There’s a lot of talk about hybrid sports cars and supercars at the moment. We recently spoke about how both Mercedes-AMG and Alfa Romeo were planning on making hybrid versions of their famous sports car. We also asked the question of whether or not the next BMW M3 should be a hybrid. That question seemed to be met with a resounding “no” from our readers, who feel as if it would take away from the purity of the car. There were also fans who claimed that it would be too heavy to be a proper sports car. Porsche laughs at those claims. Its Porsche 919 Evo LMP1 race car just set the lap record at Spa and it is, indeed, a hybrid.
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The previous lap record was held by Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes F1 car, as he did it in a 1:42.553. Neel Jani, one of Porsche’s factory drivers, just recorded a blisteringly fast lap of 1:41.7 in the hybrid Porsche. And that weighs a bit more than Hamilton’s purely gasoline-powered F1 car. It helps that the Porsche makes 750 hp and has an electric boost of 440 hp. It also has, remarkably, more downforce than an F1 car.
Of course, it’s not necessarily the best comparison to make, as the Porsche 919 Evo is a pure-bred Le Mans Prototype Endurance Racer. So it costs about as much as a small island to develop and it’s a purpose-built racing car, not an everyday sports car. However, all great sports cars were designed with techniques learned in motorsport. So it’s entirely plausible that the hybrid tech and lessons learned from the Porsche 919 Evo could trickle down to the brand’s sports cars.
What’s important here, though, is not the time, or the power, or the performance. It’s the way the Porsche 919 Evo goes down the road. Just watch the video below of the record-breaking lap and you can see that the 919 changes direction with speed and agility that simply boggles the mind. I’ve never seen a car turn it and accelerate out of a corner that quickly and it looks like it must physically hurt the driver, due to the extreme g-forces and how quickly they must flop from one direction to another.
With proper implementation, hybrid tech can be very effective for driving fun. With batteries in the floor, that drops the center of gravity quite low, which helps to offset the feeling of the extra weight. And the instantaneous torque of an electric motor will completely mask any lag from modern turbocharged engines. Throw in some carbon fiber weight savings measures and it’s entirely possible that a hybrid BMW M3 could be an absolute blast.