We’ve written about Porsche’s 911 GT3 R Hybrid project twice this year because it’s just about the most exciting development in motorsport this year, using Williams Hybrid Power’s KERS technology (think of it as a mechanical supercapacitor), to capture energy from regenerative braking and then give it back as horsepower under acceleration. After showing lots of promise in its early races, the hybrid has come home with a rush in the closing stages of the season, winning its class and finishing sixth outright in the final round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. Last night its true standing as a significant automotive innovation shone through once more when it won Powertrain Innovation of the Year, Vehicle Development of the Year and Design Engineer of the Year at the Professional MotorSport World Expoin Koln, Germany.
In the awards, which are given annually as part of the industry showcase, Professional MotorSport World Expo, the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid was named “Vehicle Development of the Year”, while team leader, Dr Daniel Armbruster, was named “DesignEngineer of the Year”, for his work on the project.
The judges said Porsche: “changed public perceptions about hybrids by introducing fresh technology to a new area of motorsport and showing how it could be incorporated into a race vehicle that has much in common with a road car. Rather than learning to live with the compromises [of] a hybrid system, Armbruster and his team found ways to derive unexpected benefits from the installation.”
Armbruster commented: “Porsche is proud to receive these awards. We worked hard to make this unique and innovative concept work. The Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid is our race laboratory – we learned much about this new technology at the Nürburgring 24 Hours; then made some big steps forward on the way to the 1,000km race in Zhuhai.”
There was also praise for Porsche’s use of the Williams Hybrid Power (WHP) KERS technology, which the judges described as “a correct and innovative move to finally demonstrate this expensive development from Formula 1 in the wider sport.” The WHP electromechanical composite flywheel was considered runaway winner as “Powertrain Innovation of the Year”.
Ian Foley, managing director of WHP commented: “2010 has been a breakthrough year for Williams Hybrid Power, with the success of the program with Porsche Motorsport demonstrating that our flywheel technology is robust in the harshest of racing environments.”
Just nine days prior to taking out the Professional Motorsport awards, the 1,000 kilometre race in Zhuhai/China, the performance and efficiency of the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid was evident. Piloted by Porsche works drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA), it was by far the fastest GT vehicle in the field in its Asian premiere.