Round two of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in Spa-Francorchamps (BE): For the first time the two Porsche 919 Hybrids have run with the aerodynamic package which is designed for the Le Mans 24 Hours. The most eye catching part of the specification for the season’s highlight on June 18/19 are the new headlights. Just as was the case last year, again at the 2016 Spa event a Porsche 919 Hybrid set the fastest lap time on the first day of practice. In bright sunshine, the reigning world champions with the number 1 car, Timo Bernhard (DE), Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Mark Webber (AU), set the best time of the day in 1:58.012 minutes during the first of two 90 minute sessions. The number 2 sister car, shared by Romain Dumas (FR), Neel Jani (CH) and Marc Lieb (DE), set the third fastest lap of the day (1:58.577 min) on the 7.004 kilometre long circuit.
Team principal Andreas Seidl: “It is the first race weekend during which we have our low downforce aero package on the car. It worked as expected, but we still have some set-up work ahead of us, because we are not happy with the overall balance of the cars. Our number 1 car had two smooth sessions. For the number 2 car, today was rather challenging. We had problems several times with the FIA telemetry, and had a warning from the hybrid system at the end of the first session. This is why we made a precautionary change of the high voltage battery. Generally speaking, apparently we’ve got the speed to be competitive here and also had an encouraging long run.”
New headlights for the 919 Hybrid
Part of the Porsche 919 Hybrid’s Le Mans specification is a new headlight system, which gives the car a fresh look. The typical Porsche four-spot light design is still visible in daylight mode.
Jens Maurer, Head of Systems at the Porsche Team, names the key factors: “We have managed to improve the performance regarding the range of lighting to the side as well as the reach to the front. We have saved almost 30 per cent of weight, made the fitting easier and optimised the cooling.”
The system is equipped with the latest and handpicked LEDs from Osram and features three different modes of operation: pencil beam (ultra long distance light), main beam and side beam. Twelve pairs of LEDs and reflectors per headlight unit are split into seven individually controlled strings for long distance and cornering light. The control unit is integrated into the headlights. At an angle of 45 degrees, the side light performance matches the quality of a good dipped-beam headlamp of a road going car. The flashing light is operated as a switchover between maximum and reduced operation mode of the LEDs.
In addition, each headlight has 20 of so called RGB-LEDs (RGB stands for the red-green-blue colour space) to make the two cars identifiable. The number 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid is illuminated in magenta, the number 2 car can be recognised by its blue light.
Compared to 2015, the number of LEDs has been doubled while the weight of each headlight unit was reduced by 1.1 kilograms. The new headlight is fitted as a single component now. The pre-adjustment of the reflectors inside the headlight saves the fine-tuning procedure after fitting. The cooling is from air that is channelled in from outside.