When Porsche first announced the 911 GT3 R Hybrid, it was met with skepticism. A hybrid race car? What’s the point? To win, of course. Can it do that? Check out this video of Nico Hulkenberg thrashing the car at the Nurburgring Nordschleife to find out.
Porsche has already campaigned the new GT3 R Hybrid in two races at the Nürburgring Nordschleife in the VLN Long Distance Championship and scored a third-place finish its first time out, but successful race teams never stop testing. Porsche is ramping up for the next round of the Long Distance Championship, and it won’t be easy, because round three is the Nürburgring 24 Hour endurance race May 15 and 16. To make sure the car is up to the challenge, Porsche borrowed Williams F1 pilot Nico Hulkenberg to run a few laps on the Nordschleife, and we’ve got the video.
“This test was great fun. I’m impressed with how well the hybrid system works in the Porsche,” said Hulkenberg. “Surprisingly, in the slow corners, the 911 is not far off a Formula 1 car. The mechanical grip is impressive.”
The Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid differs from most race cars and hybrids in its drivetrain configuration. Primary power comes from the 480-horsepower 4.0-liter flat-six in the rear of the car, with supplemental power coming from two 82-horsepower electric motors mounted on the front axle. Rather than heavy, slow-cycling batteries, Porsche uses a special mechanical flywheel mounted in place of the passenger’s seat that can spin up to 40,000 RPM to absorb braking energy, then quickly discharge it as electrical energy to power the electric motors. Operated by a switch on the steering wheel, the hybrid system gives the car an extra punch of 120 horsepower on demand for up to 8 seconds. In addition the extra power, the system also saves fuel, thereby reducing the number of pit stops the team must make.
CLICK HERE to see F1 hot shoe Nico Hulkenberg wring out the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid on the Nürburgring Nordschleife.