Rate It: The Road-Going Version of the LMP1-Dominating Porsche 919

By Colin Wood
Nov 16, 2020 | Porsche, Rate It, 919

As great as homologation cars are at bringing race-car levels of performance to the street, there is little that could match the amount of fun a street-legal LMP1 car could be.

The folks over at Porsche also seem to think that would have been a good idea, so they toyed with the idea of a road-going version of the 919 that dominated the LMP1 class back in 2017.

Although not many official numbers are offered, the road-going 919 would likely have been powered by a unit similar to the hybrid 2.0-liter, turbocharged V4 engine found in the race car, though Porsche says that the 919 would have had more than 800 horsepower on tap.

The street car would have been based on the fiber monocoque chassis used by the race car, and likely would have had a dry weight similar to the 1900 pounds of the LMP1 car.

The version you see here is actually the 1:1 clay model constructed by Porsche, which you apparently can see more of in the company’s "Porsche Unseen" book that catalogs a number of other concepts and prototypes not shown to the public.

Is the 919 the successor to the 918 we deserved, or does the next Porsche supercar need more than four cylinders to the German carmaker’s halo car?

Like what you're reading? We rely on your financial support. For as little as $3, you can support Grassroots Motorsports by becoming a Patron today. 

Become a Patron!

Join Free Join our community to easily find more Porsche, Rate It and 919 news.
View comments on the GRM forums
spacecadet (Forum Supporter)
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/16/20 9:02 a.m.

This is the Carerra GT successor we deserved.

Looks the business and would have gone like hell.

It's the same concept as the new Ford GT, just taken to 11..

while i'm sad it never made production, it makes me happy to know Porsche did this design study.

11/17/20 9:08 a.m.

Man, a V4? I thought nobody other than Ford/Saab made one and that was the Taunus.

I wish that had somehow made its way to US roads. Could you imagine seeing one of these on the street with all the SUVs, like a shark in a school of fish? man...

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/17/20 9:34 a.m.

Nothing wrong with a four cylinder supercar if it's got that "I won Le Mans" cred.

LMP1 was wild at that point. Supercaps, flywheels or batteries. Diesel or gasoline. Turbos or naturally aspirated. Four, six or eight cylinders. ICE powering the front or rear wheels. Front or rear engined. If we're going to have insanely expensive racing, let's get some crazy cars out of the deal.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
11/17/20 11:06 a.m.

In reply to GIRTHQUAKE :

Yeah, I thought that was a typo when I first read it, but sure enough, it was supposed to have a V4.

j_tso GRM+ Memberand Reader
11/17/20 11:16 a.m.

I dig it.

Now make it a hypercar and go back to Le Mans.

Aaron_King PowerDork
11/17/20 12:59 p.m.

This is from the 919 Wiki page:

"It has a two-litre (120 cu in) 90-degree V4 mid-mounted mono-turbocharged petrol engine that produces 500 hp (370 kW) and acts as a chassis load-bearing member"

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/17/20 1:19 p.m.

In reply to Aaron_King :

oh, its much more than 500 hp. Porsche made an 'evo' version that basically just said "screw the rules let's go as fast as possible". 

After removing fuel flow restrictions they made 710 HP, no fuel flow restrictions on road cars lol. 

from wiki:

The V4 engine was retained for the Evo, producing 720 PS (530 kW; 710 hp) without fuel flow restrictions. As the amount of recovered energy that could be used was increased from 6.37 MJ (1.77 kWh) for Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps to 8.49 MJ (2.36 kWh), the output of the electric motors was increased from 400 to 440 PS (294 to 324 kW; 395 to 434 hp). By removing air conditioningwindscreen wipers, headlights and other electrical devices, the car's weight was reduced by 39 kg (86 lb); it weighed at 849 kg (1,872 lb) dry and 888 kg (1,958 lb) with driver ballast. Extensive aerodynamic upgrades to the 919 Evo increased downforce by 53% and increased aerodynamic efficiency by 66%, compared to the 919 Hybrid's 2017 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps qualifying specifications. These upgrades consist of the inclusion of an active drag-reduction system, an enlarged rear wing, a wider front diffuser and fixed-height side skirts.[167][168][169][170]

ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) Reader
11/17/20 3:30 p.m.

I can't imagine ever being in a position to own something like this.  And even if I had the money, I don' t know if I'd want the stress of ownership.  But all that aside, I'd be way more likely to spend my F-U money on something like this than a Ferrari or Lambo.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/17/20 4:05 p.m.
Colin Wood said:

In reply to GIRTHQUAKE :

Yeah, I thought that was a typo when I first read it, but sure enough, it was supposed to have a V4.

That's what the race car had, so it wouldn't make any sense to put anything else in there.

Duder Reader
11/18/20 12:08 a.m.

I worked on the turbo systems of the Toyota TS050 LMP1 car, the front engine / FWD Nissan GT-R LM NISMO LMP1, and a development project on the Porsche 919. All of them were batE36 M3 crazy (in a good way) in their own ways, and I would absolutely drive any of them on the street if given the opportunity! 

