Porsche must believe there is no replacement for the displacement as the motorsport division’s LMDh prototype will rock a big V8 with a pair of turbochargers. Toyota and Peugeot have decided to stick with smaller V6s for their hybrid Le Mans Daytona race cars. That doesn’t mean the folks at Zuffenhausen will get a more powerful machine since LMDh regulations state that total power must not exceed 500 kilowatts (670.5 horsepower).
Interestingly, the V8 is designed to run on renewable fuels to significantly reduce CO2 emissions and will rev to a howl of 10,000 rpm. The twin-turbo powerhouse must weigh at least 180 kilograms (397 pounds) after taking into account the exhaust system and cooling. Coupled to an Xtrac transmission, the engine must generate a passing noise not exceeding 110 decibels.
The first test was carried out at the internal Porsche circuit in Weissach and the first feedback was extremely positive. Urs Kuratle, LMDh Project Managing Director at Porsche Motorsport, says the combustion engine “impressed us in every respect. We are confident that we have chosen precisely the right unit.”
Other restrictions worth noting include a minimum weight of 1,030 kilograms (2,271 pounds) and a fixed wheelbase of 3,150 millimeters (124 in). Race cars must not be taller than 5,100 mm (201 in) and wider than 2,000 mm (79 in). All will use a hybrid battery system developed by Williams Advanced Engineering and a Bosch electric motor capped at 50 kW (67 hp).
At the heart of the new track weapon is an LMP2-derived Multimatic chassis that is set to be used by Audi’s prototype, possibly with Lamborghini in 2024. The aim is to have the LMDh beast ready by the end of the year, but to make this happen, many tests will be conducted in the coming months.
Porsche Penske Motorsport will enter the car with the 2023 season in the FIA WEC World Endurance Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar North American Championship. The cost cap for a car without a motor has been set at €1 million, or about $1.12 million at current exchange rates.