In most of the motorsports, the cruelest foe of the engineer is not the rules of physics or the inability of the driver to wring all crumb of power from their vehicle. It is the rules that are laid down by the overbearing governing bodies, that impose limits on weight, power output, dimensions, tire choices, braking, aerodynamics, and whatever else they could think to control. Generally the thing is to keep drivers safe or create racing to be more entertaining with machines that are evenly matched, but that does not imply that the engineers like it.
So when the Porsche provided its people the opportunity to break out free and display what their machines could do, they actually overdelivered. They began with the 919 Hybrid, the car that Porsche used in the past three years to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Then everything was done by them that could get the car faster, the things that will break the rules for the rest of the time. They call the end-product the 919 Evo.
After that they took it to the Spa Francorchamps of Belgium that is the legendary Formula 1 track that is home to what might be the toughest corner in the motorsports. The Evo lapped the course in a duration of 1:41.77 minutes, 12 seconds quicker than the race-legal 919. In a sport estimated by millisecond, that is a fabulous improvement. Even it beat the all-time track record, that was set by Lewis Hamilton, Formula 1 champion by a duration of 0.783 seconds.
Neel Jani, the driver who lapped Spa, said that the 919 Evo is brutally impressive. He further added that it is definitely the fastest car he ever drove and the grip level is at a fully new dimension for him which he could not imagine beforehand.
It turns out as if, when the rules which govern the World Endurance Championship are ignored, there is a lot that could be done to go faster. The engineers of Porsche cut down the weight of the aluminum car and carbon fiber by 86 pounds, to 1872 pounds, by eliminating the useless frills such as the windshield wipers, air conditioner, lights, the pneumatic jack, and the electronic race controls. They even tweaked the outer aerodynamics, generating around 53 percent more downforce, the all-crucial thing which keeps the car fixed to the pavement when it is clocking the jumbo jet takeoff speeds. They had the tires and suspension upgraded to deal with extra loads.
This record making course is a part of the farewell tour for Le Mans winning car. Porsche is literally pulling out of the World Endurance Championship so it could focus on the electric Formula E racing. The next stop of the 919 Evo is the “demo lap,” that Porsche calls, at Nurburgring in Germany.