Nürburgring lap record beaten by 52 seconds
After 35 years, the amazing lap time of 6.11.13 set by Stefan Bellof around the Nürburgring in a Porsche 956 has finally, and spectacularly fallen, with the 919 Evo completing the fabled circuit in 5:19.55.
Bellof’s legendary lap from 1983 has finally been dethroned by Porsche’s astonishing 919 Evo – the car designed to show what Stuttgart’s three-time Le Mans winner could do if it wasn’t burdened by the regulations of the World Endurance Championship. The Evo used the regular 919’s hybrid power train, a two-litre turbocharged V4- cylinder engine, with two different energy systems; one recovering energy from the front brakes and another taking energy from the exhaust system. In this set up the combustion engine drives the rear axle while the electro motor boosts the front axle to accelerate the car with four-wheel drive. At the same time it recuperates energy from the exhaust system that otherwise would pass unused in to the atmosphere. The electrical energy that comes from the front brakes and the exhaust system is temporarily stored in a liquid-cooled lithium ion battery from A123 Systems.
Where the Evo differs from the 919, is in parts governed by the WEC. So, instead of the circa 500 hp the combustion engine was limited to by the endurance series’ fuel flow metering, the Evo is able to output around 720 hp. The amount of energy that could be used from its two recovery systems has also been upped for the Evo, with the derestricted car offering almost two megajoules more at , giving the record breaking version of the 919 a total of 1160 hp.
This higher output, is combined with a curb weight of 849 kilograms, 39 kilograms lighter than the 919 was originally. This weight saving was achieved by removing everything that wasn’t needed for a single hot lap: air-conditioning, windscreen wiper, several sensors, electronic devices from race control, lights systems and the pneumatic jack system. This gives a power to weight ratio of 1366 hp/tonne – incredibly close to Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes F1 W08 EQ Power+, which won the 2017 F1 World Championship and had around 1,373 hp/tonne.
Porsche’s engineers also unshackled the aero of the 919, giving it a new larger front diffuser to balance the new and very large rear wing, both of which have actively controlled drag reduction systems. The hydraulically operated systems trim the trailing edge of the front diffuser and opens up the slot between the rear wing main plane and the flap respectively in order increase the aerodynamic efficiency of the Evo. Underneath the Evo the turning vanes and floor have been optimised with fixed height side skirts to increase the aerodynamic performance again as efficiently as possible. In total the aero modifications resulted in 53 per cent higher downforce and an increase in efficiency by 66 per cent (compared to the trim ran at 2017’s WEC qualifying at Spa).
To help further expand the car’s performance, the super-fast Evo gained a four-wheel brake-by-wire system to provide additional yaw control. Furthermore, the power steering was adapted for the higher loads and stronger suspension wishbones (front and rear) were implemented.
All this meant that the 919 Hybrid Evo was able to lap the 12.94 mile Nordschleife in a scarcely believable 5:19.55, with the car taking on ‘The Green Hell’ at an average speed of 145.3 mph, and topping out at 229.5 mph.
“As a race team we constantly search for challenges that push a car, driver and team to operate on the limit. Conquering the “Green Hell” definitely provided such a challenge,” said LMP team principal Andreas Seidl. “Since last winter we were preparing for that task together with our tyre partner Michelin – painstakingly and with a great deal of respect for this track. Today we have shown the full potential of the 919 Evo.”
Watch the amazing on-board footage from the record breaking lap below.