Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo Smashes Spa-Francorchamps’ F1 Lap Record

Porsche's hybrid endurance racer lapped the famous Belgian circuit faster than Lewis Hamilton's 2017-spec Formula 1 car.

A modified version of Porsche’s 919 Hybrid race car smashed Spa-Francorchamps’ lap record previously set by Lewis Hamilton at the 2017 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix. The act of vehicular valor took place over a three-day testing program which the automaker embarked on to extract the car’s true potential without the limitations of the FIA World Endurance Championship rulebook.

As we previously reported, Porsche will allow the 919 Hybrid to go out with a bang by sending it on a world tour that will see it visit several motoring festivals such as Goodwood, Brands Hatch, and Laguna Seca throughout 2018. Although unofficial, it is rumored that Porsche will grant the 919 crew the chance to challenge several track records at some of the world’s iconic racing circuits, but primarily the overall lap-record at the Nurburgring Nordschleife. Of course, this video (which states an incorrect horsepower figure) out of Belgium only seems to confirm the latter.

The record-breaking lap was set with former WEC champion Neel Jani at the wheel, who managed to record a lap of 1:41.770 around the 4.352-mile Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. In comparison, Hamilton’s 2017 record stood at 1:42.553, which nets a time difference of 0.783 seconds.

The scorching lap was possible due to several modifications that made one of the world’s fastest race car even faster. Given its free reign to exploit every ounce of performance, the German automaker fitted a larger and more aerodynamically aggressive front diffuser and rear wing with dual DRS capabilities, as well as an amped-up hybrid system that awarded Jani an additional 40 horsepower. The 2.0-liter internal combustion four-cylinder engine was also massaged for higher performance, with the tweaks netting an additional 220 horsepower on top of the stock 500 for a total of 720 horsepower.

As a result, Jani was able to reach speeds in excess of 222 miles per hour on the long straightaway following Eau Rouge. “The 919 Evo is brutally impressive,” said Jani. “It is definitely the fastest car I ever drove. The grip level is at a fully new dimension for me, I couldn’t imagine this amount beforehand.”

While the new lap record is certainly astonishing, it will be interesting to see what happens to it when Formula 1 comes back to the quaint Belgian town later this year.