Celebrating Endurance: Porsche’s Electrifying Return to LeMans is More Than Hot Air

Porsche has a thing for anniversaries.

Last year the company celebrated 50 years of its most enduring shape, the 911, with an anniversary edition of its best selling sports car. This year, after a 16 year hiatus, Porsche decided to make its way back into endurance racing with their return to the 24 hour Le Mans race in France, and in traditional Porsche style–the company is making an event of it.

Le Mans is known as one of the world’s toughest car races on both drivers and machines and Porsche is using it to showcase the most technologically advanced cars they’ve ever fielded on the race track; the 919.

Porsche 919 Hybrid, Porsche Team: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb
Courtesy: Porsche


The 919 hybrid is the kind of machine that would would make a Telsa owner blush with range envy. Over the course of the race it will generate and use 581.2 kilowatt hours (kWh) from its energy recovery system. To put that in perspective–that’s enough electricity to drive the Volkswagen e-Golf from NYC to LA. Here’s the kicker, though–it does this using a few choice bits of technology.


First, it recoups energy, not only from when the car brakes, but also from thermodynamic energy from its exhaust gases. Those gases are directed to a turbine generator. Now, for those of you familiar with a traditional turbo, generally, excess exhaust gasses not used by the turbo are dumped into the atmosphere through a wastegate.

Instead of wasting those excess gases, Porsche is utilizing them to drive a second turbine that, in turn, drives a generator creating electrical energy. This effectively makes the 919 the only car in the field to that recuperates energy from both braking and accelerating. The systems in the car, convert the kinetic (brakes) and thermal (exhaust) energy into electrical energy that is then sent back to a liquid cooled lithium ion battery that is used as the car is driven.


Another, fun anniversary fact–the car numbers are special too. They mark the year of the return of Porsche to Le Mans: 20 and 14. More than 250,000 spectators are expected to attend to see if Porsche will be able to add to its record number of wins at Le Mans, and make history with these special cars once again on June 14th and 15th.


Own a Piece of Le Mans History: Porsche 911 Carrera S Le Mans Edition


Now while we can’t all fly to France, stay in chateaus and sip bubbly while watching fancy cars go round and round one of the most demanding tracks in the world, Porsche enthusiasts can still get in on the deal. Those who’d like to own a special piece of this Le Mans return, can now order a Le Mans edition 911. There will be 80 models of the Carrera S adorned in the ‘Martini’ livery. It sports a special front and rear spoiler giving it a distinctive appearance. Sadly however, the Le Mans edition 911 will only be available in select markets in Europe, China Japan and Latin America–no racing livery for those of us stateside.

Abigail Bassett

Abigail Bassett is a full-time freelance journalist, content creator, and television, video, and podcast host whose work has appeared in publications like TechCrunch, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, Forbes, Fortune, Motor Trend, Shondaland, Money Magazine, and on CNN. Her passion is telling unique stories that change the way we see, interact with, and relate to the world. She is also a Yoga Alliance Registered 500-hour yoga teacher.

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