Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Way of the Future

While I was in the BMW pits at the 2010 Petit Le Mans, I happened to wander down near the Porsche pits and ran into JF Musial of Tangent Vector while he was shooting video for Porsche of North America (or just Porsche). I spoke to him briefly about his camera rig and it turns out he was using a Canon 7D to shoot the video listed below.

This Porsche GT3 R Hybrid is of particular interest to me as it bucks the trend of the normal, battery-based hybrid in favor of a fly wheel-based system. While at the race, I was aware that Porsche had run the GT3 R Hybrid as a bit of a test bed from all they've learned from the Williams KERS system( incredibly much like the one they were co-developing with BMW during their F1 partnership days!) but I wasn't very aware of the technical prowess this car manages to sport. While the hybrid system apparently only weighs an additional 103 lbs. ( a relatively small weight) it can return up to 163HP in additional power when charged up to the 4 motors Porsche fixed to each wheel. From my understanding, Porsche fixed the 4 motors to the wheels as a way of letting them add torque vectoring to the GT3 R Hybrid. Thus, they can now somewhat regulate how much power is focused on specific wheels to help increase cornering speeds and straight-line acceleration.

Overall, the GT3 Hybrid did OK for its first outing on the track in the United States by placing 18th overall in the race. Pretty impressive considering it was leading the 24 hours of Nurburgring when it has major mechanical issues. As a hybrid, the GT3 R is fairly innocuous towards motorsport fans. When it passed me numerous times at my perch on the track all I could perceive was the sonorous sound of of a Porsche flat-6. That's all I wanted too, so if this is the way of the future, I think I could be onboard for that. Check out this great technical write-up of the Porsche GT3 R Hybrid as they go into much better detail of how the GT3 differs from a Prius hybrid.

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