Prior to the launch of the Macan, many figured that the new compact SUV would be the first Porsche to have a four-cylinder engine in a long, long time. The German company then launched its new model with an all turbo V6 engine lineup. Beating the Macan to feature Porsche’s first four banger in two decades is this – the upcoming Porsche LMP1 race car.
Yes, you read that right – Mark Webber’s new company car will indeed run on just four-cylinders, albeit heavily assisted by not one, but two energy recuperation systems. The direct-injection petrol (presumably turbocharged) engine will work the rear tyres, while the two harvesters will power a big electric motor that runs the front wheels.
Porsche’s approach to the World Endurance Championship’s wide-open engine regulations starkly differs from those of Audi and Toyota. Its seasoned rivals field a turbodiesel V6 and a naturally-aspirated petrol V8 respectively, each assisted by an electric motor fed by a single energy recuperation system.
Now who would have thought that Mark Webber escaped F1’s dreaded downsized V6 engines, only to jump to a four banger? We will find out if Porsche has made the right decision when the WEC season starts in April next year, with the holy grain of endurance races – the 24 Hours of Le Mans – set to run in June.