Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo, Spa-Francorchamps, 2018

Porsche claims its 919 Hybrid Evo is “faster than Formula One” after Spa record lap

World Endurance Championship

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Porsche has claimed a new track record at Spa-Francorchamps using an “evo version” of its 919 Hybrid World Endurance Championship LMP1 car.

Neel Jani lapped the circuit in 1’41.770, 0.783 seconds faster than the previous track record, established during last year’s Belgian Grand Prix. Jani averaged 245.1kph around the 7.004 kilometre track, and hit a top speed of 359kph.

Porsche pulled out of the WEC at the end of last season. Its 919 Hybrid evo incorporates some upgrades which were planned for introduction this year and other aerodynamic developments.

Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo, Spa-Francorchamps, 2018
Porsche celebrates its F1-beating Spa lap
The power train was the same as raced in 2017. However the maximum energy recovered by its hybrid systems was increased from 6.37 megajoules to 8.49, increasing its output from 400bhp to 440bhp. As its V4 engine was no longer running to the WEC’s fuel restrictions its power output increased from 500bhp to 720bhp.

Aerodynamic changes to the car included a larger front diffuser and revised rear wing, both of which feature active aerodynamics. Jani was able to adjust the trailing edge of the front diffuser and open a slot in the rear wing to improve the car’s aerodynamic efficiency. Porsche estimated the car had 53% more downforce and was 66% more efficient compared to its trim from qualifying sessions last year.

The weight of the car was reduced by 39kg by removing non-essential components such as air conditioning, the windscreen wiper, some sensors, electronic devices, lights and the pneumatic jack system.

“It was kind of an engineer’s dream come true for us,” said chief race engineer Stephen Mitas who oversaw the project. “Having developed, improved and raced the car for four years, the guys had a very close relationship to it.

“We all knew, no matter how successful the 919 Hybrid was, it could never show its full abilities. Actually even the Evo version doesn’t fully exploit the technical potential. This time we were not limited by regulations but resources. It is a very satisfying feeling that what we’ve done to the car was enough to crack the Formula One record.”

Porsche will next run its 919 Hybrid Evo to the Nordschleife for a demonstration lap prior to the 24 Hours of the Nurburgring. It will also visit the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Festival of Porsche at Brands Hatch and the Porsche Rennsport Reunion at Laguna Seca.

Pictures: Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo at Spa

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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91 comments on “Porsche claims its 919 Hybrid Evo is “faster than Formula One” after Spa record lap”

  1. Take this F1 :)

    1. Meh, @abdelilah. First of all, they cracket LAST YEARs fastest lap time, and these year the cars seem to be another 1+ second faster, so once they arrive at Spa, that could easily be beaten already.

      Then, if the F1 cars would not have to run to restrictions with regards to active aero, to fuel flow etc, how fast could an F1 car become?

  2. A car with no restrictions beats a car restricted by Formula 1 regulations.. Non-story.

    1. It is restricted by its original design ;) But it doesn’t matter anyway. It’s FASTER.

      1. Basil (@flyingbasil)
        9th April 2018, 18:04

        faster than last years car)
        this year cars are faster (except Williams that is)

        1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
          9th April 2018, 19:42

          Poor Williams.

          1. They did a lot of non wec legal modifications to this car. Something tells me if you did the same to the f1 car that times would tumble. Imagine the ice output going up by 230hp?

          2. Look up the Red Bull X2010 to see what an F1 car could be with no rules.

  3. So we just need to wait for the Belgium GP this year for an F1 rule restricted car to claim the record again.

    Was there a point to this?

    1. Exactly my thoughts.

      They had to do a fair few mods just to get this marginal improvement over F1 for a few months bragging rights. Including a power output increase from 900 to 1160 hp thats not far off a 30% increase.

      1. Oh, come on guys. It’s just for fun. The LMP1 car weighs 200kg more (not including the driver in both cases).

        They got to run a car and show how much the regs were holding them back. They cut 14 seconds off last year’s pole time with the same car.

        And yes, it would be fun to see what F1 could do if they tried this.

