Porsche today disclosed early technical information and images of the first prototype racecar it has designed and constructed since the 1998 24 Hours of Le Mans winning Porsche 911® GT1. The new model was commissioned by Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA) and Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) for racing customers who compete in the LMP2 (Le Mans Prototype 2) class of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). It features a completely new Porsche engine, transmission, and chassis, all incorporating the latest in Porsche automotive technology and created to conform to new 2006 rules and regulations of international sanctioning body Automobil Club de l’Ouest (ACO).
The heart of the new Porsche LMP2 is its newly-designed 3.4-liter, 90-degree, V8 engine. Limited to 480 horsepower at 10,100 rpm by ACO air restrictor regulations, the power plant is lightweight with a very low center of gravity. It features four valves per cylinder, a dry sump lubrication system, and an air intake manifold with single cylinder throttle valves.
The engine is mated to a Porsche-engineered sequential six-speed constant mesh transmission. A structural part of the car, the gearbox is operated by a paddle shift system on the steering wheel and incorporates a triple-disc carbon fiber racing clutch.
Like the 1998 911 GT1 racecar and current Carrera® GT street car, the Porsche LMP2’s monocoque chassis is constructed of carbon fiber. Attached to this strong yet lightweight framework (built to the latest safety standards of international road racing) is a front and rear double-wishbone suspension with ball joints, adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars, and four-way shock absorbers. For optimal stopping performance, the braking system includes twin master cylinders, adjustable brake balance, and internally vented carbon brake discs (380 mm front and 355 mm rear). For driver comfort and safety, the new prototype is equipped with power steering and a tire pressure control system. An integral partner in the car’s development process, Michelin is supplying race tires for the new Porsche prototype.
Similar to modern aircraft construction, the bodywork is comprised of carbon fiber reinforced by Kevlar composites. Incorporating an adjustable rear wing, it has been created for maximum aerodynamic efficiency and the lowest possible weight and replacement cost. Considering the car is intended for customer teams, its LMP2 mandated weight of 1,653 lbs. or 750 kgs. was achieved through an integrated lightweight design rather than the mere use of expensive and exotic materials.
Penske Motorsports, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Penske Racing, Inc., will field the new Porsche prototype in its first full season of competition exclusively in 2006. It is anticipated they will debut the new Porsche prototype at the final two races of the 2005 ALMS season, the Oct. 1st Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta and the Oct. 16th season finale at Laguna Seca, as test events before entering the entire 2006 season.