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Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid Flywheel Electric Storage Racing Prototype 2010

Exactly 110 years after Ferdinand Porsche developed the world's first car with hybrid drive , the Lohner Porsche (see Car Reviews - Lohner Porsche 1900-1901 with Electric Hub wheel drive), Porsche A.G. is once again taking up this visionary drive concept in production-based GT racing. The Porsche GT3 R Hybrid with innovative hybrid drive is making its debut at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show.

The innovative hybrid technology featured in the car has been developed especially for racing, standing out significantly in its configuration and components from conventional hybrid systems. In this case, electrical front axle drive with two electric motors developing 60 kW/ 80 hp each supplements the 480 hp four litre flat-six at the rear of the 911 GT3 R Hybrid. A further significant point is that instead of the usual batteries in a hybrid road car, a flywheel electric storage fitted in the interior next to the drivers delivers energy to the electric motors. This layout indicates that the solution is presently dedicated only for racing car.

The flywheel generator itself is an electric motor/generator with its rotor spinning at speeds of up to 40.000 rpm, storing energy mechanically as rotation energy. The flywheel generator is charged whenever the driver applies the brakes, with the two electric motors reversing their function on the front axle and acting themselves as generators. Then, whenever necessary, that is when accelerating out of a bend or when overtaking, the driver is able to call up extra energy from the charged flywheel generator, the flywheel being slowed down electromagnetically in the generator mode and thus supplying up to 120 kW/ 160 hp to the electric motors at the front from its kinetic energy. This additional power is available to the driver after each charge process for approximately 6-8 seconds. Energy formerly converted - and thus wasted- into heat upon every application of the brakes, is now highly efficiently converted into additional drive power.

Depending on racing conditions, hybrid drive is used in this case not only for extra power, but also to save fuel. This again increases the efficiency and, accordingly, the performance of the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid, for example by reducing of the tank or making pitstops less frequent.

After its debut at the Geneva Motor Show the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid will be tested in long-distance races on the Nurburgring. The highlight of this test program will be the 24 Hours on the Nordscheife of Nurburgring on May 15th and 16th. The focus is not on the 911 GT3 R Hybrid winning the race, but rather serving as a spearhead in technology and a "racing laboratory" providing know-how on the subsequent use of hybrid technology in road-going sports cars.

Paul Damiens - Photos & illustrations by Porsche

- DEVELOPMENT IN 2010

One of the many highlights of the 2010 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) season final was the race premiere of the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid in the USA, which received huge public interest. The sports car with ground-breaking drive technology and the Le Mans winners Timo Bernhard (Germany), Romain Dumas (France) and Mike Rockenfeller (Germany) at the wheel again demonstrated its reliability, performance and efficiency. Competing in the unclassified GTH class for experimental cars, it conquered the 1,000 miles on this difficult circuit without any technical problems. For the Porsche engineers, this test outing yielded many crucial insights in order to further perfect the innovative hybrid drive.

“My job at the wheel of our rolling laboratory was a great experience for me,” said Porsche works driver Timo Bernhard. “The hybrid system worked perfectly over the entire race distance. We achieved two important goals, and these were to present this unique car to the US fans and to further develop the hybrid drive under racing conditions.” His factory pilot teammate, Romain Dumas, commented: “I’m pleased to have reached the finish line without any problems. Unfortunately, several punctures cost us a lot of time today. Still, it was a fantastic experience, because over the whole weekend the fans celebrated us like winners.” Former Porsche works driver, Mike Rockenfeller, who now drives for the Audi factory, also enjoyed this enthusiasm: “It was great to be back in a Porsche. I received a very warm welcome and felt right at home straight away. Thank you to Audi and Porsche for making it possible to be part of this extraordinary project.”

“Once again we learned a lot from racing our hybrid car,” summarised Hartmut Kristen. “I’m proud that this innovative system ran over nine hours without a single problem. From our standpoint, it is equally as important that our development engineers have again collected a huge amount of important data.”

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