The highly touted Porsche 919 Hybrid with water cooled lithium ion batteries and electric front wheel drive power boost will make its first public US appearance on Sunday, 8th June at Ault Park Concours D’Elegance in Cincinnati, Ohio. Developed and designed to race in FIA World Endurance Championship series, the model was first shown to the public at the Geneva Auto Show in March. The race-prepped versions have seen action earlier this year, earning a 3rd place finish at Silverstone in England, and 4th place at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, both 6-hour races.
The Porsche 919 Hybrid isn’t just another racing prototype (not that Le Mans prototypes are dime-a-dozen or anything). It’s a vehicle that might reignite the German automaker’s tradition of Le Mans dominance, upsetting Audi’s 4-year streak in the process. And in spite of the similar name that’s just one digit away from Porsche’s new hybrid supercar, the 919 Hybrid is hardly a hopped-up 918. Rather than 918’s screaming 4.6 liter V8 which along with hybrid system is good for 875 horsepower – the 919 is propelled by a 2.0 liter V4 turbocharged engine that’s rated at 500 horsepower. That may not seem like much, but the vehicle weighs just 1920 pounds to the comparatively porky 918’s 3691.
Drivers chosen for the two Porsche 919 Hybrid teams for 2014 World Endurance Championship were introduced by Porsche at its Annual Night of Champions held in Germany last December. It looks like Mark Webber didn’t get the dress code memo. From left: Mark Webber (AUS), Romain Dumas (FRA), Neel Jani (SUI), Timo Bernhard (GER), Marc Lieb (GER), Brendon Hartley (NZL), Vanna White?
Head to Ault Park and you just might be able to say you saw the Porsche 919 Hybrid before it achieved Le Mans glory. The concours takes place Sunday, 8th June; the revolutionary 24-hour race goes down just a week later on 14th and 15th June.