Following an impressive competition debut by the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid at the recent Nurburgring 24-hour race, where the car led the overall classification for more than eight hours (and ran for more than 22) before a combustion engine issue forced the car to retire, the revolutionary hybrid racer will make additional race appearances later this year in the U.S. and Asia, the company confirmed Wednesday.
"After the 911 GT3 R Hybrid's fantastic performance at the Nurburgring 24 Hours, we are now eager to gain more experience with the hybrid technology on a variety of racetracks," says Hartmut Kristen, head of Porsche Motorsport. "At the same time, we would like to show fans and customers in our most important markets how our 'race lab' performs under racing conditions."
The hybrid will race at the season finale of the American Le Mans Series, the Petit Le Mans 10-hour/1,000-mile enduro at Road Atlanta on Oct. 2. The car will not be eligible for points, as hybrid technology is not yet included in the GT regulations. Additionally, on Nov. 7, Porsche then plans to race the car at the six-hour race in Zhuhai, China, which serves as the final round of the new Le Mans International Cup. Petit Le Mans is also a round of this new mini-series.
The Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid features two electric motors at the front axle each developing 60 kilowatts to supplement the 480hp normally aspirated engine. The distinctive aspect of Porsche's hybrid technology features an electric flywheel power generator located in the cockpit beside the driver that has the advantage of storing and delivering high amounts of energy very quickly. The combination of the combustion engine and electric motor fulfills a simple objective – using less fuel without compromising performance. When overtaking or accelerating, the driver can engage the system by pressing the boost paddle on the steering wheel to send energy from the charged generator.
“This is an outstanding opportunity to demonstrate the advances in automotive technologies and energy efficiencies that you won't see in any other motorsports environment in the world,” said American Le Mans Series President and CEO Scott Atherton. “Porsche has always led by example throughout its motorsports history – transferring what they learn on the racetrack to their production cars. And I believe this becomes the modern-day benchmark of how a manufacturer uses the American Le Mans Series' platform to develop and showcase new technology that is destined for road-car application. This car truly offers a glimpse into the future of high-performance road car technology.”
The ALMS has established itself as a platform that encourages manufacturers to showcase leading-edge, relevant technologies, requiring all competitors to utilize an alternative fuel or energy source. At Petit Le Mans, five different types of alternative energy sources will be raced: clean diesel, E10, cellulosic E85, isobutanol and electric hybrid.