To send off its three-time Le Mans-winning LMP1 car, Porsche has built the 919 Hybrid Evo, a high-downforce machine designed to break lap records. And it's already broken its first. With factory driver Neel Jani at the wheel, the 919 Evo ran a 1:41.7 around Spa Francorchamps this morning, breaking Lewis Hamilton's pole-setting 1:42.553 lap record from last year.
This post, originally published 4/9/18, was updated on 4/11/18 with trackside videos of the 919 Evo at Spa.
Porsche hasn't released an on-board video of the lap, but trackside clips help convey the absurd speed the 919 Evo is capable of. It's so quick, it almost doesn't look like real-life.
The 919 Evo started off as the car that won Le Mans last year, but it's been freed from the technical regulations of the World Endurance Championship in which it competed. Its turbocharged V4 gas engine now makes 720 hp, up from 500 before, and its electric boost has been upped from 400 hp to 440. Aero was upgraded significantly too, with the 919 Evo making 53 percent more downforce than before. That's more downforce than an F1 car, by the way.
Weight was reduced by 86 pounds, so the 919 Evo weighs just under a ton with Jani on board. The suspension was upgraded to handle all the extra downforce, and Michelin provided a new tire too.
On the track, Jani hit a top speed of 216.8 mph and averaged 152.6 mph. His time of 1:41.7 was an astonishing 12 seconds faster than the 919's pole-setting lap at the circuit last year.
And the best part? Porsche isn't done. It's going to do a demo lap on the Nürburgring Nordshliefe next month. We don't know what Porsche has planned, but perhaps it has a certain 6:11.13 lap set in 1983 in its sights.