Webber takes delivery of Porsche's fast four

Australian former Formula One pilot Mark Webber has picked up his new factory-backed Porsche race car at Geneva – and it only has four cylinders.

However, before you go dissing his new ride, we can tell you the engine produces almost 380 kiloWatts, making the 2.0-litre turbocharged V4 built directly into the Porsche 919 Hybrid’s chassis more powerful than a 6.2-litre HSV Clubsport R8.

The slightly gawky-looking hybrid prototype will compete in the World Endurance Championship that fires up at Britain’s Silverstone circuit on 20 April. It will race under new regulations for the LMP1-H prototypes that handicap cars according to how efficient they are on fuel use.

The Porsche hybrid race car sends the engine’s drive to the rear wheels. An electric motor mounted between the front wheels acts as a generator under braking, and swaps to a drive motor under acceleration to provide temporary all-paw grip.

The 919 Hybrid’s exhaust system is also used to generate electricity for the car’s bank of water-cooled lithium-ion batteries via a thermal recovery system.

“In 2014, it will not be the fastest car that wins the World Endurance Championship series and the 24 hours of Le Mans; rather it will be the car that goes the furthest with a defined amount of energy,” Porsche chairman Matthias Muller said.

“And it is precisely this challenge that car makers must overcome. The 919 Hybrid is our fastest mobile research laboratory and the most complex race car that Porsche has ever built," he said.

Porsche has flagged that such innovative drivetrain concepts, already a feature of the 918 Spyder, will make it into wider production vehicles once it is proven on the racetrack.

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