Amazingly, it's been 16 years since Porsche last entered a car capable of winning outright in the Le Mans 24 Hours. That machine was the 911 GT1-98. Naturally, it won. 

Porsche is very good at winning at Le Mans. Starting in 1970, when Richard Attwood and Hans Hermann wrestled the fearsome 917 to glory, Porsche has won the endurance classic a record 16 times. Add in class wins, and the German marque has 101 victories at the Circuit de la Sarthe. It's an incredible record - and so when Porsche announced it would return to sports cars with a top-class LMP1 prototype for this year, expectations were high.

The men in charge of Porsche's new 919 Hybrid are well aware of the marque's fabled past. But they're keen to stress that this project is all about the new. An entirely new team of around 200 staff has been formed at Porsche Motorsport's Weissach facility, and they have had to get to grips with all-new machinery - and all-new technology.

Porsche chiefs say the 919 Hybrid LMP1 car is the most advanced racing car the firm has ever built, and that's a result of new regulations for sports car prototypes that promote the use of efficient hybrid systems. The 919 mates a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol V4 engine with two energy recovery systems (one using thermal energy from exhaust gases, the other using kinetic energy from braking).