Porsche has beaten the track record set at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps set by Mercedes Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton with a modified and unrestricted version of its 919 Hybrid LMP1 car.

After closing its LMP1 race programme at the end of 2017, Porsche confirmed it would be staging a '919 Tribute Tour' through this year, taking the three-time Le Mans-winning car to a series of events.

Porsche factory driver Neel Jani completed a fastest lap time of 1:41.770, beating Hamilton's pole position lap for the Belgian Grand Prix from last year by seven-tenths of a second. The lap was also more than 12 seconds faster than the average lap time from Jani and teammate Andre Lotterer that secured pole for last year's FIA World Endurance Championship event.

"The 919 Evo is brutally impressive," Jani said. "It is definitely the fastest car I ever drove. The grip level is at a fully new dimension for me, I couldn’t imagine this amount beforehand.

"The speed on which everything happens on a single lap with the 919 Evo is that fast that the demand on reaction speed is very different to what I was used to in the WEC. We are not only faster than the F1 pole from 2017.

"Today’s lap was twelve seconds faster compared to our WEC pole position from last year! We have had three very intense days at Spa. Today I knew on the very first lap in the morning that the car’s performance was super.

"The race engineers did a great job setting up the car and the Michelin tyres are sensational. A big thank you to Porsche for this experience."

The Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo was equipped with a number of updates that had been worked on for the 2018 season before the decision to quit was confirmed, as well as running with unrestricted fuel flow, updated software and a greater amount of energy recovery, lifting the combined brake horsepower of the car from 900 BHP to 1,160 BHP.

An additional 53 percent of downforce was found, plus 66 percent more aerodynamic efficiency, with a four-wheel drive brake-by-wire system, DRS and adapted tyres from Michelin all helping to power the track record.

Porsche LMP1 team principal Andreas Seidl: “This additional success is the result of the LMP team’s hard work and a proud day for the engineers. One can only congratulate Neel and the entire crew for achieving it.

"All six 2017 LMP1 drivers contributed to the project. It was our target to show the Porsche 919 Hybrid’s abilities when we ease the restrictions that came from the World Endurance Championship regulations."

 

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