        1. Exactly.+1

    2. FlatSix (@)
      9th April 2018, 17:35

      @johnmilk Porsche showing they’re a brilliant brand. The comparison by F1 is only made by the media.They very likely couldn’t care less because they’re professionals and know an unrestricted Mercedes would smash the record again.

      1. Not correct. The second last paragraph, shows they were the one’s satisfied by beating the F1 record.

      2. The comparison to F1 is directly in the quote. And it’s a ridiculous one.

      3. @flatsix Well in fairness it is the chief racing engineer Stephen Mitas that speaks of his satisfaction that what they’ve done to the car was enough to crack the F1 record, so, not the media making the comparison at all.

        I would say any LMP1 team could have done this given the restrictions being lifted, and then of course let’s compare to an unrestricted F1 car.

        I think it is cool what Porsche has done here, but don’t really get the takeaway other than if they had compared to how the car would have done at Lemans with a different set of rules, ie. less restrictions. They’d still need the air con, the lights, the wiper blade etc etc though…

      4. FlatSix (@)
        9th April 2018, 18:29

        I probably didn’t express myself correctly here, what I meant to say was that the goal wasn’t to beat the outright F1 pole time of last year. The goal was to showcase the 919 in all its glory. If the single target was to beat the F1 record you can bet they’d done just that by much more than they did today.

        1. The goal was to showcase the 919 in all its glory. If the single target was to beat the F1 record you can bet they’d done just that by much more than they did today.

          I think you are wrong here (and I’m as much a Porsche fan/driver as you are), and your explanation does not help you either. @flatsix.
          Of course they knew exactly how much to take out (A/C, wiper, weight) and what to add (movable parts and power) to make sure they would beat the F1 track record and make these headlines. That’s actually what I like about this: showing their engineering prowess.

        2. @flatsix

          The goal was to showcase the 919 in all its glory

          The only problem is, with all of the modifications they’ve made, it isn’t a 919 any more is it?

      5. @flatsix

        The comparison by F1 is only made by the media.

        No it isn’t. Porsche sent out a press release the title of which was “Porsche hybrid race car is faster than Formula One”.

        1. @keithcollantine, have you received the inevitable ripost from Bernie, no doubt he’ll blame FIA/FOM and their dogs for ruining F1, and exclaim that it never would have happened on his watch.

    3. @flatsix Yes, but what’s the point? Why not race around pikes peak or anywhere interesting, it’s hard to justify all they’ve done to be able to go quicker. It’s like this was meant to be the new set of LMP1 regulations VAG group was going to run on Lemans.

      Ever since Ford waved the flag for the start of the 24 heurs du Mans, that their race stopped being a sport and became a show, a marketing tool. Racing on their own, on their own set of rules, any time a big name comes up they lose and finally in their last stint with the new 919, the car is essentially the Audi but optimized for dry conditions, more aggressive battery solution and more slippery aero.

    4. “Was there a point to this?”

      I assume it was the same point Honda was making in 2006 when they modified an F1 car to go 397.360kph (246.908mph) on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

      They’re race car drivers and race car engineers. They wanted to see what they could do and that’s why they got in this business.

      1. +1 @daved, like climbing Everest, like Lotus (original) at Indianapolis, and it’s a compliment to F1 that it is the standard to beat.

        1. Exactly. I love to see us push the limits in racing technology.

          I would LOVE to see Adrian Newey build that X1 freakshow he designed. I bet that thing could shave 15-20 seconds off the lap record at most tracks! It would never be F1 legal, but that’s not the point.

          Of course, the X1 could probably push human limits. The driver would probably need a military flight suit to avoid blackouts :)

      2. @daved that was a genuine question btw

        To show their technical prowess just for marketing doesn’t tell me much, any other brand would be able to do such a thing.

        But if the point was to show their hybrid tech as a shout-out to F1 (since they clearly wanted to compare themselves with them, and that is where they lost me a little if I’m honest) saying that they can be ready to enter the sport, there is a deeper meaning to it, and something that would grab my attention.

        1. Look how much you commented! It did grab your attention, if only to bring out spite.

        2. @johnmilk
          Thanks, it’s good to know it was a genuine question and not a snyde, rhetorical question. As a guy who has to approve multi-million dollar products quite often, I can see a double purpose here. The Engineers/Drivers want to see what they can do. I have that argument all the time. The way I sell it to the business and justify the spending is through the fact that there is some other benefit such as the marketing angle.