Olemiss540 Reader
11/18/20 7:01 a.m.

I wonder if Porsche just sold actual Clay 1:1 scale versions instead of road going carbon fibered chassis, how many buyers would ever realize it?

350z247 New Reader
11/19/20 8:25 a.m.

It looks absolutely stunning, but I can't imagine spending what would likely be over a million dollars on a car with a 4 cylinder turbo when there are NA 8 and 12 cylinder options that will sound and respond orders of magnitude better. This just seems like such a step down after the 4.6 V8 in the 918 and the 5.7 V10 in the Carrera GT.

Placemotorsports GRM+ Memberand Reader
11/19/20 8:29 a.m.

I'd daily

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/19/20 12:53 p.m.
350z247 said:

It looks absolutely stunning, but I can't imagine spending what would likely be over a million dollars on a car with a 4 cylinder turbo when there are NA 8 and 12 cylinder options that will sound and respond orders of magnitude better. This just seems like such a step down after the 4.6 V8 in the 918 and the 5.7 V10 in the Carrera GT.

But those NA 8 and 10 cylinder options probably aren't legit Le Mans overall winners with multiple WEC championships. Even the modern Ford GT is only a class winner. This is a 4 cylinder turbo that is a marvel of packaging hooked up to a crazy hybrid system. If you don't think 400+ hp worth of electric motors mated to 700 ICE hp won't give you response, I'd like to see the alternative.

If you want a street supercar without the race heritage, sure. Go for a different engine. Make a pretty noise. 

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/19/20 3:14 p.m.

In reply to 350z247 :

You neglected to mention the hybrid aspect of the powertrain, those eight and 12 cylinders will not respond better than a vehicle with hybrid assist. Ask any hellcat owner who's ever lined up against a Tesla. Sound, I'll agree, but a V4 also does not sound like an inline four. 

carczar_84 Reader
11/19/20 3:44 p.m.

I never got to see the 919 running in the heat of battle, but I did get to watch them ring it out at Laguna Seca two years ago for the Rennsport Reunion.  I have video saved somewhere from their hot laps, and they were pulling an indicated 190+ on the front straight!  The cornering speed through the infield portion made my eyes and brain not agree with each other.

Absolute amazing piece of engineering!!

STM317 UberDork
11/19/20 3:57 p.m.

Here's the unrestricted race variant of this car on the Nordschleife. Sound and response do not seem to be problems imo


350z247 New Reader
11/19/20 4:30 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Just because the race version won Le Mans doesn't make me or the road going version any more or less special. I find the engines in Aston Martin Valkyrie or the Gordon Murray T.50 far more desirable if we're cross shopping insane hyper cars. Even the Ford GT, I'd much rather it have a 4.0 liter V8 instead of the 3.5 V6. When it was still running GTLM, it sounded like trash compared to the C7.R or 911 RSR. There's a reason the Audi R8 doesn't have a diesel engine like the race car it's named after. What works well to take advantage of WEC rules doesn't always translate to a good street car.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/19/20 4:49 p.m.

The difference in your examples is that the R8 shares nothing with the LMP car other than the name. That's always bothered me.

The race version winning Le Mans does make the road going version more special if they're closely related. If they're just "kinda looks like", well, then you can ignore it. Like the 2000 Ford GT pretending to be a GT40. Or like the difference between a 323 GTX and a modern WRX - the former exists to make the race car possible, the latter leans on something that other cars with a similar name did once.

If you  want a hypercar because it has a wicked spec sheet and makes a cool noise, then definitely go for things like the Aston or the T.50. If you want the street version of the fastest car of one of the world's greatest race classes (sorry Toyota, but you never beat it at Le Mans), then you get something as close as possible to that car. This is a car that, uncorked, can run with an F1 car and can race for 24 hours straight - you don't get that from a car that's only been designed to be spectacular.

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/19/20 5:02 p.m.

The most impressive thing about a t50 was stolen from a challenge car, using a fan to create downforce to improve handling without drag. 

The engine itself is a glorified motorcycle engine that would fail in motorsports as it makes less than 350 ft pounds of torque and would likely implode under load. It's an engineering feat and impressive, but would be an absolute failure and practical usage and application. There's a reason why the crucible of Motorsports is the best test bed for R&D. Murray was targeting the response rate of an F1 engine in developing the t50's engine with cosworth. Porsche had been campaigning the 918 engine and had identified where WEC rules were restricting it from being all that it could be. One company was seeking to emulate a race car, The other was pointing out where their race car was being held back by the sanctioning body in which it races. 


DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
11/19/20 5:09 p.m.

In reply to STM317 :

That's insane to watch, the corners come up so quickly ! I wonder what a current F1 car could do a lap in?

350z247 New Reader
11/19/20 5:20 p.m.

