What happens when you build a car that is so good that, within the rules, you dominate the field? That appears to be exactly what Porsche did with the 919. 20 Pole-Positions, 17 race victories, 6 World Championship titles, and three overall victories at Le Mans. When you’ve won big, what do you do for an encore?
You throw out the rule book and remake history, of course. Porsche appears to be gunning for the all-time record books now. Think Stefan Bellof’s virtually unassailable Nürburgring time of 6:11.13 in 1983 (also set in a Porsche, a 956). Think of the 1:05.786 set at Laguna Seca by veteran scuderia test driver and Le Mans winner Marc Gené, behind the wheel of the Ferrari F2003-GA in 2012 (site of this year’s upcoming Rennsport Reunion V…).
What can the 919 do when it’s let completely off the chain, given better ground effects, and a wing that would be illegal in normal WEC spec? I don’t know about you, but I’m eager to find out.
UPDATE 4/9/18: the first record to fall – Spa Francorchamps
“Porsche works driver Neel Jani lapped the 7.004 kilometre long Belgian Grand Prix Circuit in the Ardennes mountains in 1:41.770 minutes. The 34 year old Swiss has beaten the previous record by 0.783 seconds that was set by Lewis Hamilton (GB) at the wheel of a Mercedes F1 W07 Hybrid. Hamilton’s lap of 1:42.553 minutes dates back to August 26 in 2017 and secured him pole position for last year’s F1 race. Jani achieved a top speed of 359 km/h and an average speed of 245.61 km/h on his record lap that he started at 10:23 hrs. Ambient temperature was 11° Celsius, track temperature was 13° Celsius.”
“Neel Jani: ‘The 919 Evo is brutally impressive. It is definitely the fastest car I ever drove. The grip level is at a fully new dimension for me, I couldn’t imagine this amount beforehand. The speed on which everything happens on a single lap with the 919 Evo is that fast that the demand on reaction speed is very different to what I was used to in the WEC. We are not only faster than the F1 pole from 2017. Today’s lap was twelve seconds faster compared to our WEC pole position from last year! We have had three very intense days at Spa. Today I knew on the very first lap in the morning that the car’s performance was super. The race engineers did a great job setting up the car and the Michelin tyres are sensational. A big thank you to Porsche for this experience.’”
Who else would even think to do this other than Porsche? There will be more to come…