          I give Porsche credit because coming out of the VG diesel scandal, it would be easy to just say “no” to everything spent on racing tech right now simply based on finances. So I’m happy to they let the engineers “talk them into it” because the geeky, engineering side of me loves to see someone push the envelope. 😎

          1. @daved and now that the ideals for the F1 post 2020 start to emerge, I would much prefer the tech behind this 919 hybrid, wouldn’t it be great if this run was to show the potential of the technology and its relevance for F1? Oh well

          2. @johnmilk

            I know! Wouldn’t that be fun to see! But I’m trying to learn to be positive. I’m going to be supportive of the technology direction they take in 2021. If it goes backwards, then I’ll enjoy the louder engines and (probably) lighter cars. If it goes forward, I’ll enjoy seeing how they apply technology to make the cars faster.

            The only thing that will frustrate me is if they do nothing to reduce the dependence on front wings. I am one of the crowd who truly believes that we will only get closer racing if they make smaller/simpler wings and use more downforce from the floor. And I REALLY want to see more wheel to wheel racing.

  4. Thats based on race laps with a 1 off full attack lap. What was F1 qualifying? Then take a current F1 car let them change a few things and the F1 car will be 10 seconds a lap faster than this pile of rubbish.

  5. Try this at Suzuka.

  6. Insert Toto Wolff gif

    1. Raise you a Christian Horner quip.

      1. I imagine Red Bull love this

  7. Do it on a whim, with future safety protocols already in place, and on a comparatively minuscule budget

  8. Thanks Porsche! By doing this you have absolutely demonstrated the disaster of the current state of F1 and regulations run amok. To take a 2017 sports car, release the actual potential and crack off such a time demonstrates how poorly the F1 formula currently is implemented. Anyone want to compare team budgets? F1- how wrong you have gone…

  9. A pitch for V4 on 2021 F1?

  10. WOWOW!! This has to be one of the most exciting motorsport news headlines I’ve ever read!!!

    I’m disappointed about all the cynical comments above. It doesn’t matter if F1 will eventually beat that time or not. It doesn’t matter if that records stands for a month, a year or just a week! This isn’t about that.
    This is about doing something cool, something significant. Yes – the fact that a non-F1 car beats a track record on an F1 circuit is a historically significant feat (unprecedented in modern times!). This feat is about pushing the boundries of our imagination constrained by the status quo that we’ve been conditioned to hold on to. This is about making motorsport fans realize that Formula 1 is not the be-all and and-all of motorsports, and certainly isn’t the only motorsport platform at the cutting edge of innovation. And look, this year’s Belgian GP weekend will suddenly have a nice, intriguing twist to it that goes beyond the tiny little hermetic world of F1.

    How can you not enjoy this?!? :-)

    1. sarcasm aside, this will be noted

    2. @damon I’d be more excited if, for example, they hadn’t taken the air conditioning out, which would be crucial in real world racing conditions for a closed cockpit car. They took off the wiper blade and it’s motor. Again, not real world.

      I do think it is kind of cool, but I find it hard to get excited about apples to oranges comparisons. I think it is safe to say that if you stripped some weight off an F1 car and lifted any fuel restrictions, the lap record would fall quite a bit further, so as I say if this were something more than just an experiment I’d be more excited. Couldn’t most of us, given verbal cues as to what they were going to do to a Porsche 919, surmise on paper what it might be capable of?

      Also, does the lap record even stand, officially? Was it an FIA legal car? No lights on it either.

      1. @robbie I doubt the lap record will be noted officially, sadly, as it wasn’t recorded in an official session.

        However, as I commented on another article not long ago, I’ve always thought a circuit’s track record should be the fastest verified lap ever recorded around that track in that layout, regardless of the category, vehicle, session, etc.

        A car that is legal one year probably won’t be legal the next so I’ve always thought that shouldn’t make a difference.

        1. @strontium Fair comment.

