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Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid
Hybrid just kicked in yo!

Say the word “hybrid” and most drivers will think of smaller, odd-looking cars along the lines of the Prius or Insight which are aimed at saving fuel and reducing emissions. The benefits of a hybrid design in a performance car have some appeal as well, but hybrid and performance aren't usually said in the same sentence.

Porsche is certainly one of the most famed marquees in sports cars and the firm is no stranger to hybrid technology. Porsche is currently putting the finishing touches on the Cayenne Hybrid SUV that uses a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 coupled with an electric motor producing an extra 50HP.

Porsche is also looking at hybrid technology for the racetrack as well with the announcement that a 911 GT3 R Hybrid will be unveiled at the 2010 Geneva Auto Show. Porsche is using hybrid technology in its all-wheel-drive racing car for a few reasons. The car is currently being prepped for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where vehicles race stopping for fuel and to switch drivers (along with any requisite repairs). The hybrid system used in the GT3 R Hybrid provides some fuel economy improvements, but Porsche is not saying exactly how much fuel it saves.

The hybrid system in the GT3 R Hybrid uses a flywheel system that harnesses kinetic energy under braking to power a pair of electric motors mounted in a single assembly. The electric motors and flywheel assembly sit where the passenger seat of a street 911 would normally reside. Power gathered by the flywheel system is sent to the front wheels and when fully charged the hybrid system can provide a 6-8 second burst of power for passing and exiting corners activated by a button on the steering wheel. The flywheel in the hybrid system will reportedly spin as fast as 40,000 rpm.

The pair of electric motors provides an additional 161 horsepower to the front wheels supplementing the 4.0-liter flat-6 that produces 480hp and sends its power to the rear wheels. Porsche is mum on performance claims for the 911 GT3 R Hybrid, but the car will appear on May 15 at the Nurburgring 24 Hours endurance race.

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By alanore on 2/11/2010 11:41:31 AM , Rating: 5
This technology is similar to the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) that was used by some teams in the 2009 Formula 1 system. It is not like a hybrid drive system like a pirius.

Its designed for overtaking primarily, it requires breaking to recharge it during a lap, it therefore only useable for a limited amount of time. Possibly only 2% of the lap, and when the throttle is 100% open. Therefore it doesn't have a measurable increase in fuel economy.

By Spuke on 2/11/2010 12:09:18 PM , Rating: 3
Sweet. I'll take two.

By BigLan on 2/11/2010 12:24:10 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, it looks like the Williams system which also used a flywheel, rather than the batteries which the other teams used. I wonder if Porsche actually licensed this from Williams, who had bought the main flywheel developer.

By Smilin on 2/11/2010 1:29:20 PM , Rating: 2
Williams didn't invent it so they wouldn't need a license.

There was a failed attempt to make a consumer vehicle based on this once. Saw some special on it ages ago.

By JediJeb on 2/11/2010 1:54:11 PM , Rating: 2
I think that was almost 10 years ago maybe. I also think it was coupled with a gas turbine engine, and the entire system was designed by the former owner of Compaq computers.

By alanore on 2/11/2010 3:28:50 PM , Rating: 2
Its been confirmed that it is the Williams F1 KERS system that is being used in the Porsche. There is a press release on williams website.

One thing to note is the Williams F1 did not use the system for the whole season, sometimes dropping it because of reliability/performance reasons.

By Calin on 2/12/2010 2:22:26 AM , Rating: 2
Some Formula 1 tracks are fast, and some are slow. This Kinetic Energy Recovery System helps when you are traction limited (transforms a rear drive car into a 4WD) and when you have many accelerate/brake cycles (the engine accelerates the car when accelerating, and brakes the car as "engine brake" when braking). So, when you have long straight lines, your heavier car can be passed by lighter cars, but when exiting a tight curve, your harder car has better traction (4WD) and more power ("borrowed" from braking), and can pass lighter cars that use only engine power.

By cnar77 on 2/12/2010 10:28:15 PM , Rating: 3
You obviously don't know that F1 rules only permit power to the rear wheels. Yes it's the Williams KERS (Kinetic Energy Recover System) system that was used. Williams never used it during 2009 because it was still in development and the weight and packaging within an F1 car requires the car be designed to accomodate the device. Other teams had problems being competitive in the first 1/2 of the season including Ferrari, BMW Sauber, Mclaren and Renault. Note that the previous minimum weight on an F1 car was 600kg and a KERS system weighed around 30kg and required additional space within the car.

On another note last years F1 cars lacked aerodynamic grip in the rear (Aero was front biased) and were loose as a result. More power to the rear wheels only compounds this and increases tyre wear due to excess wheel spin along with the lateral forces on the tyres. KERS was mostly used on the straights as a result while technically it did help under acceleration its use was not acceleration off the corner. This year (2010) Bridgestone has reduced the width of the front tyre. This reduces the loose tendancies of 2009 as the cars now have more mechanical grip at the back compared to last year. The diffuser rules also permits more aero grip and so far some teams have found in testing that the balance of the car has changed where front end grip is not as great compared to the rear as it was last year.

By eggman on 2/11/2010 3:34:16 PM , Rating: 3
By Griswold on 2/11/2010 4:40:37 PM , Rating: 1
Wow, that sucks for Porsche considering how unreliable and unsuccessful the Wialliams adaption of KERS was last season. They should have asked (McLaren) Mercedes to help them out - after all, they're neighbors. :D

By eggman on 2/11/2010 5:20:01 PM , Rating: 2
Williams did not run it at all last year. They had plans all along to develop it and sell it. Maybe they would use it the second year but KERS causes too many compromises in the packaging of a modern F1 car so all agreed to not use them this year.

By Spuke on 2/11/2010 5:53:16 PM , Rating: 2
F1 fans on DT!!!! That's awesome!!

By Omega215D on 2/12/2010 3:17:41 AM , Rating: 2
F1, Rally/ WRC and MotoGP fan here. I only participate in the latter two (US Rally and amateur MotoGP).

Porsches are awesome (looks at bank accounts)... awww....

By etriky on 2/12/2010 4:43:31 AM , Rating: 2
F1, WRC, MotoGP fan here also.

By Aloonatic on 2/12/2010 5:26:44 AM , Rating: 2
F1 fan checking in :)

I can't wait for the KERS/Seat-warmer/smoke-machine equipped Ferrari road car to be released :D

By Samus on 2/12/2010 1:00:49 AM , Rating: 2
I can't imagine a member of the VAG asking for assistance from anyone, especially a German 'neighbor'

I wouldn't be surprised if Ferdinand Peich brews his own beer.

By Calin on 2/12/2010 2:17:26 AM , Rating: 2
Formula 1 races (and I suppose the 24 hours Le Mans too) are composed mostly of sequences of "hard acceleration" and "hard braking", respectively "hard left" and "hard right" (related to the pilot's comfort level).
If the mass of the system is small enough, it can certainly help by taking energy from the "fast braking" and giving it back to the "fast acceleration" part. And the extra power when exiting from a twist will allow one to pass on what were not until now "optimum paths".

This isn't to have a measurable increase in fuel economy - it's to give the pilot "free power" when overtaking. This car will mop over the floor with any similar car that doesn't have this system (similar mass and power). And by sending the car in the Le Mans race, the builders think they could mop over the floor with a lighter Porsche that has the same engine but no electric motors, no flywheel, and so on.
Oh, and by the way, four wheel traction will help when accelerating out of a tight curve (accelerating from slow speed)

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