point. The point here is that we rarely see the total potential of these cars. To the best of my knowledge this is the only factory derestricted prototype. And come on, it spanked an F1! In conclusion, it’s an illegal race oddity, but the bee’s knees. In scale there’s not much to say about the model, other than it’s regular Spark-gorgeous. However, being a dealer-exclusive model, it has become HARD to come by on evilBay. In other words, it will be pricey. But is it worth it? Hell yeah!

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