In reply to captdownshift (Forum Supporter) :

I've never heard so many negative things said about a bespoke Cosworth V12 with a double digit redline, especially when compared to a V4 Porsche built purely to exploit the rules. Without any rules, their engine of choice wouldn't be a turbo V4. Just because you buy a 919, you don't become Mark Webber. I'd much rather have an engine built as a tribute the prime of F1 than an engine built to be fuel efficient to cut down on pit stops.

Motorsports has fallen down a wormhole of fuel efficiency centric engines: the diesel in the R8, the V6s in F1 and Indy, the 4 cylinders in LMP1. I'm way more excited to go the HSR Sebring 12 Hours than I was before the IMSA race. The fuel used by motorsports is a drop in the bucket compared to road traffic. I'd happily see F1 go back to an NA V8s and just let all the auto manufacturers switch to full electric.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/19/20 5:34 p.m.

If being more efficient helps you win more races, you become fuel efficient. Motorsport is all about form following function. Heck, there are rules in F1 that force a higher redline just to make more noise. Without them, the engineers wouldn't rev as high because it's wasteful. Remember that the Porsche V4 existed alongside V6s and V8s. It was better.

Simply by identifying the V8 era (well, the most recent one) as the prime of F1 shows your preferences. The current crop of cars make more power on considerably less fuel and are reaching insane levels of efficiency. But they don't scream. Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't make a dominating powerplant any less valid. 

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/19/20 5:41 p.m.

In reply to 350z247 :

Did lap times get slower? Efficiency breeds performance, it's why forced induction happened, it's why performance-based hybrid systems are happening. It's literally proof in the pudding that racing creates R&D and improved performance That trickles down to production vehicles. 

The materials used in the cosworth motor are exceptional, but at this point using that old technology is equivalent to making the best steam locomotive engine, or designing the best live axle rear end. It just begs the question, but why? At this point I'd love to see the fuel injection pulled off a t50 and see what it can do with a trio of demon 750s mounted on top of it. 

californiamilleghia SuperDork
11/19/20 5:46 p.m.

If Porsche built them , they would sell at 1-2 million bucks ,  if they only made 100-200 they would sell out in a day , 

there are lots of rich collectors....

but that would be a pity to not use them on the street or track , and in 10 years they would be for sale with 1000 miles or less on them.....

I saw the laps at Rennsport and was amazed now fast it went , and they never gave a lap time......but yes 190mph .....WOW

350z247 New Reader
11/19/20 6:01 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

There's really no point in further arguing about a car no one in this chat could ever afford. It was a dominant car, but I expect nothing less from a factory Porsche race program.

As for the racing, I slightly prefer the V10s to the V8s, but I acknowledge they were stupid expensive. The 2010 season has to be one of the greatest F1 seasons ever; four drivers in the final race with the potential to be a world champion. In contrast to the last 7 seasons being the Mercedes show (hopefully the budget cap will fix that). I'd rather see the minimum of regulations and a budget cap. Let their minds wander. Force them to carry extra fuel and give them tires that last; tire and fuel management is frustrating for the drivers and the fans. Let them push power and balance reliability like the jet powered Indy cars that were fast but always failed. The current cars are engineering marvels, but I can only imagine the cars they would build if they weren't weighed down by a power plant intended to make F1 look slightly less wasteful.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/19/20 6:25 p.m.

If they are given more fuel and harder tires, they will burn more fuel and work the tires harder. Fuel and tire management is ALWAYS part of racing. Always has been, always will be.

The current powerplants are pushing technology. It's not necessarily about the optics. It would be interesting to see if, given the option, someone like Mercedes would ditch the energy recovery systems. Being able to get the same power level while carrying 30% less fuel is a competitive advantage - or, the other side of the coin, being able to get 30% more power for a given fuel load.

Can-Am was a "minimum of regulations" series. And the racing sucked because there was always a dominant team :)

Olemiss540 Reader
11/19/20 6:43 p.m.
STM317 said:

Here's the unrestricted race variant of this car on the Nordschleife. Sound and response do not seem to be problems imo


Thats awesome but its messing with me that they play the promo at 4x frame rate versus the original. Like play the actual lap video, no need for tricks.

MotorsportsGordon HalfDork
11/20/20 1:13 p.m.

People mentioning the v8 and v10 are also forgetting that other then the 917  and 919 pretty much just about every other major  winning Porsche race cars have had flat 6 engines. I haven't heard people saying something like the street 962s arent cool because they just have a 6 cylinder engine. That being said the Porsche v10 is a race engine that was just never raced. It was originally designed and built as an f1 motor then modified and tested in Porsche's still born open cockpit lmp car in 1999.

350z247 New Reader
11/21/20 9:52 p.m.

In reply to MotorsportsGordon :

I would never knock a flat six in a Porsche; that's really they're bread and butter. They literally dominate the 6 cylinder market with really only BMW and Nissan for distant 2nd and 3rd. I just appreciate their V8, V10, and flat 12 more.

Our Preferred Partners