After debuting in April at the formidable Nurburgring and contesting the 24 hour race at the German track in May Porsche's 911 GT3 R Hybrid is to make another big step in October after it was announced the car will enter Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
The entry for the 1,000 mile, or 10 hour race, comes after Porsche received an invite to the race from American Le Mans Series (ALMS) organisers. The car will not be eligible for points in the GT class, with the car's hybrid technology not yet included in the production-based GT regulations.
“This is an outstanding opportunity to demonstrate the advances in automotive technologies and energy efficiencies that you won’t see in any other motorsports environment in the world,” said ALMS President and CEO Scott Atherton.
“Porsche has always led by example throughout its motorsports history – transferring what they learn on the race track to their production cars. And I believe this becomes the modern-day benchmark of how a manufacturer uses the American Le Mans Series’ platform to develop and showcase new technology that is destined for road-car application. This car truly offers a glimpse into the future of high-performance road car technology.”
The car, apparently still in its orange, grey and white livery it appeared in in Germany will then travel to Zhuhai, China for 7 November and the race that follows Petit Le Mans, forming the final race of the ACO's Intercontinental Cup.
Unlike the hybrid systems for F1 last year the Porsche system is based around an electric flywheel which sits in the car alongside the driver. The stored energy can is automatically deployed to a pair of 60kw motors in the front wheels under acceleration and drivers have the ability to order up another burst by using a “boost paddle”, as Porsche call it, on the steering wheel. The primary power comes from a 480hp engine, mounted (as it's a Porsche) in the rear of the car.
“After the 911 GT3 R Hybrid's fantastic performance at the NÃ¼rburgring 24 Hours, we are now eager to gain more experience with the hybrid technology on a variety of race tracks,” says Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport. “At the same time, we would like to show fans and customers in our most important markets how our 'race lab' performs under racing conditions.”
No drivers were mentioned in the announcement.