Porsche's innovative 911 GT3 R Hybrid will make a return to North American racing next month, as Porsche Motorsport confirmed its entry in the ModSpace American Le Mans Series Monterey presented by Patrón, the six-hour race on Sept. 17 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Porsche works drivers Romain Dumas and Richard Lietz will share the cockpit. Dumas already has driven the world's most innovative GT vehicle last year at Road Atlanta's Petit Le Mans. Lietz piloted the 911 Hybrid at the 24-hour races on the Nuerburgring in 2010 and 2011 as well as at various other long-distance races.
“I'm so looking forward to demonstrating the capabilities of this very special car at race speed to the spectators in California,” said Dumas, a two-time ALMS champion in LMP2 for Porsche. “Many Porsche fans live on the West Coast, and some of them have already discovered the advantages of the hybrid system at the wheel of a Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid. I'm very excited because Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is one of the most challenging race tracks on earth. Its layout with a series of up and downhill passages should actually suit our 911 GT3 R Hybrid.”
The outing of Porsche's hybrid racer at the 24 Hours of Nurburgring last month was encouraging. The car achieved the same quick lap times as its top rivals yet used considerably less fuel. However, two broken transmission flanges and a collision thwarted a potential podium spot.
The Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid 2.0 – with two 75-kilowatt electric motors on the front axle supplementing the 465hp four-liter, six-cylinder power unit at the rear – utilizes electric energy generated during braking and stored in an electric flywheel. During acceleration, this energy is automatically delivered to the front wheels supporting the combustion engine. This leads to a reduction in fuel consumption and increases the cruising range on the circuit.
Drivers can manually use the stored energy with a boost-paddle on the steering wheel for passing. Compared to its predecessor, its weight was reduced from 2,970lbs to 2,860lbs.
“The Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid represents one of the best examples ever of technology transfer between race track and showroom,” said Scott Atherton, president and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. “It brought an entirely new level of relevance to our platform during its North American debut at Petit Le Mans last year; certainly it stands to do the same during its maiden appearance on the West Coast.
"Porsche is using its involvement in the ALMS to demonstrate that high performance and fuel efficiency are not mutually exclusive achievements. The benefits of this revolutionary development program will no doubt lead to numerous advancements that will be applied to future Porsche road cars. We are proud that our position as the 'Global Leader of Green Racing' enables such technologies to be put to the ultimate endurance test and actively developed in front of our fans.”