The LMDh prototypes from Audi and Porsche, already under development, will be powered in 2023 by a twin-turbo V8 engine in WEC and IMSA. Porsche revealed this Thursday this information on this block, which has already taken to the track during the shakedown of its new prototype two weeks ago. This engine was designed for the two brands of the Volkswagen group, which will make their return to the highest level of Endurance next year, both also with a chassis supplied by Multimatic.
Nevertheless, Porsche did not provide more technical details on this engine, which is however based on a production model and not entirely designed for competition originally. In the Porsche range, the only V8 found is the direct-injection 4-litre twin-turbo that equips the Panamera and Cayenne models.
“We were spoiled for choice for our LMDh prototype engine, as the product line offers several promising base units”, explains Thomas Laudenbach, head of the sports branch of Porsche. « We opted for the twin-turbo V8 which we believe offers the best combination of performance characteristics, weight and cost. »
For now, the engine has given the first expected feedback when Frédéric Makowiecki took the wheel of the Porsche LMDh on the Weissach test track. The power unit and the exhausts have a minimum weight of 180 kg, and the assembly is obviously compatible with the new biofuel developed by TotalEnergies for the WEC from this season.
« During these first days of testing in Weissach, the twin-turbo V8 impressed us in all areas », says Urs Kurtale, general manager of the brand’s LMDh project. « We are confident that we have chosen precisely the right power unit. »
In accordance with LMDh regulations, the maximum engine power is between 480 and 520 kW, or between 643 and 697 hp. The engine chosen by each manufacturer is then coupled to a standard 40 kW (53 hp) hybrid system and the use of the assembly is capped at 520 kW for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and 500 kW for other races.
« The team worked well from the start: it shows a high level of professionalism in all areas », adds Urs Kurtale about the team that will evolve under the entity Porsche Penske Motorsport in 2023. « The operational requirements to run a hybrid vehicle safely are very high. In future runs, we will focus on deepening the process and the necessary procedures. »
At the end of January, the Porsche LMDh prototype is expected for testing on a real circuit. At Audi, the first run was indicated for the first quarter of 2022 but to date, no additional information has been given.