Porsche must believe there's no replacement for displacement as the motorsport division's LMDh prototype is going to rock a large V8 with a pair of turbochargers. Toyota and Peugeot have decided to stick with smaller V6s for their Le Mans Daytona hybrid race cars. That doesn't mean the folks from Zuffenhausen will have a more powerful machine since LMDh regulations state total output must not exceed 500 kilowatts (670.5 horsepower).
Interestingly, the V8 is being engineered to run on renewable fuels to drastically cut CO2 emissions and will rev at a screaming 10,000 rpm. The twin-turbo powerhouse must weigh at least 180 kilograms (397 pounds) after factoring in the exhaust system and cooling. Connected to an Xtrac transmission, the engine must generate a pass-by noise no louder than 110 decibels.
Gallery: Porsche Le Mans Hypercar Prototype
The first test was conducted at Porsche's in-house Weissach track and early feedback has been extremely positive. Urs Kuratle, Overall Project Manager LMDh at Porsche Motorsport, says the combustion engine "impressed us in every respect. We're convinced that we've 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 inches). The race cars must not be longer 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 core of the new track weapon is a Multimatic chassis derived from LMP2 and due to be used by Audi's prototype, with Lamborghini possibly following in 2024. The goal is to have the LMDh beast ready by the end of the year, but to make that happen, numerous tests will be conducted in the coming months.
Porsche Penske Motorsport will field the car with the 2023 season in the FIA WEC World Endurance Championship and the North American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The cost cap for one car without the engine has been set at €1 million or about $1.12 million at current exchange rates.