Formula 1 pilot Nico Hülkenberg drives the GT3 R Hybrid at the Nürburgring. Video: Porsche
After successfully demonstrating its new GT3 R Hybrid at the 24 Hours of the Nurburgring earlier this year, Porsche will race the hybrid at Road Atlanta and in China later this year.
The Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, which will be held on Oct. 2, is either 10 hours or 1,000 miles – whichever comes first. The second, six hour race in Zhuhai, China, to be held on Nov. 7, is the season finale in the new Le Mans International Cup (LMIC). The GT3 R Hybrid will not be competing for points in either of these races due to the current rules, which do not cover hybrids.
“After the 911 GT3 R Hybrid’s fantastic performance at the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we are now eager to gain more experience with the hybrid technology on a variety of race tracks,” 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,” adds Kristen.
It’s interesting to note that the Porsche lasted for 22 hours and 15 minutes in its debut at the 24 Hours of Nurburgring race – six hours longer than both the Petit Le Mans race and the LMIC race in China combined.
For those uninitiated with the technology behind this trick GT3, two 60 kilowatt electric motors driving each front axle supplement the 480-horsepower, 4.0-liter flat six, which drives the rear wheels. Under braking Porsche’s hybrid system gathers and converts kinetic energy into electrical energy and stores it in a flywheel, much like Formula 1’s Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS). The driver can either use the energy to power out of turns on corner exit, which is the car’s default setting, or save it for a later time, to be unleashed by a steering wheel-mounted boost paddle.
For more on the GT3 R Hybrid, check out Excellence issue 184.