      2. ” I find it hard to get excited about apples to oranges comparisons.”
        Mate, what do you not understand about 1:41.8 being faster than 1:42.5??
        It’s apples and apples – minutes, seconds and tenths of a second, lap time against lap time. One is better than the other and that’s the entire point of the story, come on.

        1. It’s going to get smashed this year with a LEGAL F1 car, nevermind what could be done to reduce the laptime if it didn’t have to conform to a set of rules.

          1. @asanator
            Dude, every record will get broken at one point. And this car IS legal. There was no Police chasing it, was there? Hahaha. Whether it is part of a racing series or not – what does it matter?

  11. How is this possible? I’d like to see a side-by-side comparison between this lap and the pole lap for last season’s Belgian GP. I bet Neel Jani pulled out quite a few corner-cuts to achieve this lap time, LOL. How could an LMP1 car actually beat an F1 car on a single lap purely on merit?

    1. He can’t. Its in comparison to last years fastest race lap. Was quali weather compromised last year? If so this porker that was heavily modified would be slower than a legal 2017 F1 car. If you took last years F1 cars removed the fuel restrictor, increased battery power and put illegal aero parts on they would be 10 seconds faster. Porker need this comparison as they want free press off the back of F1 as they are incapable to enter a factory F1 team and win. Their history is based off many LeMans wins when most years there was no real competition. Bit like Audi.

    2. @jerejj By not being an LMP1 car?

      1. @psynrg bang on. it’s not an LMP1 car. it’s a cool story – i really don’t understand what everyone is getting so worked up about. back in the early 1970s, the porsche 917 was quicker than F1 at the old spa (though again i think in different seasons).

  12. Neil (@neilosjames)
    9th April 2018, 18:41

    Very cool… couldn’t care less if it wasn’t even close to conforming with WEC regulations, it’s still an achievement and it’s good to see a company doing a ‘what if’ thing to find out what the true potential of their car is.

    1. Really like the approach to push the car to its limit outside of the restriction. Like it would be amazing to see Mercedes or Ferrari giving a go with full power (not preserving engine and burning some extra oil) with their current system to demonstrate how fast they could go and bring a Wow and a big smile to most of us!
      Just because they can. (Unfortunately that is probably not allowed under current F1 rules providing teams testing)

  13. Take away the restrictions on am F1 car and give a team like Mercedes or Ferrari a whole year to fiddle with things, I’m pretty sure she would all be shocked at the results.

    Porsche are just blowing smoke up their own bottoms!

    1. They are part of VAG group so probably blowing a lot of smoke. In fact has this been double checked as VAG group are not exactly honest.

      1. Pointless and cynical comment. Why note check some real life data on Euro 6 NoX emissions by make?

  14. It isn’t an LMP1 car any more.

    “Porsche estimated the car had 53% more downforce and was 66% more efficient compared to its trim from qualifying sessions last year.” It also has 33% better power-to-weight ration than last year.

  15. @damon Very cool, and I don’t see any reason for all of the negative comments. They did what they did the way they did, and it’s cool. They said they set a new track record, and they did. It is what it is. It DOES demonstrate that there are other people who could easily succeed in F1 if the formula was more open.

    1. @gwbridge Does it say that? If the formula was more open, newcomers would still have to go up against experienced F1 people with fewer restrictions to go by, so…methinks any newcomers would find the challenge just as difficult as with a more restricted series.

  16. Why all the negativity? Are diehard F1 fans really this hypersensitive, overprotective, and needlessly self-conscious? Porsche’s accomplishment is a fantastic one: engineering ascendency without necessity and speed for speed’s sake. The very essence of motorsport. Anyone with but a passing interest in automobiles can admire the hair-raising speed and unleashed power of the 919 Evo at Spa. A fitting send-off for a fantastic machine.

    1. I don’t think it is about hypersensitivity, it’s cool and all, but for me it’s just not apples to oranges, so to me it kind of feels like anybody can be substituted for the name Porsche, and make an illegal car go fast for a lap or two under conditions they’d never be able to race under.

      1. I understand your perspective. Ultimately though, the car broke the lap record, and irrespective of the circumstances and specification of automobile, that is remarkable enough for me.

