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Porsche will ride into the FIA World Endurance Championship this year on a high, with both drivers’ and constructors’ title under its belt, plus a 24 Hours of Le Mans overall win – its 17th and its first in 17 years. Tasked to defend those crowns is the new 2016 Porsche 919 Hybrid that has been redesigned to be more frugal than before.

As usual, the 2.0 litre turbocharged direct injection petrol V4 engine sits in the middle, driving the rear wheels. It’s now lighter than before, and combustion efficiency and mixture preparation has also been increased. However, due to new regulations which limit fuel flow into the engine, power output has dropped below 500 hp, from well over 500 hp the year before.

As with the latest Formula One racers, the 919 Hybrid is equipped with two motor-generators – the one at the front axle recovers kinetic energy under braking, while a second unit in the exhaust tract in parallel with the turbocharger utilises a turbine to collect energy from exhaust pressure.

The energy is stored in lithium-ion batteries, and when called for delivers upwards of 400 hp to the front and rear electric motors, providing the car with a total system output of around 900 hp and all-wheel drive. As with last year, the 919 Hybrid competes in the top eight-megajoule hybrid class in LMP1, which its rivals from Audi and Toyota are only entering this year.

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Elsewhere, the seven-speed sequential manual transmission has been made lighter, while a new front axle and a retuned rear axle provide better driving dynamics, balance, traction, grip and set-up options. The performance of the Michelin tyres should also be improved come the start of the season.

Aerodynamics have also been improved in terms of efficiency and handling stability in different driving situations, with influences such as side winds, change in balance under cornering and yaw and roll angles reduced.

Porsche will also now start with a high-downforce package for the season-opening 6 Hours of Silverstone, rather than running a compromised low-downforce setup for the sake of Le Mans, as it has done previously. Instead, the team will field an extremely-low-downforce package for Le Mans and another high-downforce setup for the rest of the WEC season, using up the FIA’s three-package cap.