Porsche is spearheading its hybrid development with the launch of the 911 GT3 R Hybrid race car.
After its launch at the Geneva motor show, the GT3 Hybrid R will undergo extensive development at the Nurburgring and it will compete in the 24 Hours race at the circuit in May.
Porsche describes the car as a “racing laboratory”, which will provide the knowledge for its future road-going hybrid sports cars.
Powering the rear wheels is a 473bhp 4.0-litre flat-six engine. The front axle is driven by two electric motors, which each produce the equivalent of 80bhp. Porsche says this system ensures the car has greater traction and agility than the non-hybrid GT3 R.
Rather than using batteries to power the electric motors, the 911 R Hybrid uses an electric flywheel power generator. This spins at 40,000rpm and stores energy mechanically as kinetic energy. The flywheel generator is charged up when the brakes applied, with the electric motors reversing their function and acting themselves as generators.
Similar to a KERS system in Formula One, the driver is able to call on this electric power at certain opportunities to aid acceleration, overtaking or with defensive driving. This power is available for around 6-8 secs after a full recharge.
The hybrid drive can also be used to save fuel, which makes the car ideally suited to endurance racing.