  17. I feel like this should be a challenge for an F1 team to take on now. But please, don’t quit the sport!

  18. Some people taking this to seriously, it’s a promotional tool for Porsche that’s all and it is effective. A bit of fun letting their hair down.
    just wondering is this the first time a sports car has lapped faster than an F1? Are there any direct comparisons between the can am/Le mans 917 Porsches of the 70s to the F1s of the time?

  19. So basically drs for the front and rear wings and the diffuser which reduce drag on straights massively. This allows the car to have really high downforce in corners and really low drag on straights. Also you can be sure these wings don’t even come to close to the wec technical regulationsin terms of size and position.

    Engine power and torque can be as much as you want for single lap. It is not just the car having more power but more torque as well. And who knows what kind of tires the car was running. Probably something that can not take more than one lap. Although at the same time if the car’s performance is increased so much the tires need to be different as the original wec tires probably could not handle the increased loads.

    F1 could easily go a lot faster as well. Just remove the fuel restrictors, remove the hybrid systems except for the electric motor on the turbo axle and you have a car that is 100kg lighter. You could have 1500hp from the engine and with some help from the electrics there is very little turbo lag. Then add massive wings and add drs for the front and rear wings and the diffuser.

    Only weakness an f1 car has compared to the wec lmp1 is the exposed wheels which create lift and drag that can not be done away with without wheel fairings.

    1. Only weakness an f1 car has compared to the wec lmp1 is the exposed wheels which create lift and drag that can not be done away with without wheel fairings.

      This is the crucial point. Arguably a closed-wheel car has the potential to go faster than an open-wheel car, all other factors being equal. Off the top of my head, closed wheel cars were the fastest racers in the 80s and the 50s. So it should come as no surprise that an unrestricted WEC car can beat an F1 car.

      And if it came to a weapons race of modified cars seeking the best lap, I’m not sure the F1 car could guarantee victory…

    2. I am sure that just removing fuel restrictions, putting in an engine where they can put everything up to max (not having to survive for the whole weekend, let alone another 6 to go) taking the ballast out and using DRS whereever they want – not even going towards more active aero, would thrash this record. Even more so, since this year’s F1 cars will most likely already be faster than the EVO Porsche is @socksolid, David

      1. Removing fuel restriction alone would be huge. If the 1.5 liter turbos back in the 80s could do 1300hp in qualifying then the current turbo 1.6 liter engines could go well above it. With the fuel and hybrid limits taken away the car could have over 2000hp in some parts of the track.

        Modern f1 cars don’t really have ballast (except to adjust center of gravity to meet the regulations). The engines are too heavy so there is very little room to add any ballast to the car. The v8s and v10 cars had room for lots of ballast but the hybrids struggle to get to the minimum weight.

  20. I’m not sure why their is so much animosity. They’re having fun and showing what they can do. To me, this is no different than Adrian Newey designing the X1 (or X2010 or whatever they ended up calling it).

    It’s just fun to imagine what you could do with less restrictions on something. They got lucky…they got to try it for real and I say good for them.

    It doesn’t threaten the “manhood” of F1 so who cares. Enjoy something cool.

    1. I wish we had an edit function. :( there…not their

    2. Bosco Moroz
      11th April 2018, 0:31

      For someone who has seen F1 and WEC in person, I find anything that can run with an F1 car noteworthy, especially last years as it really raised the bar. Of course this years car will be even faster with a years more data. 14 seconds a lap over last years pole, that is impressive.

      For all the Lewis fans, how fast could he have taken the Porsche with a few days seat time. No one mentions they did this on a green track, Let them do this on equal footing after quali at this years F1 race and lets see the times.
      Turn off F1 fuel rate and we would see some crazy low times… maybe Liberty will embrace the idea to showcase just how bad ass F1 really is to end such a silly debate.
      However; Porsche showed a one lap pace that beat an F1 car run in anger during last years qualifying all during a one off running, very damn impressive. This is cool from many aspects.

      1. Bosco Moroz
        11th April 2018, 0:37

        14 seconds a lap over their own classification last year, not F1, before anyone bashes me.
        I wonder if F1 could pull 14 seconds over this years pole without fuel rate and other restrictions.

