Porsche's 2017 LMP1 Entry 919 Hybrid Breaks Cover In Testing
Porsche spent the weekend testing their new hybrid prototype at Paul Ricard.
Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track is essentially the gold standard of European test tracks. During the offseason, Porsche might spend some time running their new racing cars at Sebring or somewhere temperate like Portugal, but once central Europe clears up for the spring, Ricard is the best game in town. Following a GT test day there over the weekend, Porsche trotted out their new 919 for just a handful of laps. The FIA WEC's official pre-season "Prologue" test will take place at Monza in Italy starting this Friday, so once the car is officially out in the open we'll give you some more detailed shots. For now, we can speculate.
This new car doesn't look all that far removed from the car that won the championship (and the Le Mans 24) in 2016. The most obvious change here is found in the front headlights as they are massive units, indicating that Porsche is putting more emphasis on nighttime driving this year (which only happens at Le Mans). The headlights also appear to sit farther forward on the car than they have in prior iterations. The sidepods have been lightly modified, and there doesn't appear to be a rear-view mirror on the front fender, indicating that they may be integrating the mirror into the fender itself, ala Audi's 2016 car.
The best change to our eyes is the loss of last year's godawful stripes livery. There is nothing to indicate that this will be the final livery for this car, as it will likely carry more red. Since Porsche's new LMP1 program began, they have been coordinating their liveries across all corporate entries, meaning the LMP1 will likely wear the same skin as the IMSA GTLM cars wear. When Porsche unveils the car 'for real' on Friday, we'll have our answer.