Miracle: Porsche 919 Hybrid
For the 2017 season, over 60% of the 919 Hybrid has been redesigned compare to the 2016 season. Eveything from bodywork aerodynamics to the hybrid powertrain were optimized to be lighter and more efficient. Only the carbon fiber chassis and suspension design were carried over from the previous season.
At the beginning of the 85th running of the most world’s prestigious motorsport. Porsche wasn’t dealt with the best cards from the start, especially for their 919 No.2. With Toyota laying down the top 2 fastest qualifying lap of 3.14.791 in the No.7 car and 3.17.128 in the No.8 car landing them 1st and 2nd on the grid with the 919 No.1 in 3rd and the No.2 in 4th with a lap time of 3.18.067. Three and half hours into the race, 919 No.2 suffered power loss from its front axle resulting it returning to pit for over an hour leaving the No.1 car to soldier on. Roughly four hours after 919 No.2 was hit with hybrid powertrain issue, the No.8 Toyota suffered similar issue with its front motor that forced it to return to pits. With the Toyota however, the issue was more severe and took two hours to resolve in combination with the problem occurring later in the race which ultimately cost them the chance of catching up to win the race.
After the Porsche team resolved the issue and some impressive driving from Brendon Hartley. 919 No.2 was back in contention with 919 No.1 to chase after the leading Toyota No.7. Towards the halfway point of the race, drama at the 85th of the prestigious motorsport start to arise. The leading No.7 Toyota suffered clutch failure and was forced to retire. Toyota’s third car, No.9, which served as a backup car in the case the other two failed got involved in a shunt with an LMP2 car causing damage to the gearbox and it too was retired. Not all is smooth sailing for the Porsche team either with 919 No.1, which stayed in contention nearly the entire race loss oil pressure towards the final hours of the race and was retired.
With all the leading LMP1 cars dropped out and the slower, less powerful LMP2 car from Jackie Chan DC Racing team claiming the lead. It all comes down to the No.2 919 now piloted by Timo Bernhard to secure a win for both Porsche and the LMP1 class.
The agile 919 coupled with its powerful hybrid system. Bernhard can easily balance speed with efficiency and took the lead from the LMP2 class. After two final fuel stops with the last one a quick splash and dash. Bernhard took the checkered flag securing the 19th win for Porsche at LeMans. It was a miracle victory after being sidelined at the beginning of the race which by the time it returned to the track, 919 No.2 fell to the back of the pack in 56th place. It managed to claw its way back to the top for an honorable ending for Porsche’s last race from their LMP1 program.