  21. The point is: give an F1 car the same liberty of modding (engine and aerodinamically-wise) and it will shatter the record by who knows how much. More than 10 seconds maybe. Faster is such a relative concept when the reference frame is changed, it makes really little sense making comparisons. Still, the article had to be written anyway.

  22. Porsche should take the Evo version to the Pike’s Peak.

  23. It would be trivial to modify an F1 car to beat this… Add 20% battery storage, remove half the fuel tank, and remove the 10,500 rpm fuel flow limit.

    Oh, and replace the compromise gearset with one tuned for Spa.

    Now, if Porsche said their thermal efficiency was pushing 50%, I would actually be impressed.

    1. It isnt a trivial thing to hold the world record on an F1 track no matter what car you bring. This car is a beast.

    2. I’m more impressed by the lap time beating a light open wheeler. Who cares about thermal efficiency? Porches is a very high efficiency anyway.

      1. Thermal efficiency is why the Mercedes engine can do a faster lap, on less fuel. Most internal combustion engines are lucky to break 35%. The Mercedes hybrid engine, last I heard, was in the upper 40’s, and headed for 50%, which 10 years ago would have been considered science fiction.

        But the Porsche was modified by adding 30% battery storage and 40% horsepower over the existing LMP1 spec– if F1 was allowed similar liberties with their rules, the LMP1 wouldn’t have a chance.

        “Our unrestricted car that doesn’t obey any race specification is faster than a restricted F1 car!”– Well, I would certainly hope so. :)

  24. The car also seems to have had side skirts for ground effect.

  25. This is not pointless at all. Porsche have a platform to break all lap records. Brand their name in record books allover the world. No Idea why no F1 team goes to Nurburgring for example.

    1. Nurburgring is too bumpy for a F1 car….I think.

  26. F1 fans…don’t worry.
    The W09 will beat that time….
    Just wait for 25th August 14:00 GMT.

    1. What if it rains?

      1. OH..yeah didn’t think about that.
        Hopefully, it’s dry.

  27. So a racing car built to comply with no technical regulations beats one built to a very tight set of technical regulations…go figure.

  28. Maybe there is an advantage in covering the wheels of a racing car.

  29. This would single handedly add so much ‘cool’ if an F1 team did this. If Mercedes took last years car, derestricted everything on it, chucked out all the FIA mandated ballast, cameras, etc and turned party mode up to 12. Cover it in some mental chromed out livery and set an insane lap.

    On the other hand it might whet the appetite too much and increase the backlash against the restricted formula.

    1. Well, if they took the 2015 car – because by the testing rules they aren’t allowed to run a more recent car in anger, if I’m not mistaken ;-)

  30. So, this is very cool @neilosjames, @damon, I have to say, it has to be a good thing that porsche lets their car/team (which did seem to have some unfinished business to their own mind) go all out to make a speed monster and see how fast they can go. I hope they get a lot of good PR out of it, and some enthousiasm for motorsport. Wouldn’t mind seeing the last Audi, and the Toyota cars also get this treatment to see the difference the rules make there too!

    I also agree with everyone that puts a reasonable amount of asterisk, like @robbie and @bascb – I fully expect (unless rain) that record to be broken by F1 in August, by a F1-legal car, so any ‘take that F1’ sentiments are a bit overdone.

    1. Shouldn’t we put an asterisk on the F1 record that will be broken in august as well? Because, “hey, the 2018 Formula 1 car was designed with the rules that allow it to be faster than any modified LMP to begin with”.
      And if the record gets broken by Mercedes shouldn’t we also put an asterisk because “hey, Mercedes used much more money and resources than Williams, so OBVIOUSLY it would be them to beat the record”.
      Actually, shouldn’t we put an asterisk on every lap record the 2017/2018 era Formula 1 cars have and will have broken?!? Because “Duh, since you have used 2018 technology, you OBVIOUSLY will get a faster car than those built the 1970s, DUH”.

      How many asterisks do we need to put on reality to accept it for what it is?

      1. Correct. F1 is meant to be the pinnacle. The fastest ever cars around a circuit with no doubt, regardless of regs.
        A tweaked lmp1 just proved that wrong.

        1. so, are you saying its the FIA’s fault for allowing the gap between LMP1 and F1 to be so close?

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