Neel Jani broke the Spa track record during the 919 Tribute Tour
Porsche factory driver Neel Jani established a new track record at legendary Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps today in a Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo LMP1 prototype. The record was set during the 919 Tribute Tour in which Porsche LMP Team are showing their FIA WEC and Le Mans winning prototype before putting it into the museum.
As we know, Porsche left FIA World Endurance Championship at the end of 2017, after winning three championship titles in a row and winning Le Mans 24 Hours three times from 2015 to 2017. The record lap at Spa was the first appearance on the 919 Tribute Tour.
The next would a demo lap on the legendary Nordschleife before the start of the 24 Hours of Nürburgring race on May 12. After that, the 919 Hybrid will roar at Goodwood Festival of Speed (July 12 to 15) and the Festival of Porsche in Brands Hatch (September 2). The last appearance would be at the Porsche Rennsport Reunion in Laguna Seca, California (September 26 to 29).
Neel Jani lapped the 7.004 kilometre long Belgian Grand Prix Circuit in 1:41.770 minutes. He achieved a top speed of 359 km/h and an average speed of 245.61 km/h on his record lap. The 34-year-old Swiss driver has beaten the previous record by 0.783 seconds that was set last year by Lewis Hamilton at the wheel of a Mercedes F1 W07 Hybrid. Hamilton’s lap of 1:42.553 minutes secured him a pole position for last year’s Belgian Grand Prix.
Jani was driving an Evo version of 919 Hybrid, unchained of limitations from official competition. In the 2017 FIA WEC season, the V4 combustion engine’s output was around 500 HP. Freed from restrictions, equipped with an updated software but running the regular race fuel, the 919 Hybrid Evo delivers 720 HP. The amount of energy from the two recovery systems previously was 6.37 megajoule. On his record lap, Neel Jani enjoyed a full boost of 8.49 megajoule and electric engine’s output was increased by ten percent from 400 to 440 HP.
The engineers also unchained the aerodynamics of the 919 Evo from the regulations. In total, the aero modifications resulted in 53 percent higher downforce and an increase in efficiency by 66 percent (compared to the 2017 Spa WEC qualifying). Compared to the car in race trim, the dry weight was reduced by 39 kilograms to 849 kilograms.
“This was an absolute fantastic lap – an outstanding drivers’ performance from Neel and the result of great engineering. Today’s track record impressively proves the ultimate performance of the most innovative race car of its time. Our target was to show what the Porsche 919 Hybrid is able to do when we loosen the restrictions that normally come from the regulations,” said Fritz Enzinger, Porsche’s Vice President for LMP1 programme.
“The 919 Evo is brutally impressive. 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. The speed on which everything happens on a single lap with the 919 Evo is that fast that the demand on reaction speed is very different to what I was used to in the WEC.
We are not only faster than the F1 pole from 2017. Today’s lap was twelve seconds faster compared to our WEC pole position from last year! We have had three very intense days at Spa. Today I knew on the very first lap in the morning that the car’s performance was super. The race engineers did a great job setting up the car and the Michelin tyres are sensational. A big thank you to Porsche for this experience,” Neel Jani added.