Porsche has announced that it will be entering a hybrid race car in May’s 24 Hours of the Nurburgring featuring a technical collaboration with Williams born from that company’s development of KERS.
The company is running the 911 GT3 R Hybrid as a testbed for its combination of a conventional 480-bhp four-litre flat-six engine with electric motors mounted on the front axles – adding around 80hp at the front end of the car.
Instead of using heavy batteries these motors are powered by a flywheel energy recovery system which is charged whenever the driver brakes. This is provided by Williams Hybrid Power, which developed the system for commercial use as an offshoot of its parent company’s F1 KERS work.
The car is due to make its first appearance at the Geneva Motor Show in March before heading off to the racetrack to be put through its paces.
Ian Foley, Managing Director of Williams Hybrid Power, said: “We are delighted to see our technology being adopted by one of the world’s leading engineering companies and most prestigious automotive manufacturers in one of their racing cars.
“Partnering with Porsche on this project has been a very positive experience and we are grateful to them for choosing to work with us.”
Another racing outfit exploring the applications of alternative technologies through racing is Drayson Racing, the sportscar team run by the UK’s science minister Lord Drayson.
He will be entering a Lola B09-60 Coupé, powered by a Judd V10 engine, in this year’s Le Mans Series – but is exploring the biofuel route rather than electric power.
Lord Drayson, an entrepreneur who made a fortune in pharmaceuticals before turning to politics and racing, has also said that he believes developing green performance motoring technology could offer a powerful boost to the UK’s economy in years to come.