Just before the start of the Nürburgring 24-hour race this weekend, Porsche will take the 919 Hybrid Evo and the Porsche 956C on a demonstration run around the famous Nordschleife. The 919 Hybrid will meet the prototype that won all of the titles in the World Sportscar Championship from 1982 to 1984 and still holds the outright Nordschleife track record.
The lap on the Nordschleife is the 919 Evo’s first public appearance. With this car, which has been built free from the restrictions that came with the championship regulations, Porsche recently established a new track record at Spa-Francorchamps.
Last month, Porsche works driver Neel Jani lapped the 7.004-kilometre long Belgian circuit in 1:41.770 minutes. He was faster than any Formula One car ever, beating the previous record by 0.783 seconds set by Lewis Hamilton at the wheel of a Mercedes F1 W07 Hybrid, securing him pole position for last year’s Grand Prix.
At the Nordschleife, the two racing cars will be driving behind a safety car and will bypass the start-and-finish section because of the grid formation for the 24-hour race.
Porsche, Timo Bernhard, Hans-Joachim Stuck as well as both of the racing cars have strong links with the Nürburgring and the Nordschleife.
37-year old German driver Timo Bernhard is the reigning FIA World Endurance Champion. On the way to the 2017 title, he has won the Le Mans 24-Hours and took his third consecutive win 6 Hours of Nüburgring, repeating his achievements from 2015 and 2016 at the wheel of the 919 Hybrid.
Bernhard commented, “The Nordschleife is home for me. When I was a kid, I used to accompany my father to the Eifel mountains. The complexity of this 20-kilometre long track doesn’t compare to anything.”
On his way to his 1984 Driver’s World Endurance Championship title, Stefan Bellof shared a 956 with German Hans-Joachim Stuck.
“This race in Italy was of very high importance for me”, 67-year-old Stuck recalls. “The 956 was new to me, and Stefan taught me how to drive this ground effect car. I learnt an awful lot from him. When I joined Porsche, I understood why those cars were unbeatable. You had no gearbox issues, the brakes were excellent and thanks to this tremendous downforce, you could enter the corners at very high speed. The car stuck to the ground. For me, it is a world-class opportunity to take the 956 once again around the Nordschleife. Emotionally, this is something hard to top.”
Among Stuck’s many successes belong two Le Mans overall victories in 1986 and 1987, driving the successor to the 956, the 962 C.
The 919 Evo has been built using the chassis that won the 2017 world championship. The powertrain has not been altered, but there are a few modifications that were destined for use in the 2018 WEC season, but were never used. The most significant difference has been the introduction of advanced aerodynamics.