Last year, Porsche shocked the motorsport world by pulling out of the World Endurance Championship, paving the way for a Formula E entry.
The move certainly wasn’t down to a lack of success: Stuttgart’s 919 Hybrid LMP1 machine won 17 of the 33 races it entered, bagged three contructors’ championships and was raced to victory three times at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s a shame, then, to see it retired in its prime. But worry not - Porsche is planning a farewell tour.
There’s just one thing: it won’t be quite the same car Porsche competed with. As you can see from the teaser video above and the Spa testing footage below, there have been some significant changes which WEC regulations simply wouldn’t have allowed.
See that rear wing? It’s completely new. It’s a different shape, and is mounted much further back than before. The front end has been completely reshaped too, losing its massive headlights in the process. There are almost certainly myriad changes under the skin, too.
So why is Porsche doing all this? The only logical explanation is that the firm will be using the car to hunt down outright track records the world over. With a former LMP1 that’s now unconstrained by regulations, we like Porsche’s chances.
UPDATE: Porsche has already managed to break a record at Spa Francorchamps. The modified 919 set a 1:41.770 with Neel Jani at the wheel, beating Lewis Hamilton’s 2017 Belgian Grand Prix pole lap by 0.783sec.
We’ve also been given a few more details as to the car’s mechanical changes. First up, the V4 internal combustion component of the powertain: it’s been re-restricted, bumping the power from 500bhp to 710. The energy recovery systems have been uncorked too - these now output 434bhp, up from 395.
The next stop on its tour will be the Nordschleife, where it’ll be doing a “demo lap” before the start of the 24 Hours Nurburgring.